MarTech Interview with Nicky Senyard, CEO and founder

Can you tell us about your background and how you entered the field of the marketing industry?I learned about affiliate marketing in 1999, which was early into the Internet era. At the time, I was consulting for a business that used affiliate programs. I come from a marketing background, and I found affiliate marketing to be particularly appealing. I was used to working with journalists to amplify messages so working with publishers to achieve the same goal was a great fit for me. I also appreciated that affiliate marketing was a performance-based advertising model. As someone used to traditional advertising methods where you invest money and hope for results, the predictability of paying only for what you receive was attractive to me as a grassroots marketer.
What inspired you to start Fintel Connect? How has your background in PR and marketing influenced your approach to building Fintel Connect?Having exited our previous SaaS affiliate marketing solution company in 2016, I had exposure to the pains that financial institutions were facing in growing partnerships in a highly regulated industry. It was clear there was an opportunity to do things differently. Fintel Connect was born with the goal of better serving the specific needs of financial brands – and their partners.
Our first business had a strong client base and operated in an industry that was rapidly growing and evolving. I knew there was an opportunity to grow Fintel Connect within this unique space. My entrepreneurial spirit and industry expertise heavily influenced my decision to grow the company.
Can you discuss any specific challenges you faced when building and exiting your first SAS marketing tech company?Creating a SaaS product is a challenging undertaking that involved a steep learning curve for myself and the team. In the early stages, it was difficult to anticipate all of the technological scaling obstacles that may arise, as well as gauge the level of market readiness for the product. In our case, we were the only outsourced SaaS affiliate solution option available at the time, which generated fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the market. To overcome these challenges, we needed to acquire a diverse range of business skills and knowledge. Ultimately, we succeeded in making our business work, and exiting the venture was relatively straightforward, which is certainly a positive outcome.
What differentiates Fintel Connect from other affiliate marketing platforms?At Fintel Connect, we pride ourselves on being the leading affiliate marketing platform for the financial services sector. What sets us apart is our deep industry expertise and help financial institutions overcome the most challenging barriers to achieve growth and scale online. Our advanced technology platform is also a key differentiator. It leverages innovative analytics and reporting tools to provide real-time insights that allow clients to optimize their campaigns and maximize their ROI. This ensures that our clients get the most out of their affiliate marketing efforts and enables us to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-moving industry.
Finally, our commitment to exceptional customer service is another key differentiator. We believe in building long-term relationships with our clients, and our team goes beyond delivering a level of service that exceeds expectations. This dedication to excellence has helped us build a reputation as the go-to affiliate marketing platform for the financial services sector, and we are constantly striving to raise the bar even higher.
How has Fintel Connect helped financial companies improve their marketing strategies? Can you walk us through a recent successful campaign?Financial institutions are at various stages of their digital transformation, and their challenges differ accordingly. Fintech companies typically have limited resources and need to prove their models and scale, whereas traditional financial institutions may be new to digital transformation and are investing in technologies to improve customer experiences. Our approach is to provide them with the right tools for success, depending on their biggest needs or challenges, regardless of their stage.
Small business banking fintech is challenging traditional banks by providing a more nimble, efficient, and user-friendly banking experience – digital account opening, and real-time payment processing. For early-stage financial institutions, our focus has been on helping them gain internal buy-in, establishing proper controls and processes, helping them manage their compliance, and creating a foundation for long-term success.
We provide them with tools to accelerate digital and omnichannel solutions such as affiliate marketing to remain competitive amid rapidly changing customer needs and preferences. We have had several successful partnerships with some of our clients such as Ramp and Live Oak in the small, and medium businesses space, and we see significant growth opportunities there, particularly as our regional financial institution clients serve this area heavily. We work closely with our affiliate partners to provide more content that they can use to run campaigns.
How do you see the affiliate marketing industry evolving in the next few years? The affiliate marketing industry will continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. With the constant influx of data, affiliates can now target their audience more effectively. However, laws around privacy and marketing practices also continue to change, forcing affiliates to adapt accordingly. While the fundamental theory and process of affiliate marketing may remain the same, numerous influential factors such as legal regulations, technological advancements, and data availability will continue to shape the industry and will change the way we operate.
How do you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology? It’s always about having foresight but also understanding what’s going to make the most difference to our clients and our publishers. Just because something is hot and interesting doesn’t mean that it makes money for anybody and that not necessarily everyone will adopt it. We try to go from a problem-solving approach when we are working on technical development because we know if it’s a real problem and we can come up with a real solution, then it will make a real impact.
How do you ensure that Fintel Connect’s platform is user-friendly and accessible to clients with varying levels of technical expertise? We’ve ensured that our tool is extremely simple to use and sometimes simplicity is the most difficult thing to do when you’re dealing with complex pieces of data. Our platform is intuitive and easy to navigate for users with varying levels of technical expertise. We have a dedicated customer support team available to assist clients with technical issues or questions. Although intuitive, we also offer training sessions and tutorials to help clients understand how to use our platform.
How do you foster a positive company culture at Fintel Connect and what values are important to you as a leader?The value of the contribution is of utmost importance to me. I believe that when someone joins our team, it presents an opportunity for us to help them develop their skills, pursue their passions, and advance their careers. In return, we benefit from their valuable insights, intelligence, and effective problem-solving abilities.
So what advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses? Embarking on an entrepreneurial venture can be highly risky. It is crucial to assess your own risk tolerance and determine how you handle risky situations. Make sure you are prepared to commit to the long-term investment required to succeed. It’s important to keep in mind that things may not always go as planned, as I have experienced firsthand with my own endeavors.
Finally, can you discuss any upcoming initiatives or projects at Fintel Connect? Absolutely! We’re launching Fintel Check, a specialized marketing monitoring and compliance tool that automates content policing and campaign auditing for financial brands, agencies, and BaaS banks. It will help financial institutions identify content that needs correcting and will automate the capture of campaigns for auditing purposes.
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