Fintech Thought Leadership: Making Waves in a Sea of Sameness

A funding frenzy. 

That’s the only way I can describe the fintech industry right now. 

The State of Fintech report from CB Insights shows:

  • Fintech M&A exits are at the highest ever so far in 2021, already outpacing all of 2020. 
  • Fintech’s financing tally in the third quarter of this year was (again) the highest on record (an almost 150 percent increase year-on-year). 
  • And 43 fintech companies broke the billion-dollar valuation barrier in Q3 (in other words, they became ‘unicorns’). 

The glut of fintechs creates a challenge for founders and marketing teams.

It’s getting tougher to differentiate your fintech from the rest.

Attention, Interest and Influence

Many marketers know this. And they are now getting more serious about building reputation among buyers, prospects, and partners.

This is where thought leadership comes in. Many people have different views on what though leadership is all about, but for me it’s any activity that creates three things: attention, interest, and influence.  

Understanding What Audiences Want

More importantly, what do audiences think of thought leadership? The 2021 LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Report is a starting point. The report shows: 

  • 55 percent of buyers will move on if a piece of content bores them in the first minute.
  • 80 percent of decision-makers want thought leadership that includes third-party data from trusted sources — not just insights from within your company.
  • 77 percent are interested in hearing from experts on specialized topics instead of senior executives talking about high-level business issues. 

Here’s the takeaway for fintechs. You need to produce content with the mindset of reporters and columnists, not salespeople and business development executives

Taking a Long-Term View

Thought leadership is a long game too.

A Profiting From Thought Leadership study found the longer a company has been producing thought leadership content, the likelier it is to outperform others. And the most effective thought leadership marketers have been doing it for 70 percent longer than the least effective thought leadership marketers, according to the study.

Releasing articles, reports, and whitepapers will not contribute to email sign-ups, website traffic, media mentions, backlinks, or customer relationships right away. 

But don’t get disheartened by that. Your goal with thought leadership is to earn attention, interest and influence —  not chase instant conversion. 

This is hard to do, especially if your approval process involves people from beyond the marketing discipline.  But push for longer term thinking and an audience-first mindset. If you can achieve this, your fintech will already be ahead of many of your competitors.

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