How one brand is disrupting the finance industry

Finance start-up Azimo is hoping to take on the might of the banks as it looks to shake up the money transfer industry.

Azimo relaunched its Android and iOS mobile apps to make them more “sleek”, according to co-founder Marta Krupinska. “It definitely looks better than anything else that is out on the market now. Everything else looks very transactional and boring,” she told MW at an event in London last week to reveal its new look.

The app stores more than 200,000 payout locations and is available in 190 countries. It allows its global users to transfer money abroad and claims to offer a lower fee than traditional transfer options. Its users include migrants trying to send money back to their family and friends, while app features include biometric security and in-app chat so you can check whether your money has been received.

Appealing to millennials who “expect choice”, you are able to communicate the money you have sent through social networks or by “putting a flow of funds where the information already is”. This she said is where Azimo differs from others trying to disrupt the market, such as Transferwise.

“We can’t outspend them but we can out-think them”

Marta Krupinska, Azimo

Krupinska, a Polish expat, has been recognised by Forbes as one of Europe’s 30 under 30 for finance, she believes the industry is ripe for disruption, due to consumers now feeling that they “have a right to choice”.

“There has been no calling for innovation, especially in the finance world, but people have became more impatient,” she said.

“You can now use Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat, Whatsapp or Viber. You can choose to shop on House of Fraser or ASOS. And even though it is difficult to overcome a habit, especially in financial services, now is the time to do it.”

A “fantastic relationship” with tech giant Google has also helped the firm, said Krupinska. Using Google’s micro-moments, which analyse a selection of moments in mobile users lives, including ‘want-to-know’ moments and ‘want-to-go’ moments, it has been able to make its marketing more relevant to its audience. Azimo has found that 90% of transactions are still taking place offline and to have the edge over competitors it has used this data and provided users with global pick up points at local banks.

Krupinska hopes that performance marketing will provide Azimo with an edge over its competitors. “We can’t outspend them but we can out-think them, or the way our creative copywriter says, we can out-dance them,” she laughed.

Azimo has also launched free promotions in key places, as Krupinska sees word of mouth as much more affective than outdoor advertising or as she describes it, just having a “massive poster on Oxford Circus”.

The promotions allow users to transfer money for free over a certain time period and also include an “invite a friend option”, which provides both users with £10 credit if the friend signs up. The promotion was developed through analysis of data, transactional cost of acquisitioning of customers through different marketing channels and by looking at ways of gaining organic growth. It is also influenced by stepping away from the sector’s traditional methods of marketing and putting together a dynamic team of individuals to focus on the best in the market globally.

smaller Marta Krupinska, Co-Founder and GM at Azimo
Marta Krupinska, co-founder Azimo

“We are trying to look at it channel by channel. The first person we hired was a guy from Google. When you want to do CRM, our head of retention is a former Match.com employee, as we know CRM is done well by people who do online dating. If you really want to understand payments then you want to talk to people who come from a gambling background, because this is an industry where this strategy has been done,” said Krupinska.

It is this diversity in hiring that has led to Azimo testing different types of video ads. Taking an approach that aims to provide more authenticity, Azimo has tried to move away from traditional point of sale (Pos) advertising.

“We have a plethora of brands that think they get migrants but I think what they get is Pos and simple messages about ‘cheap and reliable’, but there is nothing there that is powerful enough for people to want to tell your story,” Krupinska stated.

The company’s online video looks at the difficulties of sending money abroad and how it can make users “feel like an ATM”, rather than showing users the “jolly” videos competitors are reportedly opting for. Krupinska believes this creates a more “authentic” user journey and is something being a start-up enabled.

Azimo will rely predominantly on “word of mouth” and authenticity to push its global reach. “If something is taking off it’s probably because people are talking about it. We’re much more about making fans than customers, especially in the ethnic marketing world,” Kuprinska said.

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