FSI Member Spotlight, Episode #7: Fintech Trends and the Importance of Content
In this FSI Spotlight interview, Praxent’s Senior Director of Innovation, Lance Vaughn, meets with Vice President of Finovate, Greg Palmer. Finovate is the premier financial services and fintech event series, known for showcasing the biggest and most innovative ideas in banking and financial technology. When Greg’s not hosting these showcases, you’ll find him hosting Finovate Podcast, demo coaching, contributing to Fintech Futures, and serving as Director of Fintech Strategy at Informa Connect.
Greg has served a variety of roles with Finovate over his more than a decade-long tenure, giving him the long view of fintech trends that have come and gone over the years. One aspect of Finovate that really sets the fintech showcase apart is its format: seasoned leaders and young emerging companies alike are given just 7 minutes to demo their innovations for industry insiders, analysts, venture capitalists, and the press — no Powerpoints here. Greg brings plenty of value to the companies who demo their innovations on the Finovate stage by coaching each speaker to support them in making maximum impact with their 7 minutes onstage. Greg reflects that some of the biggest trends he’s seen emerge are driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finovate, for one, has pivoted to remote showcases, offering demonstrators 10 minutes and a bit more of an interview format to help translate the tech demo to a virtual stage.
In terms of broader industry trends, Greg remarks that the pandemic has had a positive influence by pushing the banking industry to jump forward with much-needed digital solutions. In turn, the fintech ecosystem has also had to rapidly respond, leading to what he’s witnessed as a rift growing between the fintech companies who were already prepared to enable a fully digital financial services industry — and those who simply were not prepared, or who’s solutions took the backburner to more pressing needs this year. Specific tech trends Greg’s seen movement in include customer onboarding, customer care, and core banking solutions. With the implementations of these digital solutions has come a fourth, crucial trend — security. Anytime customer behavior leaps forward — in this case, moving more transactions than ever online — bad actors also ramp up their efforts, making security top of mind when it comes to deploying innovative solutions in finance.
Greg admits that when he began at Finovate, he sometimes felt intimidated by the seemingly foreign language he was being exposed to during financial technology demos. His goal gradually evolved from simply not wanting to be exposed as a fintech ‘outsider,’ to realizing that he does have a valuable, insider role in fintech. That role is to enable the fintech industry to translate their language into a language others can understand. Without this ability to translate, fintechs may be at a loss as to how to effectively communicate their goals to bankers, widening the gulf between incumbents and emerging players in the financial services. Demos, then, provide the much-needed push to get out of the fintech jargon rut — and into a space of improved communication and common goals between incumbents and innovators alike.
Speaking of communication, Lance and Greg touch on the importance of content, particularly in replicating live, physical events virtually in light of the past year we’ve had. While there will always be a strong subset of users who prefer blogs and the written media in general, Greg mentions that the Finovate Podcast is still growing in popularity. Looking to 2021, his emphasis is on experimenting with increasing authentic touch points across multiple forms of media, while collecting data to help prioritize what form of communication the audience prefers. Now is the time to question “can we do things we’ve never done before?” Greg encourages others in the financial services and fintech space to continue experimenting, hybridizing, and yes, innovating their content production in ways that add value by fostering human connection. Solid advice, as far as we’re concerned.
- Fintechs can have a tough time validating themselves to external groups due to their tech-heavy prowess. Communicating with plain English — “We can improve your bottom line,” “We help reduce inefficiencies” — allows common goals to shine through and narrows the gap between incumbents and fintechs.
- Four major digital trends have emerged on the Finovate demo stage in 2020 due to COVID-19: customer onboarding, customer care, core banking, and security solutions. Greg highlights security as the crucial, common denominator needed for any of these to truly solve the problems of our time.
- Now is the time to ask questions, experiment, diversify, hybridize, and innovate the content your financial services/fintech company puts out. Don’t be afraid to do things you’ve never done before. Remember that data is your friend — use it to prioritize your audience’s communication preferences and to help foster meaningful connections with your content.
FSI is an exclusive community for financial services executives and digital product leaders who are looking to deepen their understanding of relevant innovation and emerging trends. What you can expect to get as a member of FSI:
- Access to conversations and discussions with your peers.
- Exclusive content focused on helping grow your business.
- A forum to ask questions, share experiences, and learn from some of the top leaders in this field.
This group is not for promotion, and content of an overtly promotional nature will not be allowed. The community is professionally moderated.
Share your experience and find solutions for the greater good. Invite your friends & colleagues!