A Much Stronger Headline — Or is It?
Finally, in Sunday’s newspaper I encountered a credit union ad where the headline offers not one, but two, major benefits.
For the past couple of years, my local credit union has been aggressively marketing its low rate auto loans via several marketing channels including newspaper ads and billboards.
Here’s a typical newspaper ad with a rate-only headline.
And here’s a typical billboard featuring a rate-only headline.
While rate is undoubtedly important to most consumers, so is getting a fast approval of their loan.
For a myriad of reasons, most consumers go car shopping first and don’t think about financing until they find themselves at the mercy of the dealer employees – particularly the F & I (Finance and Insurance) person. This is true even if the bank or credit union offers a pre-approval service.
So once these consumers find their dream car or truck and have settled on a price, their next critical step is securing an auto loan from their local bank or credit union.
Here’s where uncertainty rears its ugly head.
How long will it take to get a loan request approved?
This common scenario is why I immediately rated the ad below a vast improvement over previous ads and billboard messages from my credit union.
After my euphoria passed, I got to thinking seriously about the meaning of “Fast Approvals.” What does my credit union mean by fast approval? Is it measured in hours or days?
Reading the ad copy was of no help as fast approval isn’t defined.
My next stop was the credit union website which also yielded no information.
It finally dawned on me that “Fast Approvals” must mean whatever the credit union wants it to mean. I would assume that if they have a one-hour turnaround goal they would aggressively promote it. Even if it means same day approval, they would promote it.
Oddly, for a majority of consumers, buying a new or used car or truck is more of an impulse purchase than one planned long in advance. As a result, loan approval time becomes extremely important to those consumers wishing to avoid allowing the dealer’s F & I person to select the lender.
So while the local credit union promises fast approval in its new headline, it fails to define how fast “fast” is. The level of performance uncertainty has been shifted away from the credit union and onto the poor consumer.
As a result, I’ve changed my mind about this new and improved headline.
Sure, making a double benefit offer may improve initial response, but at some point during the loan application and approval process some number of consumers will most likely be disappointed in how fast “fast” turns out to be.
One final point: The marketing folks responsible for creating the ad and the management folks responsible for reviewing and approving it don’t have to worry about how fast “fast” is. You can bet their car loan applications receive PRIORITY TREATMENT.
Perhaps in the future they should put themselves in the consumers’ shoes when working on marketing offers and messages.