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Fintech Influencers

Former Head of Growth, N26

IP Interview
Published on April 6, 2020

Why is this interview interesting?

  • How N26 used early adopters and ambassadors / influencers to drive growth in the early days
Executive Bio

Matteo Concas

Former Head of Growth, N26

Matteo is one of the leading fintech marketers in Europe. In 2017, he joined N26, the leading European digital bank, as Country Manager of Italy. He was responsible for building the growth and business development strategy where he led the region to be one of the fastest for the Group. In 2018, Matteo moved to Head of Growth for Europe where he was leading all digital marketing channels. Matteo left N26 in late 2018 to found Beesy, an Italian B2B banking platform for SMB’s and freelancers, which later merged with Penta of which he is now CMO. Matteo enjoyed four years of Investment Banking in London before entering fintech.

Interview Transcript

What, exactly, did you do differently with influencers? How did you find them? How did you approach them? What was the strategy?

The strategy was to focus on our messages. You don’t have to change it. It might sound boring, inside the company, because you have been doing the same things for the last year, but don’t forget, every time, it’s the first time they hear it, right? You need to really stick with the messages. For us it was, we are the bank for the smartphone. N26 is called the mobile bank. It Italy, we actually changed it to the bank for the smartphone. People understood it. So that was the umbrella. By that, what we meant was, we have a great mobile app that is optimized for a digital experience, similar to all the other apps you have. It’s much easier to use, minimalist. All the additional features that we had, where you could control the card, that was completely science fiction for all the other banks. I can open my app and change the PIN on my card and then a second after, I can go to a POS and I use the PIN. That’s the sort of things we have that other banks cannot do. Or I can block the card for online purchases. Really showing the three main features, our unique selling propositions, as they teach you in business school or university marketing courses, in general.

So the UI, the features and the price. We looked at influencers that were talking to the people, not showing how beautiful they were. This was the first filter. It really depended on the influencers. Some of them were gamers, some others were more career advisors, some others were just the tech reviewer of new digital products. Maybe even doing a review of the new iPhone, the new Android and then showing us as a new digital service. So we were working with them on a specific script, where they would highlight the most important feature for the customer base. For gamers, it was the easy to use card and the fact that you can pay online. That’s it. For others, for travelers, it was the foreign exchange. We also went with travel bloggers. With some others, it was just the fact that you can open it online, from your sofa.

They were all connected; they were all saying the same things, but really tailored to the customer base. But we didn’t stop there, of course. We had to find the best medium to use the influencers. An influencer can be on Facebook. At the time, 2017, 2018, Instagram was not how it is now, so much less use; and YouTube. YouTubers turned out to be the best ones, because people who go on YouTube want to listen to that YouTuber. They subscribe to them and they are fully focused on what they say for five, 10, 15 minutes, because they trust them. That worked extremely well and we always had a link, in the description of the video, so we could track. Because then there is the tracking part, as well, which is really important. We could track the performance of that video.

Then we really had to test a lot and it took us a month to find out that – now it might seem super easy – videos on Instagram, they were the ones that worked the best. We need to consider that, at the time, it was still just photos, the memes; very static. People were not creating so many videos; Facebook did not have all the video functionality that are embedded in the platform and Stories had just started. We tested out all these different media, instead of a picture medium. That worked pretty well, in understanding who were the influencers that performed the best and with which medium.

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