Make Agency works closely with fintechs to design their websites and digital marketing tools with the needs of the customer front and centre
Make Agency is a Business Reporter client
It has taken just over two decades for the fintech sector to stake its claim at, or very close to, the centre of the global financial services industry. Paypal in the late 1990s; Venmo a decade later; Revolut and Monzo soon after – these agile, innovative companies had listened closely to the growing clamour for secure, efficient and user-friendly online banking, and they and their competitors have heralded a fundamental shift in the way humans interact with financial products.
And yet the fintech sector is now a crowded space. The UK alone has more than 450 fintechs who meet a growing appetite for fast and safe online banking: the number of European customers who have said that in the future they’ll only use digital banking services has climbed from 49 percent to 62 percent in the past three years alone.
The lightning quick expansion of the sector shows few signs of letting up. But given the proliferation of start-ups in this space, and given that most fintechs are offering more or less the same services, it raises a pressing question: how can one company ensure it stands out in an increasingly competitive market?
First impressions count
What fintechs offer that traditional banks have struggled with is a slick and smart service. The old banking giants, many of which have been around for well over a century, aren’t known for their ability to adapt to meet changing customer expectations. They are the clunking rustbucket ships of the financial services industry, slow to shift course, and as a result, customers are leaving them in droves.
If the major selling point of fintechs is, therefore, the high-quality user experience they offer, then the features that drive this – speed, minimal friction points, a dynamic and easy-to-use service – should be evident upon first visit by a user to their app or website, for unlike traditional banks, this is where the entirety of the user experience plays out.
In fact, ensuring that this first landing point looks and feels good plays a major part in a customer’s decision to stick with them, says Anthony Purkiss, CEO of Make Agency, which works closely with fintechs to design their websites and digital marketing tools with the needs of the customer front and centre.
“First impressions count, especially in digital marketing where you have literally seconds to get noticed. Once you’ve caught the attention you need to maintain it, which is why the ad to sign up page connection is so important.”
Trust requires clear and consistent messaging
But it’s not only about speed and efficiency. A newcomer to a fintech platform might be awed by their newfound ability to transfer money with just a few taps on their screenpad, but how do they know that the app they’re using is secure? To customers who have spent decades with traditional banks, the lack of face-to-face interaction, the speed at which transactions take place, the fact that much of this happens on a phone – not to mention the sheer unfamiliarity with all the new tech – might unnerve rather than thrill.
And yet gaining the trust of new customers doesn’t happen just by telling them that their data and transactions are safe. The whole service has to look professional, and the messaging needs to be consistent across all landing points. To use an analogy, if you were to book an appointment at your new doctors’ surgery and arrive only to be told confusing or contradictory information by a member of staff, you will be sceptical of the quality of the care even before the doctor has assessed you. The same expectation applies to all services where the stakes for the customer, should something go wrong, are high.
Make Agency has been designing digital marketing strategies for fintechs for close to a decade, and they’ve seen the effects that inattention to these finer details has on would-be customers.
“Building trust is the main goal of digital branding,” Purkiss says. “People trust brands that look, feel and sound right. This is even more important for fintechs as you’re often dealing with the transfer of money or digital currencies.”
In fact, looking the part online is a prerequisite for success.
“Nobody will trust a poorly designed ad on social that links through to a poorly designed website UX,” says Purkiss. “Everything we do builds a better customer perception of a brand. We tell the right story in a way that looks and feels trustworthy.”
In the fiercely competitive fintech space, this is even more important, for market leaders know they need to invest in strong digital brands and marketing materials. Businesses that try to take shortcuts, he adds, “will never be able to compete”.
Sticking close to the client
Many fintechs are ambitious beyond their size – that’s a hallmark of the sector, and something that has enabled it to continually push the limits of financial services design and innovation. And yet they often don’t have the tools and resources to ensure that the vision guiding their marketing strategy can be realised.
The businesses that Make Agency provides solutions for are often in the early stages of growth and do not yet have what is required, in terms of in-house talent – design teams, web developers, marketing strategists – to turn their vision into something actionable.
Purkiss and his colleagues have structured Make Agency such that its creatives remain close to the client for as long as is needed. Teams of experienced marketers are embedded within the client team from project inception until completion, ensuring that the disparate parts required to launch, sustain and project manage an impactful campaign are unified.
Indeed, as testament to its ability to deliver ambitious and forward-thinking campaigns, Make Agency – a relatively small fish in a big pond of digital creatives – is often contracted by the larger agencies to do the work they lack the skills for.
Marketing strategies that spotlight USPs
Its work with Neat, a Chinese fintech based in Hong Kong that provides a range of financial services tailored to the needs of small businesses, gives a flavour of this. Neat has set about targeting entrepreneurs not just in Hong Kong but internationally too, and especially those who have historically lacked an easy way to set up a legally registered business outside of their home jurisdiction.
Its push to attract new clients in overseas markets meant that it required a website that showcased a strong brand identity, one that conveyed trust and reliability, and which ensured would-be customers understood the company’s USPs in an instant. Supporting its new website was a full-spectrum marketing campaign consisting of dynamic and engaging video content, search marketing and social media content that repositioned the online view of Neat in order to engage young entrepreneurs in both Hong Kong and the UK.
“By starting with the fundamentals of Neat’s core audience, we were able to quickly test advertising experiments, to learn what works, and to quickly kill off what did not work,” says Purkiss.
Because of its close work with fintechs over close to a decade, Make Agency has developed a textured understanding of what attributes must be communicated via websites and marketing campaigns if the company is to grow a strong and sustainable customer base.
“I believe the essentials for running successful social advertising start with a solid understanding of your customer data, combined with a well-planned strategy and a highly adaptive and creative team. This is a service that is very hard to fulfil in-house as there are multiple players involved who need that industry experience and work rhythm. This is where Make flourishes.”
It’s an agency that knows the value of risk taking, of pushing the client to new areas of creativity – and in the crowded fintech sector, it is by doing just this that one starts to gain a yard.
Originally published on Business Reporter