Why your digital lending program needs a growth marketing team

Aparna Chandrashekar   /    Content Specialist    /    2022-02-01

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Digital lenders are one panic-google-search away and India has approximately 1,263 digital lending startups offering instant credit. So as a borrower, options are unsparing. But as a lender, it’s a crowded, competitive market. 

In order to break through the noise, it’s imperative to develop a marketing strategy that isn’t just spray and pray. An iterative, compelling strategy that doesn’t just end at customer acquisition, but one that is a breeding ground for organic growth, word of mouth, viralitty is obligatory. 

This is where growth marketing comes in - it optimises your entire lending funnel and continuously finds ways to keep your customers engaged for more - rendering a powerful and loyal customer base. 

What is growth marketing?

Let’s be real, finding quick growth hacks is as common as finding indisputable evidence of the Himalayan Yeti - many claim to have witnessed it, but basing growth on a tall tale could prove to be disastrous. 

Growth marketing is anything but that. We’re calling it marketing 2.0 - it takes traditional marketing strategies and adds a layer of A/B testing, data driven campaigns, SEO optimisation, deep analytics, value-additive blogs, and creative copies. It isn’t just about implementing these strategies, but how quickly and effectively you do it will determine how robust and sustainable your growth will be. 

Traditional marketing has a ‘set it and forget it’ approach -  think google ad words, writing a basic copy. On an average, small-to-medium sized businesses (as well as lenders) spend $9000- $10,000 per month on google ads. That kind of a spend is justified because it attracts people at the top of the funnel - however, growth marketing goes beyond the top of the funnel. 

We’ve already written about how you can optimise each part of your lending funnel; here, we’re giving you four reasons why you need a growth marketing team to help get you through each part of the funnel like a pro. 

Why you need a growth marketing team

A growth marketing team driven by data, analytics and experimentation is a stochastic approach to marketing that is imperative in lending. This means all the data you process and develop strategies from has an element of randomness to it. The only way to ascertain what works is to start throwing things at the wall and see what sticks.

1. Customer centric 

In any digital business, lending especially, customer experience is crucial in acquisition, retention and loyalty. A growth marketer will invest time into collecting data and deriving insights - what are their pain-points, how is their purchase journey changing, what kind of media/content they’re consuming. Digital lenders are data behemoths - a marketer with the access to this data is poised to serve them better, at the right time, right platform, with the right product. 

2. Adaptable 

The right growth marketing team will allow you to deal with changing market conditions and help offset any unforeseen losses. The economic crisis triggered by Covid-19, for instance, witnessed a decline in collections for the lending industry. A survey of 100 fintech companies revealed that 69% of them have witnessed a 10-20% decline in loan collections which are overdue for 31-90 days.  A growth marketer would use this opportunity to shift messaging and marketing efforts towards reassuring existing customers. In fact, many lenders adapted to social sensitivity and time sensitivity in the very first of the crisis.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs for instance, acknowledged the crisis at hand and customised their offerings - 

“We can offer to help” and “we’re here to support you”, positioned the company as an aid in times of crisis. 

3. Making organisations nimble 

Nimble organisations usually possess the ability to test various solutions, gauge potential quickly, and verify effectiveness. Customers expect the perfect digital loan journey. They want everything to be streamlined and secured. One way to ensure your organisation is agile is by continuously fine-tuning every touch point in your user’s journey. A growth marketing team will instantly recognise the need to  A/B test different versions of the product via messaging for offers, nudges, services, and products. A quick, inexpensive way to understand the outsized impact of small changes on consumer behaviour. 

Consider collections - you need to drive debtors towards a desired outcome. With A/B testing, you can answer questions about - Which channel works best? What kind of messaging results in a higher repayment rate? What’s the timeline for reminders after the first purchase? 

4. Prioritise revenue 

97% of online banking applications that are started are abandoned - effectively leaving the conversion rate at 3%. This is daunting considering how much money is spent on new acquiring customers. Growth marketers understand that focusing on why drop-offs happen at different stages of the funnel, analyse the overall sales funnel impact and make adjustments where necessary.

Conclusion

Growth marketing teams know that running experiments to optimise every step of the lending funnel is based entirely on real data; and they’re continuously running out-of-the-box experiments on this growth lever.  

Think of them as the swiss army knife of an organisation - what sets them apart from other teams in an organisation is how cross-functional they are. A well rounded growth marketing team usually has or is privy to members from sales, marketing, product development, research/analytics, engineering. 

However, there is no playbook when it comes to growth and there certainly aren’t any hacks that are sustainable. Bottom line, a sensible growth marketer will understand that new customers and growth doesn't happen to companies over night. Especially, in an industry where customers are inherently cautious, it’s imperative to be purposeful in every little tweak in messaging you make.