In a normal environment, the consumer checking account is a very simple product. It’s a basic bank account you open to hold your money until you need it. As you need it you access your money one of several ways.
Opening a checking account is easy as there is only one type of checking account available. In the early days, the biggest decision was the choice of check designs.
Benefits. Advantages. They make strong selling points when you’re promoting your financial institution’s products and services.
But when you go about your daily routine, you often forget the information you take for granted is new or unusual to your customers or members or prospects.
That’s why a little explanation about one of the current hot products could make that product more popular and help your bank or credit union open more accounts.
I really feel sorry for the Free Checking account these days.
And I feel sorry for “free checking” accounts these days.
Where once it was the toast of the town, it has become the ugly duckling of the checking account family.
During the 1980s and most of the 1990s, many banks and credit unions named their free checking accounts Totally Free Checking or Free Checking.
Do you wish your customers a happy birthday? It’s a chance to make a cross-sell offer and to strengthen the banking relationship with your bank customers or credit union members.
Obviously, your message shouldn’t be, “It’s your birthday, so open a new account.” No one appreciates such a blatant tactic.
So what should you do?
Forget near zero interest rates and the damage they are inflicting upon savers.
Forget the battle over Free Checking and whether or not it is a profitable account.
The weekly update of branch closures has disappeared.
Yes, Dodd-Frank continues looming large in the background. Its implementation is like death by a thousand cuts.
Are pocket branches a big part of banking’s future?
I’m not referring to the cell phones your customers carry in their pockets and use for mobile banking. I’m talking about size. And as the old saying goes, size matters.
So what does “pocket” mean for banking?
I’m going to give you readers a break today by not ranting on and on about the second housing bubble inflating before our very eyes.
But don’t worry, I’ll return to it soon.
In the meantime, my spouse received a piece of marketing mail the other day that immediately caught my attention in a negative way.
Of course, the copywriter for this mailing is probably cheering that his trick worked on me – and undoubtedly lots of other members of the target audience.
I’m still trying to figure out what this email’s marketing message is about. Can you tell what it means?
One day, this message appeared in my email inbox. The subject line read, “Save time by using the PMD.” No idea what PMD meant. I assumed it was another marketing white paper offer. But here’s what I saw…
The body of the email from PMD.
Is there a new housing bubble or not?
Since last Thursday’s blog about the current state of the housing market, two front page stories appeared in the local Sacramento papers.
The messages couldn’t be different.
Needless to say I felt a bit vindicated upon seeing this giant cover story in a local Sacramento newspaper. Read more…
Sometimes I shake my head when I hear comments from people who call themselves marketers.
The statement below was in an email and forwarded to me. An individual at a bank, whose title is VP of Marketing, wrote the original message. It refers to a marketing promotion created for the bank.
“I would say let’s get rid of Free almost everywhere — seems kinda ‘slimy.’”
Is it possible that in today’s economy, banks and credit unions are making a trade-off between branches and the rates of interest paid on deposit products?
It’s possible but not conclusive.
I do believe that one of the ways today’s financial institutions are supporting their expensive branches is by minimizing the amount of money paid savers at all levels from the basic regular savings account to the high-balance Certificates of Deposit.
After I opened the envelope package, it was like the way you feel when you get underwear as a Christmas gift.
That blah feeling. You should feel happy, but you’re simply let down.
Out of my mailbox came a bulky envelope package. Certainly, I was excited to see what was inside.
How do we know when the housing market has recovered?
Today’s blog was originally going to be about a Virginia bank that recently brought back Free Checking. I enjoy writing about Free Checking as I continue to believe it remains consumers’ #1 choice for checking.
But I changed my mind Tuesday upon the release of February housing data from the S&P/Case Shiller composite index.
It’s been a standard rule of marketing for generations. I’ve made references to The Rule many times in my blog posts and when talking with clients. But is it time to revise The Rule, at least for financial services marketing?
I’m talking about the 40-40-20 Rule. You should know it well. It says every direct mail marketing promotion consists of… Read more…
Seeing the latest mortgage rate ad from a local credit union in Sunday’s paper made me chuckle.
While the featured rate and basic ad layout were familiar, it was the presentation of the rate that caught my eye and reminded me about the ongoing efforts to create a new housing bubble.
I guess the creative team responsible for this ad thought that if you can’t lower the mortgage rate, you can make it larger in an attempt to grab more attention.
Be careful what you say. Some people are paying attention.
As you know from reading my blog posts, I encourage financial services marketers to focus on the benefits a customer or prospect gains by doing business with your bank or credit union.
For instance, point out your free services. When you don’t say something is free it gives many prospects the impression it’s not. Besides, “free” is a key word for marketing.
There are two marketing words that are among my favorites.
They are “new” and “improved.”
Many packaged goods marketers go so far as to use both words on their product packaging when appropriate. Laundry detergents immediately come to mind.
Two days ago another checking account offer arrived from Chase Bank.
You probably don’t remember the old Burma-Shave billboard campaigns. The signs were used — and were popular — along highways from the late 1920s until the long series ended in 1963.
The Burma-Shave technique was to place one “jingle” style message on a series of small signs. Here’s one…
One of the quickest ways to irritate your customers is to solicit them for an account or service they already have with your bank or credit union.
When this occurs, it sends a message that your bank or credit union (choose one or more):
- Is poorly managed
- Doesn’t have a reliable, up-to-date customer file or database
- Hires employees who don’t care
- Is more concerned about cutting costs than serving customers
- Is technologically behind the times
- Doesn’t care about its brand or has no branding initiative
- Never checks to see what the marketing department is mailing
- Has so few employees as customers that few actually know what marketing messages customers are receiving
How quickly can your financial institution’s marketing department react to a breaking event? Can you match the speed of JCPenny? I have some ideas to help you.
The JCP story is widely known. Sales were already declining when in November 2011, Ron Johnson was hired as CEO of the department store to turn things around. Johnson’s ideas included eliminating merchandise sales and coupons in favor of the same low prices every day and other sweeping changes.
Shoppers stayed away, more shoppers left, and in the fourth quarter of 2012, sales were 32% lower than the same quarter of the previous year.