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Cowrywise splurges millions on billboard ads to win market share 

 One of Nigeria’s savings and investment companies, Cowrywise, is banking on many billboard ads to attract more customers as the competition in the fintech landscape gets stiffer. 

In an unusual marketing strategy for a Nigerian fintech, the company’s giant billboards now adorn strategic places in Lagos. Apparently to generate curiosity, especially, for those who do not know about the brand, the company only displays its URL on the billboards. 

While this has raised debates on social media platforms, especially on X formerly known as Twitter, marketing experts said the aim is to drive traffic to the company’s website and win new customers.  

Cowrywise last raised funds in January 2021 when it secured $3 million in a pre-Series A round led by Quona Capital. At that time, the company said the funding would enable it to “expand our product offerings, build out our nascent investment management infrastructure, onboard more fund managers in Nigeria, broaden our financial education program, and continue to hire top talent.”  

The company added that it had 220,000 registered users as of 2021 and aimed to have 10 million registered users by 2025. 

While the recent aggressive marketing push could suggest that the company may have secured fresh funding, planning or just positioning itself to win more share of the market, the company’s CEO, Razak Ahmed is not willing to speak about it. Ahmed did not respond to multiple requests for comments on the matter.  

However, the company’s Brand Designer, Obasola Akintola, in a blog post suggested that the billboards were aimed at driving traffic to the Cowrywise website.  

Witnessing the final product generate significant website traffic and app downloads was an incredibly rewarding experience. The second idea had us weak in the knees. We needed a simple copy and had the most difficult time settling for any of the ideas we came up with. It took 6 adults almost 4 weeks to finally agree on one idea.  

Beyond the motive of Cowrywise to spend millions of naira on outdoor ads, marketing experts have been expressing different opinions on the company’s decision to plaster only its URL on the big boards without any call to action (CTA). 

However, speaking with Naijaonpoint on the matter, the Founder and CEO of SalesUltimo, a digital marketing company, Mr. Muritala Bello, said the company might just want to create awareness about its brand, hence the URL billboards. According to him, such ad, while it is mostly suitable for established brands, would help Cowrywise gain brand visibility and drive traffic to its website. 

He, however, noted that the company may also have a different target for spending so much on billboard ads.  

Brand and Marketing Strategist, Mr. Emmanuel Dennis, said the Cowrywise billboard ad speaks to the brand’s desire to spark people’s interest in its business.  

Cowrywise’s aggressive strategy to win the market may be different but not new in the Nigerian fintech space, where fintech startups had in the past adopted more audacious strategies to draw attention. Not too long ago, fintechs like Paystack, Quidax, Piggyvest, Flutterwave, and most recently, Moniepoint, had been the headline sponsors of the Multichoice Reality TV Show, Big Brother Naija, where they spent billions of Naira to grace the screens of Nigerians watching the show for three months. In 2023 MoniePoint was the headline sponsor for season 8 of the show. 

Like Cowrywiselike’s current campaign, Piggyvest had also leveraged billboard ads to market its brand. However, the impacts of these marketing spending sprees on the fintechs are still debatable.  

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