Smart b2b fintech marketing starts with building detailed buyer personas and Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). Here’s how to stick the landing by actually activating upon this work.

On a planet filled with heightened uncertainty and mixed emotions, it’s more important than ever to deeply understand and empathize with your customers. The world has changed, and so have the minds and habits of your customers. Yet, there are common mistakes b2b fintech marketers make when it comes to communicating with their target audiences.

If you feel like you’ve been broadcasting your financial technology to everyone, but are questioning whether you’re reaching anyone, it’s time to harness the power of the ICP + Buyer Persona combo. Avoid these mistakes so that you can finally know exactly what to build, how to market it, and how to delight your biggest fans.

6 Mistakes B2B Marketers Make with their Fintech Buyer Personas and Ideal Customer Profiles

  1. Not distinguishing between your ICP and Buyer Persona
  2. Not aligning with Sales and Customer Success
  3. Forgetting to consider your current installed base
  4. Sticking to one ICP or buyer persona and ignoring the rest
  5. Avoiding taking action on the ICP and Buyer Persona write-ups
  6. Not using your ICP at the beginning of your sales cycle
  7. BONUS MISTAKE! Not confirming the correlation of impact

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MISTAKE 1: Not distinguishing between your ICP and buyer personas

Let’s start with clearly defining what these terms mean. In general, audience profiles are representations of your ideal customers based on data and research of your current customer base. They identify the goals and associated behaviors of your quintessential customer. Audience profiles typically contain demographic and psychographic information as well as situational analysis, such as a current challenge.

Now that you understand the foundational concept, let’s take it to the next level. If you really want to attract the best clients for your business, you need to create both an overarching ICP and unique buyer personas. Why? Because one speaks to the types of accounts you’re targeting and the other speaks to the types of roles you’re targeting.

SMART B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Build out both ICPs and buyer personas

Here’s a simple explanation of each:

  • ICPs define the companies you want totarget. They tend to be more high-level, detailing the ideal business type.
  • Buyer personas layout how to best communicate with the individual. They get down to the roles within the company at an almost fictional avatar level. (Pro Tip: Instead of creating personas based on just their role, dig into their day-to-day challenges, frustrations, what they’re on the hook for, etc.)

Defining both ICPs and buyer personas is smart marketing because while you may have a list of accounts to target, you need to make sure these businesses fit the criteria of prospects that will actually succeed in using your product or service.

And if content is king, then communication is queen. How you would speak with the founder of a fintech startup is not how you’d communicate with the marketing manager of an enterprise. Beyond being in different businesses, they also have very different priorities, challenges, fears, influence, authority, etc. That’s not to say one is a better contact than the other. Quite the opposite. It’s that they need to be spoken to in different ways.

You can learn more about personalizing your communication with your buyer personas in this article.

MISTAKE 2: Not aligning with Sales and Customer Success in the creation of ICPs and Personas

Sure, you can subscribe to all the top fintech podcasts to catch the latest trends, but that’s the “outside looking in” approach. You’re not going to understand the individual buyer of these technologies as much as those who interact with that role every day.

B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Sales, Marketing and Customer Success must be deeply connected

When the Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success Teams can align and more fully support and understand each other, a legitimate dream team can unfold. Yet, the tension between Sales and Marketing dates back decades. In its 2006 article, “Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing,” Harvard Business Review stated that, “each group undervalues the other’s contributions.” We never thought we’d cite something THAT old, but the point is that internal turmoil has been running rampant for far too long.

If you want to create the most in-depth and on-point buyer personas — that have your audience gasping, “Wow, they get me!” — you need to pull from the minds of Sales and Customers Success. Here’s how:

  • SALES: Interview several different people on your Sales Team to share valuable intel with you like what are their barriers to entry? What obstacles do they face when making decisions? What prevents them from moving forward?
  • CUSTOMER SUCCESS: Ask to sit in on customer calls (or even review chat downloads) so you can better understand your customers’ needs. At Envisionit, our Client Experience Managers (CEMs) are in lockstep with our clients, so they can ensure each account has the best experience with an agency they’ve ever had. This level of closeness CEMs have with clients allows other teams, like Sales and Marketing, to better understand what our audience needs, wants, and desires.

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MISTAKE 3: Forgetting to consider your current installed base

For some of you, mining your “installed base” for insights may be second nature. But for those that haven’t dug in here, understanding the measure of how many of your fintech products and services are currently in use is critically important. If you simply start listing out desired characteristics for your ideal buyer without considering who your best buyers are right now, you’re missing out on valuable in-house intel.

B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Consider who your BEST customers are, and what makes them so great

“Best” will need to be defined internally, but consider those clients who are thriving off of your solutions, and keep coming back for more.

While there are best practices in marketing to your installed base specifically, as outlined in this article from the Houston Chronicle, we’re actually talking about considering the qualities of your current customers when building out your personas to generate new business.

In reviewing that list of characteristics you created for your fintech product ICP and personas, how do your current best customers align with that list? Do you need to add or remove any characteristics?

To take it a step further, if your business strategy is shifting from targeting SMBs and VARs to focusing on enterprise prospects, your current installed base won’t align with your new audience selection at all.

This smart step in accounting for your current customers has the potential to get you genuinely excited about who you’re targeting and how to speak with them.

MISTAKE 4: Sticking to one ICP or buyer persona and ignoring the outliers 

As a marketer, you know it’s wise – if not imperative – to niche down as specifically as possible to who your ideal customers are (that ‘niche within a niche’ gold). However, as you’ll be proactively marketing to this ICP, that doesn’t mean you should reactively close the door to companies coming your way that doesn’t fit your ICP to a T.

B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Tier your fintech buyer personas and ICPs from highest to lowest potential

This is where you will need to do the upfront work of qualifying and prioritizing your ICP. Here’s how to keep it simple and effective:

  • Qualify only those personas who fit the criteria of potential customers
  • Disqualify those who don’t fit the criteria
  • Segment the qualified in three tiers from highest to lowest priority
  • Double down on your highest rated tier

It may sound simple, but if you skip this step you’ll be swimming in a sea of subpar leads, wasting your valuable time and energy. Ain’t no marketer got time for that.

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MISTAKE 5: Not taking action on your ICP and buyer persona write-ups 

Yes, interviewing Sales and Customer Success and then formally writing up your ICP and buyer persona characteristics is a major marketing accomplishment on its own. Round of applause for all marketers coming this far! Alas, it’s only the beginning of your fintech ICP journey. If you don’t take action and put those profiles to good use, what’s the point of even attempting this piece of the marketing strategy?

B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Intentionally use your ICPs and personas in your messaging strategy

It can be easy to check these profile creations off your to-do list and go back to posting fintech memes on your Instagram account. But you’re a smart fintech marketer, not a lazy one :)

You need to connect with your personas at each stage of the funnel. This upfront journey mapping lets you connect your customer personas to each touchpoint on their path to you. This helps you hit your ultimate objective of reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time.

We’re going to go deeper with this in part two of our fintech ICP series, but for now, know that you’ll need to activate your ICP messaging strategy at the top of the funnel. More on this in Mistake #6…

MISTAKE 6: Not using your ICP at the beginning of your sales cycle

At this point, you may be wondering, “When and where do I start taking action?” The answer: the very beginning of your sales cycle.

B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Start appropriately messaging to your defined audiences at the onset of your marketing efforts

We can’t stress enough how important it is to not only create your ICP but also start making it work for you at the very beginning of your sales cycle. If you wait too long, you will have wasted valuable time, resources, and dollars nurturing the wrong leads!

How do you know if they’re “wrong”? That goes back to your ICP write-up. The sooner you can start communicating with your ICP in a way that meets them where they are, the sooner you’ll start connecting to the RIGHT leads right away.

BONUS MISTAKE 7: Not confirming the correlation of impact

We couldn’t help ourselves not including this “icing on the cake” final step. This is like the ninja move of ICP creation. You need to define the correlation between your best clients and your buyer persona characteristics.

B2B FINTECH MARKETING: Identify your best customer KPIs

Let’s say there was a dating app that wanted to nail down the core common characteristics that had to be true for both individuals on the first date to determine whether they would get married. This hypothetical app tracked education, family, personal preferences, date feedback, etc., and ultimately discovered when both individuals attended undergraduate college in the same state, they were most likely to marry.

Naturally, the app algorithm then recommends to you more potential mates who attended college in the same state that you did. Where are we going with this? This can be a savvy fintech marketing strategy as well.

Looking at your current customer base, which common denominator do they possess? Did they attend the same fintech conference? Did they recently hire a new CTO? Did they download the same series of content from your resources page? When you identify your outliers, you need to prioritize them right away. Referring back to your installed base here is what matters most. From there, determine how you can collect these data points from your customers moving forward.

These ICP KPIs might not make sense to you right away but trust the data. Yoda probably said something along the lines of, “live inside you the answers they do.” We agree, and we also believe that the answers live inside the data, too.

If you’re digging this dip into not only the behaviors of your ideal customers but also their psychographics, you’re going to love part two of our fintech buyer persona series. In this upcoming article, you’ll get an inside look at our proprietary mindset marketing methodology, which is a technique for prioritizing your most profitable prospects. Stay tuned!


Your prospects and customers have no doubt evolved in their beliefs and behaviors over the past two years. Suzy Davidkhanian, Vertical Lead, and Principal Analyst at Insider Intelligence, said it best on the eMarketer podcast Beyond the Numbers:

“People have changed over the last year, and marketers who don’t take that change into consideration as they move forward into the new normal won’t be successful.”

Right now is truly the best time to not only understand your b2b fintech buyer personas and ICPs on an inmate level, but to also know what you’re going to do with that information, how you’re going to use it, and when you’re going to act on it.

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