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Peer2Peer Finance News | September 18, 2019

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Funding Circle kicks off £12m marketing drive to become first choice for SMEs

Funding Circle kicks off £12m marketing drive to become first choice for SMEs
Suzie Neuwirth

FUNDING Circle is planning to spend £12m on marketing across large media channels and through more specialist avenues, to become “the first choice for business borrowers and investors globally”.

The six-month advertising drive kicked off on Tuesday with the debut of one of its two new television adverts, during the premiere of Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off.

The peer-to-peer business lender’s ‘Made to Do More’ campaign – which coincides with a company re-brand – will run until March 2018.

One of the two TV adverts features a woman drumming and the other one films a man skipping, both ramping up their pace as they progress.

“I think the ads capture the spirit of the business owner in metaphorical ways,” said chief marketing officer Darryl Bowman. “It we want to be the first choice for business borrowers and investors globally, we need to be a bit braver and stand out, to separate us even further from the pack.”

Read more: Funding Circle scraps manual lending and re-jigs rates

Bowman told Peer2Peer Finance News that both borrowers and investors will be targeted during the advertising drive, although the former is currently the focus.

“These TV adverts had one key audience and one key message,” Bowman said.

“We’re focusing much more heavily on attracting borrowers at the moment, although we have to balance the two [groups].”

Bowman said that Funding Circle would be investing in TV, radio and “out of home” advertising such as billboards on the sides of roads or on the tube, as well as exploring opportunities within small business-focused outlets or partnerships that could provide more “laser-guided” marketing to its target audience.

Read more: Aegon signs deal to back Funding Circle loans

“Advertising on large media channels is expensive but it provides rocket fuel in getting your message across and allows you to grow a brand quickly,” he said.

“However, it’s less targeted so we’ll also be looking at more laser-guided ways to reach our key audience, such as partnerships in areas where small businesses exist.

“We’re trying to hit small business owners wherever they may be.”

Read more: Funding Circle receives ISA manager status

The Great British Bake Off is not business-focused – so what prompted the decision to kick off the advertising campaign during that show?

Bowman said that while Funding Circle’s core media plan is aimed at borrowers, it has flexibility if a good opportunity comes up.

“Channel 4 was part of our plans anyway and the Great British Bake Off is a heavily-talked about show with a large audience,” he said.

“Channel 4 is the TV channel where we’re most likely to reach small business owners. Its demographic – like small business owners – tends to be a little older.”

Funding Circle has spent a year and a half working on the campaign, working with branding agency Rooster Punk and ad agency Lucky Generals.

In January, the firm completed a £82m equity fundraising round to expand the business.