Betterment has been a Mission North client for three years. Initially hired to transform the robo-advisor for millennials into a renowned consumer financial investment brand, Betterment’s foray into BtoB 401K plans and its banking launch have been two focal points for 2019 communication activities.
Betterment wasn’t the first digital investment no-fee platform to enter the banking space, which made drumming up news value a particularly interesting challenge. Mission North’s overall goal was also to help evolve Betterment’s brand from a “robo advisor” to a money management platform for every part of consumers’ financial lives. But in the meantime, the first project was to develop a strategy for a product launch for a new Checking product that featured the immediate availability of a cash savings solution and a waitlist for their checking functionality.
Betterment has always had a consumer-first ethos. They have advocated for industry change and been critical of legacy banking fees and customer service. Together, Betterment and Mission North run surveys throughout the year to gather insights that reinforce their position. In 2018 for example, Mission North constructed and executed on behalf of Betterment a large number of data-rich stories tied to news events including:
- The gig economy survey garnered over 20+ pieces of unique coverage including features in Washington Post, AARP, TIME, CNBC and Consumer Affairs.
- The 10 year anniversary of the financial crisis survey secured over 36+ pieces of unique coverage in the Money, Fortune, Washington Post, Axios, CNBC among others.
In preparation for the Checking launch, we laid the foundation during Q1 and Q2 of 2019. We landed the coverage of the research, as well as podcast interviews, and expert broadcast commentary moments around investments and relevant banking conversations, which included the government shutdown and tax season and the caveats behind certain high-interest accounts.) We reminded the market about Betterment clout with consumers and highlighted how Betterment prioritizes consumer needs around financial management.
We collaborated with Betterment to build messages around the checking launch to address issues that matter to consumers, such as: Betterment charges no fees on its checking account, reimburses transaction fees for all ATM withdrawals, and its dashboard offers transparency of a consumer’s financial assets, including outside investments in non-Betterment banking or 401ks or IRAs. The messages reinforced Betterment’s approach to providing products that empower consumers to save more by having the full view of their finances.
A morning exclusive with the WSJ kicked off the announcement day, with 40 feature articles that followed, including Barron’s, The Economist, CNBC, Bloomberg, and others. Mission North also secured two broadcast opportunities with Cheddar TV and Fortune’s Balancing the Ledger featuring CEO Jon Stein discussing the launch.
The waitlist announcement met its goals by 11 AM EST on announcement day, surpassing goals set by the marketing team. This was strong proof of the value of earned media to drive customer pipeline growth for an important addition to Betterment’s business.