Do Consumers Care about Your Award?
If actor Sean Connery just announced that he’d won his 32nd academy award, would you or anybody else really care?
Most likely it would be a yawner – a “who cares” response.
That’s how I felt Monday morning upon encountering the newspaper ad from a small community bank with a few branches scattered around the greater Sacramento area.
The purpose of the ad is to announce that the bank received an “Exceptional Performance Award” from some obscure company in Florida – Bauer Financial, Inc. But here’s the kicker, in smaller type we learn that the award was “For continuously earning a five-star SUPERIOR rating for 74 consecutive quarters.”
A bit of quick math told me the bank had been receiving this award for eighteen and one-half straight years. By now, it probably elicits a “who cares” response from most consumers.
Besides, exactly what does “Exceptional Performance” mean?
Are we talking about customer service? Or is this some financial accounting or profitability type of award?
If you haven’t noticed lately, the country is awash in awards of every type for everything imaginable. Almost every week some awards event is announced in the local paper via a full-page ad seeking nominations. We’ve gone awards-mad in America.
Live long enough and you’ll likely get an award for something.
Whereas at one time long ago receiving an award meant something important – today receiving an award has become a mundane, everyday occurrence. Most of them have lost any significant meaning – except, perhaps, to the recipient.
I seriously doubt announcing this award will result in the bank getting one new customer.
What the bank should be doing is providing one or two reasons why consumers should consider moving their accounts to this bank.
I have one good reason – free checking.
But, it won’t work for this community bank as its two free checking accounts aren’t labeled free checking. And the bank is reluctant to use the word “free” in ads promoting its checking accounts.
It makes me wonder if senior management and the marketing person at this bank understand the importance of having a differential advantage or unique selling proposition and how to use it.
Receiving some award over and over doesn’t provide you with a point of differentiation – at least not in the minds of consumers where the marketing battle is fought day after day after day.
On the other hand, some banking folks obviously see it as an opportunity to spend scarce marketing dollars on a newspaper ad like this one.
It’s possible they justify the expenditure by labeling it a “branding” ad.
Unless your community bank or credit union has a huge marketing budget, you shouldn’t be wasting money on the occasional branding ad.
You should be spending your scarce marketing dollars on hard-selling direct response ads and traditional direct mail pieces that provide members of your target audience the “reason why” they should be your customers.
The “reason why” should be included in your offer.
The “reason why” should consist of your unique selling proposition or differential advantage.
Scroll down to Tuesday’s blog for more information about the importance of your USP or point of differentiation.