stripe-logoStripe, the online payments company founded in 2010, has taken the payments world by storm. It’s tempting to assume that this is the result of huge leap forward in payment processing technology or some other unattainable innovation. However, the approach taken by Stripe to go from seed funding to $3bn valuation in 5 years contains lessons for all marketers. Whilst so much of modern marketing is beset by complexity and new tools to use, there is value to going back to basics and ensuring you are laying the necessary groundwork to maximise growth.

Market Identification and Product Fit

Stripe sets its stall out as “a developer-friendly way to accept payments online and in mobile apps” and markets itself accordingly. They’ve spent time working out what’s important to their customer base and built the precise feature set required to delight them. Want to save card details? No problem, and you won’t have pay extra either. Want to interact with the API in Python instead of Ruby? Not an issue. Whilst other payment companies have complex product offerings and complex pricing to match, Stripe has identified what its customers want to build and ensured that these features are found within their core products. Even the newer Connect product, aimed at customers building marketplaces and platforms, has the feel of an easy to use product, despite the inherent complexity of payments to platform users.

The lesson here is to know what’s important to your customers, tell them you can do it, and make it work!

Smart Distribution

The best way to show a customer that your product solves their problem is to let them use it immediately. Stripe does this by giving you full access to their dashboard and the ability to take payments immediately with the minimum of interference. If they need more information from you, they get in touch after you’ve integrated the product and started using it, thereby reducing the risk that you’ll leave for a competitor. Simplify your processes to let customers use your service and you could find they need far less convincing that you are the partner to solve their problem.

Nurture Your Community

Ask your developer to name a payments company and there’s a strong chance they’ll say “Stripe”. There are good reasons for this. They’ve been front and centre in the tech press from their inception due to their Y-combinator roots, high valuation and rapid growth. They’ve also allowed developers to be part of Stripe by creating API libraries and plugins which further enhance the Stripe experience. On top of this, they have transparent pricing and highly rated customer service. The lesson here is clear: If you encourage your customers to feel that they are part of something, they will help in unexpected ways and advocate for you to the detriment of your competition.