OnDeck launches biggest Australian fintech marketing push

By David Tuckwell on Wednesday 31 May 2017

Alternative Lending

It's about time fintech has an ambitious marketing drive

An inside look at OnDeck Australia's marketing campaign.

In fintech, marketing campaigns are rare as hens' teeth. They can’t afford it, don’t see the value in it, or don’t know how. Whatever the reasons, fintech as an industry does little advertising.

But OnDeck Australia has made itself the exception.

“It’s an interesting question: why don’t most fintechs advertise?,” said Oliver Wade, head of marketing at OnDeck Australia, in conversation with AltFi.

“The single biggest challenge that fintech companies face is awareness.

“When your industry is running at awareness levels of 15-20 percent, as alternative finance is, it means that 80 percent of your target market don’t even know the category - let alone your brand.”

This autumn, OnDeck Australia has kicked off a major marketing offensive, targeting small business owners in metropolitan Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

The campaign - the most ambitious Australian fintech marketing campaign to date - is using outdoor media, radio and digital, to try and bolster OnDecks’ brand recognition across state capitals. The company has mapped out the CBD areas, honing in on its target market. It has done focus group research to polish its message.

“The research called out a couple of things - we needed to be clear that we weren’t a bank. We’re a specialist business lender and the advertising should call that out,” Mr Wade said.

“We only do small business loans - no consumer, no corporate, no other types of products or payment offerings.” The research also highlighted the importance of its partnership with MYOB, an online accounting software firm. 

For many would-be borrowers, OnDeck’s research found, online lenders lacked credibility. So having an association with an established brand like MYOB was helpful.

Titled ‘Turn that No around’, the campaign is targeting business that have been rejected by their banks. The messaging is deliberately positive and a play on words with OnDeck’s company name.

“We know that entrepreneurs tend to be people that have heard ‘no’ a lot in their lives. So it’s appealing to that experience, with a positive brand message.” Mr Wade said.

Running an ambitious advertising campaign carries high cost and comes with risk — Mr Wade is very aware. But, he believes, given the looming market consolidation in fintech and the rewards marketing can deliver, the campaign will be worth the cost.

“We’re going to see consolidation in this market. It’s inevitable. There is not room for so many players. Look at phones, supermarkets and health funds it comes down to three or four major ones and then that tends to be it.”

“We can learn from OnDeck in the US so it helps us and gives us a level of comfort knowing that they’re doing it and are supporting us here.

“By spending money to build a direct business we’re trying to ensure our future because we want to be the online lender of choice to Australian small businesses.”

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