By Dmitry Ryzhkov, CMO at Aximetria GmbH
When thinking of online or digital marketing, we can define two major points that differentiate it from traditional forms of marketing and promotion. On the one hand, it is quite straightforward, as the performance of your digital marketing activities (CPI, CAC, CPA, etc.) in most cases can be measured in an online mode. This means that there cannot be two different opinions on whether your investment in marketing is efficient or not. On the other hand, it consists of a huge amount of different approaches, channels and formats of interaction with a customer: performance marketing, social media marketing, direct marketing, content marketing, SEO and SEM, partnership marketing and so on and on. It means you have to go through numerous tests, research and approaches to find a marketing mix that will be optimal for your product.
Digital market also brought an end to the classic marketing dilemma that stated 50% of your advertising was wasted, with the problem being the inability to know which 50% it was. Today, things can be measured to the Nth degree, and while this has brought sophisticated new solutions and opportunities, it can also bring sophisticated new problems if not implemented properly – so here are some invaluable tips and learnings to get you going in the right direction.
Chasing the golden marketing mix
The ways to succeed are usually so unique that there cannot be a universal mix that suits any product and company. That said, there definitely are some approaches to chasing a golden marketing mix. My favourite is known as “lean marketing”. This approach is consonant with a business methodology very popular among startups – that of the lean startup – which prioritizes iterative movement in order to maximise the efficiency of your marketing investments. It perfectly suits the needs and resources of both small companies and big ones that are to launch a new digital product or service.
Marketing investments should be commensurate with product quality
This is the rule I always try to strictly follow when marketing new products. Bigger investments means higher expectations, and this is ok when you need to promote an established product. However, this is definitely not the case for a startup, unless you want to inflate a marketing bubble for a product or service you’re still refining.
It is more reasonable to increase marketing investment as the product matures, and digital marketing with all its analytical capabilities will be a perfect assistant and complement for your product team.
Start fast with obvious and straightforward solutions
To be honest, it is difficult to imagine a situation when Facebook or Google cannot meet the advertising needs your product or service may have. Both are mature online services that perfectly fit new products when you need to test numerous messages, approaches, and creatives. They also work great when you need a lot of traffic. So, instead of wasting time creating complex marketing constructions – go ahead with proven solutions.
At the beginning, you should test as many approaches and messages as you can. This will give you a measurable understanding on how people react to your marketing efforts and how your product meets their expectations. These will be your general benchmarks to compare the efficiency of all further marketing investments and campaigns.
One important thing to mention here. Facebook and Google give almost unlimited targeting capabilities across different dimensions. But be careful with this – don’t make your targeting too specific, at least for the time of your first tests. On the contrary, try to communicate with the audience you might have not considered earlier, as this is likely to give you some interesting insights.
For example, in the first six months since the launch of our fintech service in 2019, we conducted four large marketing tests, the purpose of which was, for one thing, to determine the regions and countries in which the product offer would find the maximum response. We started with the widest possible coverage for five regions (Europe, Southeast Asia, CIS, Africa and South America) and eventually narrowed it down to four countries. Here, we focused all further marketing activities, with the countries being Brazil, Spain, South Africa and Russia. In addition to understanding the countries we should focus our marketing efforts on, tests have allowed us to determine the most effective messages and approaches to creating ads.
The average cost of attracting an active fintech user during the test period, depending on the country, ranged from $300+ to $50.
Invest directly into customers
Needless to say, your product should be good enough to convert leads generated by your marketing efforts into active customers. If so, start converting your current customers into product evangelists.
People tend to share their opinions when they are not happy with a product, service, its prices and more, and they very rarely praise anything. So a referral program will be a good instrument to motivate your clients to spread the word about you.
A good referral program, taking into account the interest of both your current and new customers, can significantly reduce your customer acquisition costs. However, it is important to support it with other marketing activities promoting your brand.
For example, a major success was our recent referral program launched in April 2020. It made it possible to halve the average cost of attracting an active user from $88 to $36. It is important to mention a couple of key points. Before implementing our own referral campaign, we studied the strategy of referral programs and concluded that effective programs always benefit both the inviter and the invitee, who receives a reward. Another thing is that the reward should be monetary, and not in the format of points or bonuses. The size of the monetary reward determines the amount of users that the referral program can bring. It is necessary to conduct tests with various rewards in order to find the right balance. The referral reward should be not too small in order to attract enough users and at the same time, your expenses for the referral program should remain relatively low and maximally effective.
Create lighter interaction experiences
Financial services are often quite complicated and are multi-component, especially in terms of onboarding and the core user experience. Though fintech companies invest huge efforts to make services more affordable and to remove different barriers, there are always certain elements which can not be overly simplified due to the regulations in place. In this regard, the task of marketing is to create a lighter interaction experience that will demonstrate your value and expertise to customers that have never come across such products before, or have been unable to find enough motivation to try them as yet.
These experiences can be a demo mode or a service that eases and answers the fears people may have when thinking of your company. For example, if your business provides crypto services, you probably know that people fear their banks can block the cards and accounts they use for cryptocurrency transactions. In this regard, a service (like Aximetria’s AxiCheck on which the company doesn’t even monetise) that helps people to check if a bank is crypto friendly can be the first experience of an interaction with your service.