FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Do fintechs need better marketing communications?

Singapore alone houses hundreds of fintech companies, ramping up competition.

Fintech companies have taken the world of payments and finance by storm, proving themselves capable of directly competing with their more-established bank counterparts by offering new ways to access and use cash through non-physical means. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has further driven the shift to contactless payments in Asia Pacific as consumers see it as a more “hygienic” way to pay. Other fintech sectors are also ramping up their offerings.

Despite their rising popularity, fintechs face tighter competition as more and more fintech companies emerge every year. Singapore alone now has around 500 fintech companies calling the island their home, and more are likely to emerge in the coming years. Traditional banks are also determined not to be left behind, and have rolled out online banking services and even their own digital banks.

With these in mind, Asian Banking & Finance spoke with fintechs and marketing leaders to learn how fintechs can better improve their marketing communications and strategies amidst tougher competition.

Caecilia Chu, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTrip

Fintechs can improve their marketing communications by shifting their focus towards personalisation, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all strategy like traditional banks. A good marketing communications strategy can boost consumer trust and lower the barrier of customer acquisition for fintechs. This was extremely valuable for YouTrip during our initial launch where we were able to amass strong initial traction to top the download charts early on and consistently till today.

Though we do not have a physical presence like traditional banks, we maintain the personal touch with our users by tailoring our communications to the various user segments. YouTrip caters to the different lifestyle needs of our users through thematic events like fitness for travel and travel fashion. Not only do these provide unique experiences for our users to connect with us, it also creates great talking points for our users to continue spreading the word about YouTrip!

X.Y. Ng, VP Brand & Digital at Validus Capital

Fintechs with products and services that address a massive market need or are broad-based are often an easier sell than those that are more ‘deep tech’. Either way, effective marketing communications go a long way in demystifying the technology in order to establish trust and credibility (a major challenge for any brand in financial services). In developing better marketing communications, the key is to turn product features into key value propositions focused on the end users or target segment and to humanise communications, particularly when educating the market. At Validus, our business of connecting small business owners to investor funds for growth financing allows us to develop and use the stories of our SMEs to educate and engage our stakeholders, enabling us to build a strong brand and become the largest SME financing platform in Singapore.

Eric Chan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of PR Communications

In this burgeoning, nascent industry where new fintechs are coming up every day, it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve and this is where marketing communications can help them have an edge over the competition. The power of marketing communications, such as public relations, lies in building brand awareness and corporate reputation, as well as reaching out to their desired customers. Marketing communications can help you stretch your dollar because of the earned media and ‘trust-building’ effect that you gain.

Jacob Puthenparambil, Partner at Redhill

Marketing communications is of paramount importance for fintech companies. A large part of a company's success depends on its ability to convincingly communicate how they solve business and social problems. As such, fintech can mean different things to different people. From our experience working in this space, we have found that marketing comms that clearly explain how a fintech's products make life easier for consumers and bolster bottom lines for businesses are best poised to stand out. Needless to say, having a clear understanding of the audience, their preferred platforms of engagement and building a digital strategy custom to that must go hand in hand.

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