Customer acquisition is the big question all consumer-facing fintech startups have to answer. The cost of onboarding new users has been a thorn in the side of payments, lending and personal financial management startups. That means fintech marketing executives have millstones around their necks in terms of making sure the money they spend opens accounts.
So how can a fintech startup stand out in an increasingly crowded fintech space? For personal finance and lending startup MoneyLion, the answer is to go where the audience goes—and go around in a loop with them 500 times.
Pedal To The Metal Scaling
That’s why MoneyLion recently announced it was partnering with Penske Automotive Group, Inc.Team Penske to sponsor NASCAR driver Austin Cindric’s Ford Motor Company Mustang for four races this season. It’s an unexpected move from a fintech startup, whose primary marketing channels to date have generally been social media and TV commercials.
According to Ogilvy advertising veteran and newly-minted MoneyLion chief marketing officer Bill Davaris, the strategy makes perfect sense for MoneyLion’s intended audience: the masses of American workers not served by traditional financial services.
“Our greatest ambition is to be an iconic American brand,” Davaris said. “Our demographic is the heartland of America; that who we serve and that’s who needs us. There’s no stronger affinity with the heartland than with NASCAR.”
Davaris said MoneyLion’s research has shown working-class people benefit most from the incremental gains that the app’s personal financial management system provides. He said that’s in line with NASCAR teams’ emphasis on endlessly optimizing cars and racing styles.
City Vs. Country: Fintech Edition
Jonathan Gibson, Penske’s vice president of marketing, agreed that MoneyLion’s consumer focus made the partnership attractive, and that NASCAR’s high brand loyalty among its consumer base means MoneyLion is likely to improve the financial health of its fans.
Davaris doubled down on MoneyLion’s focused marketing approach by comparing it to its peers in the fintech app space.
“Our competition is chasing the affluent bi-coastal millennial,” Davaris said. “We don’t understand that strategy. America’s a big place. It’s essential for us to embrace the entire country and the underbanked people who are being taken advantage of.
“MoneyLion isn’t some Silicon Valley tool that’s designed for a cool person in Brookyln. It’s for American families trying to get ahead.”
MoneyLion’s strategy might pay off, as noted fintech investor Chamath Palihapitiya recently said startups raising large amounts of venture funding to acquire customers is a kind of “Ponzi Scheme.”