If you’re keeping up with FinTech and banking trades, you’ll know that everyone has an opinion on what the COVID-19 global pandemic means for financial technology. 

The last global crisis — the financial crash of 2008 — opened the doors for FinTechs to better compete with and sell to financial institutions, particularly as traditional institutions tried to rebuild their brands and regain consumer trust. Unlike the last financial crisis, where FIs were largely faulted, financial institutions are playing a critical role in helping businesses and individuals financially navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Even with issues around the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), overall public perception has so far favored financial institutions’ efforts to help their customers. 

Some big FinTech names have been approved to step up and help, such as PayPal providing PPP assistance and Chime helping people quickly receive their stimulus checks. But, not all financial technology providers are in as great of a position as their big-name counterparts. 

In a recent op-ed, former American Banker editor-in-chief Rob Blackwell noted that, “While banks have been central to all these massive relief efforts, fintechs in contrast appear to be largely sidelined. Some have even quietly closed their doors.”

Thriving, Staying Afloat or Closing Up Shop?

We’re seeing rapid shifts in FinTech as the global pandemic continues to keep people home. 

Some are announcing major funding rounds, touting their financial strength and stability during a time of uncertainty. Don’t believe me? Check out FinTech Future’s homepage on any given day and you’ll see what I mean. Others, as Blackwell pointed out, aren’t able to withstand the economic downturn. Interestingly, a recent TechCrunch survey found that the key factor in whether a financial tech business will likely survive the pandemic is not stage, but instead runway. Just because a company is in a later stage than competitors doesn’t mean it has the capital to survive. 

Meanwhile, other FinTechs are continuing to keep their doors (virtually) open and navigating new ways to support their customer base, whether FIs, consumers or businesses. 

Navigating the New FinTech Buying Cycle

Much like 2008, FinTech marketing is at an inflection point, but exactly which direction it’s pointing is uncertain. In the meantime, here are three steps marketers can take now to accelerate buying cycles and identify opportunities in the midst of this uncertainty.

  1. Reprioritize target audiences based on who’s buying now. Depending on the personas you sell to, budgets may be frozen, buyers may be too busy with their own increased demand to make decisions or, on the positive side, they may need to select and implement a technology vendor quickly. Audit your recent sales outreach and inbound inquiries to determine which of your audiences is most likely to buy now so you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
  2. Use today’s challenges to identify pain points you can help solve. From the supply chain to data processing, COVID-19 has surfaced new challenges that businesses across the globe are grappling with. Take a close look at the questions your sales team is being asked and your content that is resonating right now to determine how your solution is being considered to fill critical voids. Many of our clients are finding that what’s needed now is different than their primary marketing messaging and typical buying behaviors.
  3. Channel your audience and pain point analysis into educational content. Once you’ve explored #1 and #2, refocus your marketing efforts based on your findings. Buyers are using their time right now to educate themselves. In fact, HubSpot reported that “Buyers continue engaging with marketing content at levels equal to or higher than pre-COVID averages.” Focusing on education vs. hard sales right now can have long-term impacts, including improved SEO, buyer affinity and a flourishing pipeline to nurture.

Not sure how to adjust your marketing strategy? Reach out to us and we are happy to help your FinTech business continue to drive leads during this time of uncertainty.

Joelle is dedicated to helping her clients strategically communicate their value to media, analysts, investors and customers. She is passionate about understanding the intersection of financial technology with daily life.

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