There’s no doubt about it: the FinTech industry is incredibly saturated and finding ways to acquire customers has become more and more difficult. Tech execs have responded to this challenge by trying to differentiate their product’s functionality from that of the competition, assuming this will attract people to their solution.
This makes sense, of course. In their heart of hearts, they know their product is superior to everyone else in the space, and believe that customer acquisition is simply a matter of communicating that fact properly to potential customers. From there, the rest should simply take care of itself.
Yet time and time again this approach fails to deliver the desired results.
Because while it might make sense to a tech savvy-executive to build marketing campaigns around what would impress a tech savvy executive, companies are completely missing out on the perspectives of their actual customers - who are mostly regular, non-tech savvy people of the everyday variety.
Shifting the Differentiation Focus
The average person purchasing a FinTech product doesn’t understand the nuanced differences that exist between products in the space. Sure, one product may have this or that feature going for it over the competition. But does the average person understand - or care? Probably not. The depth to which they will look into functionality will be checking for the core features that are required to be competitive in the space at all.
Does this mean differentiation is not possible? Of course not. All it means is that tech companies need to get a little uncomfortable and start thinking outside their comfort zone. In other words, instead of focusing on the tech, FinTech companies need to make a concerted effort to focus on the people using the tech.
Differentiating on Experience
The reason why should be obvious. FinTech deals with one of the most personal things humans engage with - managing their money. Most people don’t like to think about how to manage their money, and get really uncomfortable whenever they do.
For this reason, FinTech companies that present themselves as more than just a technology bundle will attract positive attention.
Simply put, people may not understand a feature that will make them a little more money, but they’ll certainly understand the importance of having someone to talk to about their finances when they’re feeling unsure of themselves.
Hand in hand with this concept is the need to cultivate an image of being upfront and honest. Skepticism reigns when it comes to trusting someone with money, and all it takes is one instance of a potential customer feeling like there was a hidden fee or dishonest pricing to scare them off forever.
In contrast, there’s tons of evidence to support the theory that people use services they trust to be transparent - even if they know upfront that it costs them more to do so.
Become a Thought Leader
Building on this concept of trust is key in other ways as well. While a potential customer might not be too concerned with the technical details of a FinTech product, they will concern themselves with the industry reputation of the company offering it.
It’s a well known phenomenon that customers trust industry leaders, and so differentiation on overall reputation is critical to FinTech success. It’s important to note that while industry accolades and awards are nice to those within the industry, they generally mean little to those outside of it. Don’t make it your main approach.
Instead, focus on building an internet presence via content and social media channels. Customers value reviews and social shares and will differentiate between those companies that can demonstrate a good reputation, and those who cannot.
In Conclusion: Stop Thinking About Fintech as a Technology
Tech executives are at a disadvantage when it comes to marketing their products. As dedicated executives and tech-lovers, their natural inclination when trying to sell their product is to think of it as technology. In that context, sharing the little nuances that make their tech superior to the competition seems to be the road to differentiation.
But it’s not. Unfortunately, the day-to-day people that make up the majority of their customer base don’t have this view. They see FinTech as a service that helps them manage their money and assets. And from their perspective, the basis of this relationship is trust, not tech.
Smart executives will realize this and start marketing a service backed up by knowledgeable, trustworthy people... rather than a bundle of software code.