28 April 2022
The Fintech B2B Marketing Conference was my first live event in two years and an overdue return to Level39, spiritual home of fintech startups in London. It was an interesting test of whether in person events really are back.
Excellently curated and managed by Payal Raina, there were workshop sessions and a formal conference. Martech vendors like Seismic and Cvent helped by sponsoring and contributing their expertise. Expert speakers like Dr Dave Chaffey (pictured below), Virginie O’Shea and Smita Gupta gave insight into the B2B fintech sector and the challenges it presents to marketers.
After two years living through Teams, it seems much has changed but some perpetual challenges remain (tension between sales and marketing, anyone?).
Here’s a brief soundbite run through key takeaways from the working sessions:
The marketing environment is busy: High level of noise. Everyone is busier. Everyone under pressure. Volume is up. Bandwidth is limited. Empathy is down. When do we reach saturation? All of which translates to, it’s harder to get and keep attention. This puts a premium on strategic thinking. Careful consideration of why, what and when to engage an audience. It puts a premium on a disciplined approach to not doing every tactic possible.
Recruitment: Everyone is very focused on recruitment. Everyone is finding it tough. Vendors, fintechs, agencies, everyone. There is a lot of time spent thinking around the problem. Everyone is looking at their employer brand. Some are looking at hiring younger, less experienced people and considering how they quickly backfill the inevitable knowledge gap. Some are looking at hiring talent ‘anywhere’, without boundaries, creating teams that may never sit together.
CMOs believe in brand but… the CRO isn’t convinced. And the CFO doesn’t want to pay for it. Everyone bought into the importance of brand-building and awareness to the later stages of the funnel. Nobody had an easy task selling that to their board.
KPIs are borked. Lacking a connected left to right view. Data lives inside siloes. Data is used as a political tool in big companies, so meaningful KPIs suffer. Smaller businesses, with a culture of collaboration and a clear focus on the ultimate KPI that matters (bottom-line), stand a chance of creating KPIs that connect the organization. In bigger businesses, KPIs are not aligned across functions, leading to tensions between marketing and sales.
Did LinkedIn change? Questions whether LinkedIn is the same animal post-pandemic as pre. Debate about whether ‘classic’ LinkedIn – it’s for business, right? – is being replaced by LinkedIn ‘lite’ – its more personal, prone to over-sharing? And is it too noisy without enough filters (of all kinds). This may be a matter of the increased expression of ‘my passions’, as much as ‘my skills’ or expertise.
TikTok and Instagram are on the radar. Just no-one is quite sure how to use them for B2B audiences.
Is martech off the crest of the wave? Trough of disillusionment? Not quite – but lots of anecdote swapping around different tools in the martech landscape. Which were working for people. Which weren’t delivering on the promise. Lots of stories about efforts spent joining the dots.
And Data, Data, Data. Obvs. In fact – I’d say – the problem is not getting data on audience behaviors and actions (lots of new vendor inputs on gathering and collecting data on every of action or activity). It’s turning data into intelligent audience insight and actionable interventions to smooth and speed the customer journey.
Serendity happens when people meet. There’s an aspect of face-to-face events that is pure serendipity. You don’t get this from virtual events. I bumped into a client from way back, on another continent, in a different company. I had a coffee with a growing fintech business we could really help. I happened to sit next to someone with a problem I could offer some answers around. I met someone new who knew us and was super positive about our business, and I’ll be connecting her to the right people...
Serendipity. Did we ever question whether face-to-face events would come back?