Over the past year it has become obvious to me that Chase Bank is extremely serious about growing its consumer customer base via its checking accounts.
I know this for two reasons:
- At least monthly a small, blue and white self-mailer arrives in my mailbox bearing a cash bonus offer on the front in big, bold numbers.
If you’re a salesman, marketer, copywriter or designer, you hate the asterisk. Consumers hate asterisks, too. So why do we see them so often in financial institution sales materials, marketing campaigns and print ads?
You know what an asterisk says, right? To consumers it means, “This sounds good to you, but we’re lying about it.”
What is the purpose of a tagline or slogan? The purpose of your tagline is to help position your brand name into the consumers’ minds. In developing a tagline, you have several options. Your tagline should serve one or more of the following purposes:
1. Help your bank or credit union establish a leadership position.
2. Provide a heritage positioning for your institution (e.g. Since 1877)
3. Explain to the consumer exactly what your bank or credit union will do for them.
4. Deliver a value or quality message.
5. Inspire your customers and employees.
6. Identify your target audience.
7. Differentiate your bank or credit union from your competitors
An obituary is the very last place you’d expect to discover marketing advice but this is exactly what happened to me while reading last Sunday’s edition of my local newspaper, The Sacramento Bee.
I was especially pleased to see this particular gem which surfaced in the eighth paragraph of a fourteen paragraph memory of the deceased. I’ve made reference to this bit of sage advice many, many times over the years – most recently in earlier blogs and the monthly newsletter.
An old adage says if you try to make something foolproof some fool will come along and prove you wrong.
That seems to be the way with identity protection technology. Except, it’s not fools who are circumventing the foolproof technology to steal personal information.
In the past weeks here in Lincoln, we’ve read and heard news reports about local consumers’ credit and debit card numbers that have been used to make illegal purchases worldwide. The breach was finally tracked down to a couple of golf courses and a restaurant, but the investigation is ongoing and reports of illegal charges are still coming in to police. Local news reports mention other recent credit card crimes in scattered areas like Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Glance at Bank of America’s homepage here, making sure to scroll down to the bottom, and then take a brief look at the Ally Bank homepage here. Okay – which of these two homepages do you find most pleasing to your eyes, relaxing, and inviting to read?
Now jump over to the ING Bank website homepage here and compare it to the BofA site.
It looks like some advertisers and their agencies are too clever for their own purposes. That seems to be one message from a recent poll that shows consumers across all age groups are sometimes confused by commercial advertising.
If your audience doesn’t get the point of your ad, you’re wasting your time and money.
Take a look at these ten headlines found on print ads during the past several months and see if you can determine what product the advertisers are attempting to sell.
- Whether you think it’s different or expected, you’re right.
- Well made is forever made
- There is the curve and there’s ahead of the curve
- Enough said
- The best or nothing. This is what drives us.
- Pound your fist here
- The definition of luxury has been updated
- We approach peace of mind from every point of view. Especially above.
- The result of trusting our counter intuition
- You say obsessive like it’s a bad thing.
I’ve mentioned the idea of special mailings and promotions that focus on an individual branch, but I’ve never written a full post about the topic. So today, let’s consider what you should do to promote a new branch…a grand opening strategy.
You might think that’s a crazy topic. With the economy, many financial institutions are still hunkered down. Meager dollars for advertising. Meager dollars for expansion.
He selected his new branch locations by identifying existing bank branches with the most deposits. His strategy was opening a branch nearby and stealing the customers using longer hours and superb service.
While other banks stuck with “bankers’ hours” and weekdays, his branches were open longer hours during the week and on weekends.
Yesterday, after reading this bank’s website sales copy on overdraft protection options, I realized that up to this point I was so busy looking at trees that I had missed seeing the forest.
In all my research, to date, on overdraft protection programs I was seeing the options as being mutually exclusive. You either are covered by a courtesy pay program or one of its clones or you are protected via linking a savings account, credit card, or unsecured line of credit to your checking account.
I was shocked to learn that the marketing folks at mega-bank Chase didn’t have a contingency plan should their online banking channel go out of service for two, very long days.
I discovered this catastrophe – yes, a catastrophe for many online customers – in an article in today’s issue of The Sacramento Bee. Appearing in the business section, the article is titled “Online glitch blocks Chase bank clients.” You can read the entire article here.
Affecting 16.5 million of the bank’s online banking customers, the problems began around 8:00 p.m. Monday evening and persisted through Wednesday. Not being a Chase online banking customer, I was unable to verify if customers are still experiencing problems this morning.
Waiting for the economy to “recover” is futile as the word recover suggests it’ll be business as usual in consumer banking at some point in the future.
Instead of a recovery, we are experiencing a slow, painful restructuring of our economy – including the retail banking system.
Right now, we are in the middle of a perfect storm caused by a number of factors hitting at the same time. Here’s a partial list: Read more…
Today’s interest rates on savings are so low they are embarrassing.
As a consequence, the once ubiquitous CD rate ad is missing in action these days. It’s been quite some time since I’ve encountered a CD rate ad in my local newspaper. Fortunately, late last week a friend sent me a bank ad from his local newspaper promoting a bump-up certificate of deposit.
Eyeing the rate, it’s no mystery why banks and credit unions have stopped wasting valuable marketing dollars promoting CDs.
Apparently, banks haven’t heard the last from the federal government when it comes to their overdraft protection practices and fees. Now, the folks at the FDIC have come up with some overdraft protection guidelines of their own for the approximately 5,000 community banks falling under its jurisdiction. Once the proposed rules become effective, banks and consumers will under go a second round of changes in existing ODP coverage, processing, and fees.
These new, proposed rules which were announced the week of August 10 are currently out for public comment which is due by September 27. Since the new FDIC rules have gotten so little publicity – unlike that surrounding the Fed’s Reg E changes – it makes me wonder just how much feedback the FDIC folks will receive.
When you get a spare few minutes, take the time to visit your bank or credit union website. Chances are, upon landing on the homepage you are facing a vast array of graphics, video, copy, links, and anything else that your web designer could fit on the page.
The amount of visual stimuli is overwhelming.
As consumers, we have no problem wandering into a local retail store to have a look around. And when a new store is opened, lots of folks are anxious to do a walk-through to see what’s available. Yet these same curious consumers are very reluctant to walk into a local bank or credit union branch unless they have a specific need.
Most of us feel very uncomfortable walking into a branch without having a good reason for doing so. And we are very reluctant to simply wander into a branch where we don’t have an account. It’s as if we can feel all those eyes staring at us – wondering what we’re doing there.
It arrived over a week ago but it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally opened the envelope from GEICO. It was the sole survivor of a week’s worth of mail – the majority of which got discarded without being opened.
Why did I save the GEICO package?
How consumer-friendly is your financial institution’s website? What sort of rating would visitors, especially your customers and prospects, give it?
I’ve seen bank and credit union websites greatly improve since financial institutions gingerly stepped onto the information superhighway. (When was the last time you heard that once-popular phrase?) Some sites still need improvement.
The website function I intend to address today is speed. I saw a brief article describe consumer opinions about websites in general and I want you to be aware of the findings so you can inspect your own site and improve it, if necessary.
When I read a report about a new ad campaign idea from Blockbuster, I thought it made a good example for financial services marketers.
You probably know, Blockbuster, the movie and game rental company, is having financial problems and may declare bankruptcy by the end of this month. Now, Blockbuster has discovered a great point of differentiation that separates it from its rivals Netflix and Redbox. Problem is, where will the money come from to advertise that advantage? That’s the Catch-22.
To quickly summarize, Blockbuster can stock new releases from three major movie production companies 28 days before its competitors. Advertisers call this USP, or a Unique Selling Proposition. Consumers who want to see the latest releases as quickly as possible should drive to a Blockbuster store or have a mail account.