Corporate card and financial product startup Brex is best known as an enabling platform for businesses, with a focus on startups. The three-year-old company, which is reportedly valued at $2.6 billion, initially spread the word about its offerings through word-of-mouth referrals.
But that’s quickly changing. As it grows its customer base, Brex is taking a mass market approach to marketing reminiscent of direct-to-consumer startups like SoFi, TransferWise and N26. Since April, it’s been running a biweekly a podcast called Brex in the Black. It’s opened a lounge co-working space for customers in the Bay Area, and last year, it reportedly spent $300,000 on a set of billboard ads in San Francisco, a campaign that’s since expanded to Boston and New York.
In an interview with Bank Innovation, Elenitsa Staykova, Brex’s vice president of marketing, said billboard ads, podcasts and events complement digital marketing efforts and help maximize reach for the young company.
“We’re a new company on the market and we don’t have brand awareness yet,” she said. “The goal [of the strategy] is to create conversations and reach people throughout the day in different channels, whether that’s online or offline.”
Staykova, who is Brex’s first-ever vice president of marketing, joined the company in February and manages a team of 18 marketers. She wouldn’t comment on the size of Brex’s marketing budget, but said half of the company’s marketing budget is dedicated to brand advertising, both online and offline, as well as events and other field marketing efforts.
Among fintech startups, Brex isn’t the only enabling platform that’s taking steps to promote itself to a wider audience. For example, card issuing and processing startup Marqeta recently hired a chief marketing officer and is throwing its weight behind traditional marketing plays, including billboard ads.