What Birchbox and Uber Can Teach Financial Marketers

By Sicily Axton
Originally posted on TheFinancialBrand.com January 7, 2015

Startup companies like Birchbox and Uber are winning the game of consumer marketing because of one single variable – they are marketing in the year that we actually live in. Unfortunately, too many financial marketers continue to promote messages in places where consumers are less likely to see it, hear it or feel it.

Birchbox, Uber and other disruptive startup companies are not only running the digital race, they are miles ahead of the majority of the banking industry and other traditional industries that are slow to position themselves for today’s digital communication realities. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk, the Internet famous entrepreneur, author, speaker, blogger and investor who has helped Fortune 500 companies like GE, Pepsi and Mountain Dew find success by taking advantage of the new realities.

Vaynerchuk grew a massive audience for his wine business in the late 1990s by being an early adopter of digital media – he used email when competitors were still using fax machines, and purchased Google AdWords at a time when “wine” sold for only five cents. He has since launched the digital and social agency VaynerMedia, has become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and was an early investor in brands like Twitter, Tumblr, Medium, Uber and Birchbox.

In a presentation to financial institution executives, Vaynerchuk challenged the banking industry to better understand consumer behaviors and, in turn, stop telling our stories in places where people are no longer there to hear it. Consumers fast-forward through TV commercials, would rather receive a text than a phone call, and sometimes only accidentally click a banner ad. Yet, the industry is still largely supporting decisions to use these channels to sell products and services.

Startup companies that have never used traditional advertising channels don’t need to unlearn the past. Just like Millennials, these firms were born digital. They have been brought up in the digital and social age, and are quick to not only learn how to leverage ‘new media’, but are willing to invent the next great way to use it.

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