COVID-19 changed many aspects of life as we knew it, but perhaps nowhere has the shift been more significant than at work. A global pandemic that abruptly upends day-to-day life has a way of making people think critically about what makes them truly happy and fulfilled. For many people, the conclusion was that their existing jobs weren’t cutting it. The resulting “Great Resignation” has caused an unprecedented migration of talent across industries. The fintech marketing and PR agency space is no exception, so in 2022, the interview process has become as much about firms like ours trying to sell themselves to the recruit as vice versa.
At Forefront, our business has grown substantially over the past few years, with our full-service offering appealing to a growing number of B2B fintechs who’ve taken budget for travel and client entertainment and reallocated it to brand, digital and content marketing projects. As a result, our team is growing quickly, and we’ve spent a lot of time recently interviewing candidates. The best ones have a lot of questions for us, with many of them asking about the following topics.
Fintech Marketing Career Development
Most people who work at a fintech marketing agency or PR firm are drawn to the way agency life is seemingly always presenting exciting new challenges. But that doesn’t mean that those of us who’ve worked in-house don’t miss that slower pace every now and again. In our opinion, the best agencies are clear-eyed about the agency vs in-house tradeoffs, knowing that some staff may choose to move to an in-house role at some point in their career.
Whatever path our people ultimately select, we try to provide a foundation they can carry with them throughout their careers.
In our view, that includes a core knowledge of the capital markets and a basic proficiency across all marketing and communications disciplines that would enable them to go on to become a fintech CMO should they choose.
Many of us at Forefront have spent considerable parts of our careers on both sides of the aisle, and we welcome the opportunity to talk candidly about the pros and cons of both and how we can help people reach their career goals, whatever they might be.
When we do have the conversation about agency vs in-house, one of the biggest benefits of small agencies that’s often discussed is the leeway they provide to be entrepreneurial. Several of our staff have done just that, thinking win/win and helping to establish the practice areas that have helped us grow and have allowed them to carve out roles for themselves that are rewarding and align with their long-term career goals.
We frequently encourage people to use Forefront’s size to their advantage, as we can make decisions quickly and take calculated risks larger firms often can’t or won’t.
Our podcast, various content series and move to become a Hubspot-certified agency were all spearheaded by employees who had a desire to develop a skill they didn’t have before, or take on further leadership roles within the firm. As the founders of a company, we have a special place in our hearts for go-getters and love talking to candidates who are curious about how we could help them on their journey.
It probably goes without saying that the obvious indicators – Glassdoor reviews, employee turnover stats and so on – should be checked, but we find many employee prospects digging deep into the question of culture. And for good reason: a bad one is utterly demoralizing.
Now that we’re (knock on wood) on the other side of the pandemic, we’re starting to interview in the office more regularly, which gives candidates the chance to see what life in the office (two days a week at Forefront) is like.
When in the office of a potential employer, it’s often easier to ask about or observe things like organizational philosophy (at Forefront everyone pitches in and no task is beneath anyone), work-life balance (we try really hard to stick to an 8:30-5:30 schedule), whether people yell or blow up (never!), how clients treat our team members (we’ve resigned multiple clients over the years for not treating our people with the proper respect), whether there are social outings for staff (monthly) and more.
We spend far too much of our lives at work to have it be somewhere that’s not a good cultural fit, and encourage everyone we speak with to think critically about this before deciding on a role.
Transparency into salary and benefits is becoming table stakes (especially in NYC), and we fully support this trend. We post details about our benefits package on our website and salary bands for each role are available on our intranet. But candidates are inquiring about more than that these days, and rightfully so.
We are regularly asked about how things like training, performance feedback and role expectations are communicated, and even whether information about the agency’s financial performance is shared.
At Forefront, we have a quarterly 360 review process, share the specific requirements for each role and provide the team full transparency into our quarterly revenues and costs. Twenty-five percent of our net profits are distributed to staff via a profit-sharing program, so the progress we’re making each quarter ensures that all of our interests are aligned. In our view, transparency enables employees to make fully informed decisions about whether the agency they are working for or considering is right for them.
Fintech Marketing Business Model
Finally, one of the biggest questions we are asked about is how teams are structured and what an individual’s day-to-day is like. As a full-service agency that handles everything from big fintech brand projects to monthly PR or content retainers, the daily tasks our practice areas are faced with can vary greatly. At the entry level, we use the first year to give Associates experience in all three, after which we have a good sense of where their strengths and interests lie and can develop a career track that moves them into a specialist or generalist role.
Depending on what choice is made, staff may gravitate toward the discrete rebrand projects we’re increasingly handling or move into account management or execution roles for our retainer clients. Whatever the choice, we try hard to ensure that people aren’t stretched too thin, which means we staff accounts with enough bandwidth to ensure that people can develop their skills, learn from other teammates and be covered during times of illness or vacation.
If you’d like to learn more about our model, culture or open roles, feel free to drop us a line. We’ve spent our careers working in this industry, so even if it’s just a chance to meet a fellow fintech marketer or communicator, we’d love to chat.