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Monzo competitor Starling looks to TV and OOH for future growth

13 Nov 2019  |  Michaela Jefferson 
Monzo competitor Starling looks to TV and OOH for future growth

Mobile-only bank Starling – a competitor to the likes of Monzo and Revolut – is looking to grow its market share by steering focus towards brand equity rather than performance marketing, following the “massive” success of its recent TV and outdoor campaign.

“We’re one of the best kept secrets in banking, but we’ve decided we need to change that now,” said chief growth officer Rachael Pollard at MAD//Fest London this week.

“For me, the way that we grow and actually get real solid market share and stability is by building a brand. So a lot of the above the line stuff…That’s our big focus. And harvesting through all of our digital performance channels.”

Pollard - who joined Starling in July with 20 years’ experience in senior performance marketing roles at brands including Just Eat and – oversaw the launch of the bank’s first TV advertising campaign last month.

“It’s really the first time we’ve gone to market with something bigger and bolder that’s not purely performance channels, and gone: ‘this is who we are and we really want to own this space’.”

‘Feel Good About Money’ launched across Channel 4 and ITV and focused on Starling’s promise to help people to feel in control of their finances. The campaign also ran across outdoor, radio and online.

The results were “really promising”, Pollard said. Prior to the campaign’s launch, the bank had already seen a 175% year-on-year growth in terms of accounts; since then, Starling has seen a “huge increase and good acceleration” in that growth and has just passed one million accounts.

“So we’re going to see more of that [advertising] going into next year,” Pollard said.

In the meantime, Starling is conducting customer research to find out what people want from their banks – and in what may have been a thinly veiled dig at “frenemies” Monzo, Pollard said that “unsurprisingly, people don’t want their bank to be cool and trendy.”

“They’re happy to use a cool bank when it comes to TfL, or for fun money, but not when it comes to the meat and potatoes," she said.

Instead, Starling is focused on giving people “what they expect”, which includes convenience, control, fair pricing with no surprises, and free business banking.

Monzo also launched its first TV advertising campaign earlier this year, with head of marketing Tristan Thomas declaring that the bank had been “too obstinate” in its advertising approach in the past.

The digital bank said the campaign had helped it add 200,000 new users each month, but that Facebook was still the advertising channel delivering the best results for the cost.

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MatthewGeddes, Comms, MediaCom on 13 Nov 2019
“would have loved to have gone to this to ask her 'outside of london, who actually cares?'
Considering that they're the 'best kept secret' (read: not leader in their sub-category), now they've gone to TV have they got any proof that anyone cares? We tracked Monzo and it saw 15% increased brand awareness scores which is so high until you consider that it's under 20% awareness.

I've heard the talk was about how they are a disruptor in the category but again, outside our little world in London - are they actually? Visit Shrewsbury and tell me who knows what a Monzo or a Starling is?
I'll agree they've disrupted the industry if main HSBs have adopted the capabilities of the Fintechs off the back of them existing and subsequently advertising spend has been dedicated to it, otherwise i would argue they haven't disrupted anything (but they have done well in a mobile first world).”


08 Jul 2020 

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