As it turns out, Google does not have all the answers (*Wikipedia contributors silently cheering in the background*).
Yeah, it can translate “Where’s the bathroom?” into every known language, show me the inspiration for my favorite songs, and provide all the research a college student could possibly need to write an anthropological theory essay. It can teach me how to master Quickbooks and Procreate; it can walk me through how to jump start a car. It’s got almost everything.
Trust me, I’m not trying to smack talk Google or the internet, that would be incredibly stupid.
But, there’s a certain category of things it can never know, and that’s everything having to do with creative insight. And if it looks like you’ve found answers, you’ve only been made to feel that way by marketers. But enough talk, let me just show you an example.
I was poking around top ranking pages for different fintech industry keywords. Without naming names, I came across a highly-read article on how to market a fintech company. Seriously, if you google that phrase, you’re bound to end up where I was.
And essentially, it was a long blog with snazzy infographics about the 9 steps to marketing a fintech company. Make sure your website looks good on mobile, not just desktop. Use influencers. Have video ads. Make quality content. Be on social media. Engage with your audience. Know your audience.
Voila… have at it. Follow 9 simple steps!
Marketing Agencies HATE this one simple trick to get your business off the ground!
For people in the fintech marketing industry, we can confirm all of these things are necessary. But also for people in the fintech marketing industry, it’s information like this that makes companies think they don’t need to have as much of a focus on marketing as, say, investment and product development.
And that’s why they inevitably fail.
They follow what they find online. They make social media profiles. They post pictures. They hire a videographer to make some commercial-like ads. They respond to people’s comments. They buy followers. They look for “mobile responsiveness” when looking at website design third parties. They send free products or service trials to Instagrammers. They download a guide on Millennial and Gen Z trends. They follow a series of videos called “fintech marketing” or “growth hacking.” Heck, they might even hire a team that calls themselves a fintech advertising agency or digital agency for financial services, when all they really do is follow the same guides and worksheets.
But all that right there… was a stupendous waste of time and money. A colossal misdirection of resources. Your company doesn’t need an ad, it needs a story.
Because, yes, they were all good ideas. But no, they mean nothing without a strong brand, pointed messaging, targeted audience builds, and creative strategy behind it.
Did you notice those “simple steps” could be said about any industry? Any product? Any brand? If every company could sell out just like that, there would be a lot more successful startups in the world, not the well-known stat of the 80%+ that fail early.
So here’s what we know (and see regularly) that the internet can’t give you: The creative strategy needed to back your brand. Because marketing isn’t just social media management and ad spend tools.
The most valuable player for marketing teams, whether in agencies or in-house, are those that can look at hard data (which IS readily available on Google) and turn it into creative insight.
Breaking down those simple steps, here’s what they didn’t cover (and can’t):
— how to tell if the zeitgeist is ready for your idea (this doesn’t just mean market timing)
— how the fact that Gen Z loves transparency plays into your need for corporate social responsibility
— how different (think logos and colors) isn’t always better
— how your indirect competitors can be more threatening than the direct ones
— honestly I’d keep listing things here but there’s more than 9, and they’ll just get more vague and confusing as we go.
The person on a marketing team or startup that drives all other decisions is the one that can turn statistics, sociology, and psychology into a vibe. Yeah, a vibe. How your company feels to people. How your product relates to the world around it. How everything from the developer team to the About page to the buttons on your site is carefully crafted to a single Call to Action.
People that succeed in creative strategy applied using data, are the people that startups most often overlook. Because look, the internet just told us what we need to do and we can do it ourselves.
But when it comes to real branding, and especially for fintech companies diving into an industry that’s 50% entrenched and 50% overflowing with the newest ideas, you don’t just need those 9 simple steps. Or an SEO how-to guide. Or all the tutorials you could ever imagine.
You need a team that’s used to viewing the world only through the lens of creative brand strategy. You need the MVPs that don’t even know what it means to think linearly.
You need Rock Candy Media, the best performance agency and marketing firm in Austin, and our team of crazies.
Lucky for you, we want you too. That is, if you’re as passionate as we are, as unfiltered as our CEO is, and as ready for change and adaptability as you ought to be as a fintech brand in 2020.