Why are fintech companies so poor at engaging with young professionals?

Amidst the influx of entrants into the fintech market over the past few years, it’s become increasingly difficult for brands to stand out in the struggle to gain market share and scale up. Ask any marketing or communications professional at a fintech company and most will tell you the people they really want to target are young professionals in their 20s. Whilst they may not be the core market for many brands, they are, in most cases, the most valuable type of ‘acquisition’. Sign them up early on and keep them sweet and you have a customer who could be using your products for life, making you the most money in the long run. That all makes total sense… the only problem here is that this audience is traditionally one of the trickiest to reach, which often leads to brands shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to trying to connect with them.

Fake friends

Put simply, the vast majority of those in this young professional audience aren’t particularly interested in financial products or services. Mention the word ‘finance’ to most and a grey haze goes over their eyes – and fintech companies are well aware of this. This is why, alongside making the product as attractive and shiny as possible, fintech brands have attempted to connect with a younger audience by trying to be their ‘mate’ which has led to some badly misjudged situations.

Here are a few recent examples of fintech companies getting it wrong:

It’s just as much about how you say something as what you actually say when it comes to communications and, in an effort to attract a younger audience, many fintech brands have got it hopelessly wrong.

Be honest

Tone of voice is becoming increasingly important for brands as a way to resonate with potential customers in a more organic way, but the voice itself has to actually fit with the product you’re offering and the service you’re providing. Marketers and communications professionals often cite Innocent’s work as the Holy Grail of brand voice. However, that doesn’t mean that all brands should attempt to emulate this tone of voice. For consumers it’s okay for the likes of Innocent or Paddy Power to be a bit cheeky in their messaging, telling jokes and using winking smileys, but when a bank starts doing it, it feels incredibly forced and can actually be pretty off-putting. The difference here, of course, is the product. People don’t expect, or want, financial brands to be creating memes or ‘being savage’ on Twitter because it simply doesn’t fit right. It’s similar in person too. Whilst you’d probably be alright with your barista at Starbucks showing you a cat video on their phone (albeit it would be a little odd), if your accountant or mortgage adviser did something similar it’d get some seriously raised eyebrows and would most likely make you start to look elsewhere for someone who’s a little bit more professional. After all, it’s your life savings on the line.

Tone of voice

Like many things, getting the tone of voice right as a fintech brand is all about striking a balance. On one hand you’ve seen how the traditional institutions communicate with consumers and you want to be different, more engaging and less ‘corporate’. On the other hand, you’ve got to remember that being too jokey and familiar is equally as off-putting for the younger generations because it feels disingenuous to the sector that you operate in. Patronising tones also don’t go down well with younger audiences and can be easy territory for financial brands to accidentally slip into. Remember, everyone, regardless of age or background wants the same things from a financial brand – a good product that’s going to save them time/money, an easy to use service and a team they can really trust.

Matt Village – W Enterprise