Marketers are sometimes too impatient. I don’t mean they’re impatient to make a sale. That’s the reason for the job — selling. Or in the case of financial services marketers, it’s about opening accounts.
I mean they’re impatient with their advertising. Too quick to toss aside good advertising without a good reason.
I’m not sure when it hit me, but at some point in my long bank marketing career it occurred to me that sometimes the bank president, and most likely other members of the senior management team, are stricken by the cocktail party disease.
This may, or may not, include the senior marketing person.
“We want to focus on the affluent.” If I collected cash every time I heard or read that sentiment, I’d be sitting on the porch of a cabin in a national park, retired, relaxed, and taking in a great view.
Since no one pays me on that basis, I’m here to share with you some of my thoughts about branch banking.
Among the many things I find aggravating about bank and credit union advertising is inconsistency in the marketing message.
In the case of FREE Checking it’s either FREE or it’s not FREE and this message should be consistent across all marketing channels.
A classic example begins with the newspaper ad below. Read more…
What can credit union and bank marketers learn from a toy company? How to turn an unexpected event into a marketing advantage.
A few weeks ago, a Mitt Romney senior campaign aide made a comment that was picked up by the national media. Eric Fehrnstrom said, “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You kind of shake it up and restart it all over again.”
Opponents and political wits jumped on the statement and it made news across the country.
It was inevitable!
Apparently there’s enough buzz in the blogosphere about the uncertain future of bank branches that last week’s AmericanBanker.com poll addressed the issue of whether or not bank branches are going the way of the buggy whip.
Here are the predictable results.
The email addresses of a bank’s customers and a credit union’s members are valuable assets for the financial institution. An email list gives you another channel to build loyalty and cross-sell other products and services.
Of course, to keep customers and members on your email list, you must offer something of value in your messages to them. I have an example of one bank’s email that satisfies the kind of value people expect. Read more…
You can have the most sought-after product in the market but unless you aggressively promote it on an ongoing basis, it’s just another product.
As an avid follower of bank and credit union marketing, I’ve come to the conclusion that most marketers believe the mere presence of the Free Checking account is sufficient to grow checking account market share.
As a result, these banks and credit unions fail to put adequate – if any – marketing effort behind their FREE Checking accounts.
In my previous post, I made a brilliant argument for the end of the Internet. Actually, I wrote about how Facebook’s timeline changes should give all financial institutions reason to reconsider their social media strategies, but I think you could read between the lines. The time for reinvention is here, as is the road map below.
If you have the guts (and resources) to reinvent your narrative, here are the things to think about as you redesign and redefine your story:
Recently, I read a blog post written by a social media promoter where he bashed direct mail marketing and the USPS. The backlash to his post was impressive. Many, many comments from marketers and business owners alike criticized the writer. They said they know direct mail marketing works and they gave reasons why.
One business owner raised the 40-40-20 Rule as evidence of the importance of list work to counter the blogger’s contention that mail doesn’t produce results.
I find it both astonishing and disappointing that so many people either in banking or writing about banking believe the free checking account is the source of today’s bank profitability problems.
I was reminded of this Tuesday after reading Brett King’s article, “Why Durbin will Kill the Branch,” forwarded to me by my blogging partner Joe Swatek. Joe knows that nothing gets me on my soapbox quicker than an article denigrating free checking.
Here’s something most of you don’t know about me: before I entered the financial services industry, I was an English teacher and fiction writer. Why you don’t know this about me can be chalked up to one of these reasons:
- We have a virtual relationship only. (“What are two good-looking Gravatars like us doing on this banking discussion board? Let’s take this party over to MySpace.”)
- You rarely call anymore just to talk.
- This background information isn’t relevant to what I do on a daily basis.
Mission statements are the opposite of good advertising. I see them when I explore financial institution websites and wonder what purpose they serve. You might wonder what this has to do with marketing.
Businesses in all industries use mission statements. The insurance industry, where I worked for years, is much like the banking industry in many ways. Insurance companies like mission statements, too.
I was wrong…or at least forgetful.
Vernon Hill had slipped my mind!
In last Thursday’s blog about differentiation, I made the bold statement that I found it very difficult to name one bank that has done a great job of differentiating itself in any meaningful way.
After posting my blog and leaving the house, my memory lapse ended. I made a mental note to correct myself in my next blog – this one.
The old, old marketing wisdom, which grew out of direct mail marketing, says you should give your prospect as many ways as possible to respond to your offer.
At the time that nugget of knowledge was born, there were three basic methods to offer your responders: mail, phone, and feet. Today, you can add Internet and email to the response methods.
My idea for this post came about after talking with a client about a project. The creative for the offer was an envelope package, so it was easy to include a response coupon and a Business Reply Envelope.
When I read the Wall Street Journal article, I thought, “Hey, I’ve told the blog readers how to do that.”
The story said many companies use college students as campus ambassadors who work (often for the experience alone) as marketers of the brands among their fellow students.
I wrote about similar ideas in 2009, and advised financial institutions to promote student checking accounts and loans during college fairs, recruit students as ambassadors, and even use college-age staff to help connect with students.
As a marketer, one of my favorite sayings was uttered by chicken rancher Frank Perdue: “If you can differentiate a dead chicken, you can differentiate anything.” Of course, Mr. Perdue went on to make Perdue one of the most famous brands of chicken in America.
It makes me wonder what Frank Perdue would have accomplished had he been a community banker instead of a chicken rancher.
Chipotle, a Mexican style restaurant chain, is using obsolete marketing materials for a positive promotion tied to Earth Day. Your bank or credit union can generate marketing ideas along this same line.
Using a firm that recycles old billboards into consumer products, Chipotle is selling reusable lunch bags that incorporate pieces of the restaurant’s billboard advertising into the bags’ side panels.
A very brief online article last week announced that sometime this year Discover Bank is going to launch a free checking account.
This is wonderful news for consumers and for those banks and credit unions that continue offering Free Checking. I see it as a confirmation that the free checking account remains alive and is flourishing.
It’s been about two decades since I was involved in the American ritual — a vacation trip to Disney World. Now I see, Disney wants me back.
If you’ve ever visited Las Vegas or other resorts, you’ll open your mailbox to find similar mail promotions that offer you special room rates and other discounts as encouragements to return.