How Traditional Financial Marketers Can Compete With Fintech

Lauren Pozmanter

Senior Account Manager

Do you remember when the financial services industry was in its heyday 20 years ago? There were high barriers to entry, institutions had been around for centuries, and life was good. There hadn’t been a major disruptor since the invention of the ATM.

The Great Recession sent all that crashing down in an instant. Suddenly banks had bad reputations and people didn’t know who to turn to. It was the perfect time for a new disruptor to hit the scene: fintech.

Why has fintech been so successful? One reason is because of its stellar digital marketing strategies. This may seem like bad news for those of you who work for traditional institutions, but there are certain strategies traditional financial marketers can use to compete with fintech.

Target A Specific Demographic

Traditional financial institutions tend to market to everyone from baby boomers to Gen Z. But you’ll have a stronger impact if you focus on one specific demographic. Take a look at your existing data. Which demographic has the biggest impact on your bottom line?

It doesn’t just have to be an age group. Your target demographic could be people going through certain life events—like graduating from college or retiring from the workforce—or it could even be the people in your local community. Whoever it is, create a robust marketing campaign aimed at them specifically.

Become An Industry Leader

“Fintech companies are succeeding because they put the customer at the center of the proposition, banks do not.” – David Klein, CEO of CommonBoard.

Once you’ve honed in on your target demographic, identify their pain points and solve their problems using your marketing campaign. Not only does this help build trust and loyalty with your customers, but it subconsciously tells them you are the go-to person for any information they need on that topic.

Include subtle calls to action, such as product recommendations, and you’ll begin to see an increase in profits as you become an industry leader.

Make Products & Services Accessible

People are beginning to view financial institutions as transactional rather than relational. They’re no longer looking to spend several hours in a bank just to get approved for a loan. They want to hop online, answer a few questions, and get a decision within minutes.

This means traditional financial institutions need to focus on:

  • Creating mobile apps,
  • Moving lending processes online, and
  • Improving digital banking tools.  

“The younger generation will gravitate toward brands that provide the best user experience, the best value, and ultimately, can help them reach their financial goals,” says Devin Ryan, Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst at JMP Securities.

How can you market your company’s products and services in a way that meets the needs of your customers? This may mean innovating any of your current offerings to better appeal to today’s tech-focused audience.

Refocus Your Marketing Strategy

There’s a reason why most fintech companies are full of people under the age of 30. They’re not looking for people with 20+ years of industry experience. They want someone with a fresh perspective and innovative ideas.

As a traditional financial marketer, don’t be afraid to question the relevance of your current marketing strategy. Who’s running your UX design? Are you engaging with your customers online through social media? How are you talking about your app or other offerings?

When Goldman Sachs partnered with Apple, for example, the deal had a lot of sex appeal because it was two big brands coming together to create a very sleek product. Is it really just a credit card with Apple rewards? Maybe. But because of its marketing, it felt very high-end and buzzy.

If any part of your marketing strategy is too outdated, cut it out and improve on it. It may seem ruthless, but innovation must also happen within your marketing department if you want to really compete with fintech.


No one can escape the effects of fintech and how it’s changed the way people interact with money. Whether it’s the idea of instant gratification, rewards, or being easy to navigate, there are elements that are now ingrained into our everyday lives. These changes force traditional financial marketers to rethink how they do business.  

So, let’s talk. How are you using fintech as a source of innovation in your own company? Are there other ways traditional financial marketers can compete with fintech? Share your thoughts with us on social!

Twitter: @Vested
LinkedIn: Vested LLC