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The challenges for women working in financial marketing

When you work in marketing, you need to get used to spinning multiple plates at once. One day I’m championing marketing’s role in the boardroom and the next I’m writing a press release or tweaking the brand. It’s a creative job and marketers need to remember that - it’s supposed to be fun! And if there’s anything I’ve learned in my 15 years of international experience across the fintech and payments industry is that it’s important to understand your motivations and stay true to yourself.

Collaboration and diversity of views

There’s so many fintechs now that there has to be a different reckoning in the value you offer. Collaboration is one way to do this, but making partnerships helpful for the end-user is the important part. As brands make friends and alliances, they must focus on how to solve problems together, ensure diverse voices are at the table, and harness the benefits of those different views to put something valuable back out into the market. Only then can you innovate with all customers in mind.

It’s important to think about how the needs of end-users change throughout their lifetime and how you can make them your ‘forever customer’. For me, that’s what makes working in fintech exciting. How it can change and improve people’s lives.

It’s a man's world, but it shouldn’t be

But you can’t sugar coat it, it can be difficult being a woman in a male-dominated industry. You have to be brave, take chances, be assertive (even though that’s hard sometimes), and above all, be your authentic self.

That also means being a good advocate for yourself. Whether that’s celebrating your achievements or negotiating a better remuneration package. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?”. Then ask for that raise or speak up at that meeting. There are lots of women in fintech but, sadly, not as many at the top.

People can label women with ‘negative’ descriptions such as emotional, aggressive, bossy and more. In response, I say, “Are those bad things?” I don’t think so. I’m passionate about what I do. Caring about your job and showing emotion in the workplace is part of being human.

You shouldn’t have to feel you are playing a character at work. Particularly in marketing roles, many assume you need to be the life of the party. The truth is you don’t have to be anything except your true self. Trying to fit with the status quo or what people expect is an old-school mindset. It’s not just bad for diversity, it’s bad for business.

Our business sells to a banking market that is ripe for and, increasingly, open to disruption. Banks don’t want ‘the way things have always been done’, they’re searching for new ways to connect with and deliver better value to their customers.

Avoid tokenism

It’s proven that diverse workforces and leadership drive better business outcomes. Encouraging different views at every level of a business, from product teams to the boardroom, is the only way to ensure a truly inclusive and successful culture.

But you have to be flexible too. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when you’re running a global team, so you have to recognise different cultures and ways of working, whilst still having consistent values across teams.

Businesses must think about the benefits they’re offering, as the environment you create for people will determine how successful your employees are. Offering generous maternity and paternity leave is a perfect example of how to encourage a more equitable workplace.

But steer clear of initiatives that are only lip service. Don’t invest in diversity because it looks good, do it because it matters to your company and has real meaning. It’s easy to throw words like diversity and inclusion around without making a conscious effort to embody them in your ways of working.

If you want to drive better business outcomes, don’t put the onus on underrepresented individuals to take a seat at the table. Take ownership and make one available.

Written by Laurel Wolfe, VP marketing at cloud banking platform Mambu

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