Fintech is booming but how should companies expand internationally?

Over the past few months at Freedman we’ve been speaking to some of the most successful players in the European Fintech scene about their international marketing & advertising activities. Read on to find out about some of the growing trends we’re seeing within this space.

Fintech is Flourishing

The Fintech sector is booming; investment has exploded since 2008 and the opportunity for growth in 2016 is considerable.

Fintech companies offer an array of services around financial management, ie; lending money to SME’s, helping them manage their finances more efficiently and transferring money in a smarter and more cost-effective manner across international borders.

The speed at which some of these Fintech companies are currently growing is quite spectacular. $1 billion annual revenue within four years of conception is not uncommon, with global investment now over $50 billion, making the industry one of the major business successes of our time.

Marketing Growth

I’ve been engaging with a lot of these companies in recent months to discuss their marketing & advertising, and some familiar patterns have emerged. As they expand and start to become major players in the market, internal marketing teams grow organically, with creative and digital specialists employed to design and execute marketing campaigns across a variety of media: mobile, online, social, TV, CRM, print etc.

As growth and investment takes off and budgets are opened up to support advertising in new markets, the sheer volume of global marketing activities and skills required to ensure maximum campaign ROI puts pressure on these internal teams. Creative marketers often start to spend a greater percentage of their time managing the production and implementation of campaigns, moving away from their core skills.

The big decision companies then face is whether to carry on expanding marketing resources internally to cope with the increased demand, or to outsource to a network of external suppliers, such as freelancers and localisation or global implementation agencies.

In House Strategy & Creative / Outsourced Localisation & Production

What we have seen in 2015 for these fast-growing companies tends to be a model of maintaining creative and strategic resource internally and then a move towards outsourcing the challenging aspects of localisation and production, of getting effective campaigns out there fast. Internal creative teams and marketing managers are typically well established, and it makes sense to utilise their in-house brand knowledge for strategic marketing and designing superb creative marketing campaigns. This is what they love and do well.

As international growth takes off, it becomes increasingly hard and resource intensive to acquire local marketing knowledge across international borders. Growth in the sector can come quickly and decisions to launch products with advertising campaigns in new regions requires a different type of skill. You need people who understand the local market, who can effectively localise campaign concepts, images and content in the local language, with local cultural relevance. You also need the resources to execute those campaigns across multiple markets. From our experience at Freedman this is best achieved through the use of central project management and production teams with the support of copywriters and cultural consultants native to that region and living in market.

Typically, Fintechs have until recently been adapting marketing concepts internationally from their global HQ. Whilst this can have success in the early years, as the pace of growth increases this becomes more of a challenge. Maybe you want to launch a TV campaign across several markets for the first time or you want to move into out-of-home or press, or increase online presence at the same time as expanding into new markets, and there are some resource gaps to making it happen.

We are starting to see a decoupling of the creative from international production, outsourcing the localisation and production to a marketing agency with global coverage.

Also, as regulatory bodies increase regulation within this fast-changing sector, a water tight process for your content localisation is essential.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Localisation & Production

Great implementation agencies put a lot of resources into digital marketing technologies and processes to keep ahead of the market. They have marketing experts living in market covering most of the world’s geographical regions who can advise on how to implement the campaigns locally and then execute. They should have expertise in production across all media, so any internal resource gaps in TV, digital, online, social, CRM, press and print can be overcome.

Outsourcing takes the burden away from internal teams and allows them to focus their resource on strategic marketing and designing great creative campaigns.

By decoupling creative from production and localisation, Fintech companies get the best of both worlds, leveraging from expert internal brand knowledge and a scalable external global marketing resource.

Predictions for the future?

As the sector continues to flourish and expand in 2016 and beyond, I think we will see more and more companies reach a size where they will be facing the marketing challenges presented by exponential growth and will need to outsource more of their international marketing.

 

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