After I wrote my description of ambient advertising on Wednesday, I thought there are a couple of other phrases I should explain. Not everyone is aware of them. They’re used to describe a method of audience reach.
The phrases are “spray and pray” and “shotgun marketing.”
This is just lazy reporting. CNN’s list of the 8 least evil banks in the country may be intended as a knock at B of A, Wells Fargo, and others who have abandoned free checking and introduced a gob of new fees, but they are a long way from being the best places to do to your banking.
A cursory glance at our current clients, (both community banks and credit unions) finds everyone with better features than the big eight on this list.
A January wire service article said auto sales are rebounding after the depths they fell to since the recession began. Sales were up 11% over the previous year.
Today, mortgages and equity loans are unpopular promotions among banking executives because of the continuing instability of the national housing market. The turmoil over checking accounts is still going. Some financial marketers are looking elsewhere for a solid promotional opportunity.
Nearly every new vehicle purchase needs an auto loan, so these loans may be an alternative promotion for community banks and credit unions.
It seems to me that nobody does a better job of corrupting the meaning of words than bank marketers – particularly those working for the huge banks – and the marketers employed by the major credit card issuers.
I was reminded of this yesterday while reading the morass of sales and disclosure copy in the latest credit card solicitation my spouse received from those pesky marketers at Chase.
Ever hear the term Ambient Advertising? This seems like a good time to introduce it to you and define what it means.
The phrase describes non-traditional forms of advertising. In fact, that nonconformity is what makes it ambient advertising. The idea has been around for decades, but has blossomed in the past 10 years because of what some people call the overabundance or, less complimentary, the glut of advertising.
If you’ve seen ads on store floors, attached to the gas pump, printed on sugar packets, even ads in public washrooms, then you’ve had a dose of ambient advertising.
Fortunately, there are some smaller banks and credit unions where senior management is refusing to follow the lead of the reckless mega-banks as they drop free checking, add more fees to existing checking accounts, and announce new fee-based checking accounts with strange names.
A single credit union in Sacramento is taking the contrarian approach by aggressively promoting free checking in the local newspaper – The Sacramento Bee.
A financial industry consulting company issued a report that includes a set of predictions for banking in the coming months. Let’s examine one of those predictions.
Bancography’s “Strategic Planning for 2011: Demographic and Competitive Outlook” takes 2010 statistics from the FDIC and NCUA and interprets those results in its report. At the end, the company offers eight bits of “Advice For The Year Ahead.”
One points says the public’s anger toward mega-banks will subside when they see TARP money repaid and their earnings improve, and other crises will divert consumers’ attention.
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of blog posts related to the training of financial institution employees. If appropriate, please pass this information to your training staff.)
As we work our way through the first quarter of 2011, your branch sales management staff is likely getting used to the new financial goals established for each of their branches for 2011. That’s always a shock to the system. In my previous banking career, many times I found myself saying to branch sales managers, or at least wanting to say, “You met your goals last year…so what made you think your numbers would not be increased this year?”
Suppose you have a complex offer to communicate. You want to make your marketing piece as easy to understand as possible for the average reader. How can you do it?
A sidebar is a helpful tool for this situation.
To illustrate, I’m using a credit card offer letter mailed to me. You know these offers can be complex and the average consumer doesn’t thoroughly understand them. It helps your sales effort to have a “cheat sheet” for the prospect that sums up the high points. That’s where the sidebar does its best work.
If only they had the money the mega-banks spend on notifying their customers of the latest new fee they’ve conjured up.
If only they had the money the mega-banks are spending trying to defend themselves from lawsuits over foreclosures.
If only they had the money the mega-banks are spending on public relations efforts explaining the TARP funds they received and why they shouldn’t be blamed for the mortgage loan modification fiasco.
When I got home from work, I parked my car at the curb until I could shovel out the driveway. Thanks to the wind and frigid temperature, I didn’t pay much attention to the stack of mail I pulled out of the box as I passed by before trudging through the snow to my front door.
Later, I was still distracted when I picked up the mail from where I dropped it on the kitchen counter. Even more distracted when I heard a rattling sound.
Focusing on the affluent market is nice – too bad there aren’t that many consumers in this category. And the number appears to be dropping like a rock thanks to the Great Ongoing Recession.
I’m always amused when I hear a bank marketing person tell me they are shifting their focus to the affluent market or affluent consumer. Generally, when queried for specifics as to who qualifies as affluent, I’ll hear something about annual income, household income, number of relationships, or balances on deposit.
I made a purchase during the holidays and later found an email message from the store. They wanted me to write a testimonial about the item I bought.
Testimonials can be powerful tools for merchants because they take away some of the pre-purchase fear an individual might feel. Based on the principle of social proof, if others are satisfied with the item then I believe I will be.
Testimonials are also important to banks and credit unions. If you include a customer testimonial in your marketing promotion you make it easier for the prospect to believe he or she can have a good, satisfying business relationship with your financial institution. Include testimonials on your website, too.
You would think that a savings account for beginners would be a model of simplicity. Unfortunately, the new account I heard about on the radio yesterday is anything but simple.
When I come across new accounts like this one, I’m always bewildered as to exactly what was going through the minds of the product development people who created it…and the minds of senior management who approved it. This is another example of where the old adage is relevant: “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”
For starters, it was tough getting all the details from the radio spot as it was crammed with too much information about what should have been a simple savings account. All I remember hearing is U.S. Bank, something about a “start” savings program, automatic transfers, a free $50 Visa rewards card when you hit $1,000, and a U.S. Bank URL that includes the word “start.”
Did you know 87% of Americans have free checking accounts?
Well, they were free accounts before the mega-banks started killing off their free checking and adding fees to make up the possible big loss of NSF revenue.
Many major U.S. corporations are funneling large sums of cash into local projects that bring them recognition and publicity, and build their credibility. Banks and credit unions can use the basic idea for similar advantages.
You readily recognize names like Kraft Foods, MetLife and Dr. Pepper. There are others and they’re all spending millions of dollars for neighborhood playgrounds. Smaller organizations are doing the same. So why have playgrounds become a popular charitable target?
Remember the good old days before the current economic meltdown when credit card issuers like Providian, MBNA, Citibank, and Capital One would send you one credit card solicitation after another?
If you’re like me, you wondered just how long they’d continue sending these offers before finally giving up.
What can bankers learn from a pizza restaurant? How about a way to provide banking services customers want most while cutting overhead costs.
During my college days, there was a popular Italian restaurant in Lincoln named Valentino’s. Its specialty was pizza. Weekends, there were long lines of patrons waiting for a table. There was often a traffic jam because of the crowd picking up orders from the take-out store. I know because I was often part of the swarm.
It’s not surprising the owners finally opened another restaurant across town. Then another and another. They moved into the Omaha market, too.
Why did an ACTON Marketing colleague get a National Aviation Day announcement from a financial institution? Just so they could keep in touch.
You’ve heard the maxim that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to recruit a new one. That’s why you don’t want to overlook the customers who already bring their business to your offices.
You’ve also heard that the average banking customer doesn’t bother to open a monthly statement. Yet isn’t the statement the most likely mail your bank or credit union sends to these people?
It took only a few words to spike my blood pressure yesterday morning. And they didn’t come from my spouse – they arrived over the radio.
Turning on the radio at 5:00 a.m. is the first thing I do after getting out of bed during the work week. I anxiously await the breaking economic news from someone working for The Wall Street Journal.
Busy multi-tasking, I’m only partially listening to what’s being said on the radio. But a few words in yesterday’s report on banks seeking new sources of fee income were received like a sharp blow to the head.