Do you wish your customers a happy birthday? It’s a chance to make a cross-sell offer and to strengthen the banking relationship with your bank customers or credit union members.
Obviously, your message shouldn’t be, “It’s your birthday, so open a new account.” No one appreciates such a blatant tactic.
So what should you do?
Are pocket branches a big part of banking’s future?
I’m not referring to the cell phones your customers carry in their pockets and use for mobile banking. I’m talking about size. And as the old saying goes, size matters.
So what does “pocket” mean for banking?
Sometimes I shake my head when I hear comments from people who call themselves marketers.
The statement below was in an email and forwarded to me. An individual at a bank, whose title is VP of Marketing, wrote the original message. It refers to a marketing promotion created for the bank.
“I would say let’s get rid of Free almost everywhere — seems kinda ‘slimy.’”
It’s been a standard rule of marketing for generations. I’ve made references to The Rule many times in my blog posts and when talking with clients. But is it time to revise The Rule, at least for financial services marketing?
I’m talking about the 40-40-20 Rule. You should know it well. It says every direct mail marketing promotion consists of… Read more…
Be careful what you say. Some people are paying attention.
As you know from reading my blog posts, I encourage financial services marketers to focus on the benefits a customer or prospect gains by doing business with your bank or credit union.
For instance, point out your free services. When you don’t say something is free it gives many prospects the impression it’s not. Besides, “free” is a key word for marketing.
One of the quickest ways to irritate your customers is to solicit them for an account or service they already have with your bank or credit union.
When this occurs, it sends a message that your bank or credit union (choose one or more):
- Is poorly managed
- Doesn’t have a reliable, up-to-date customer file or database
- Hires employees who don’t care
- Is more concerned about cutting costs than serving customers
- Is technologically behind the times
- Doesn’t care about its brand or has no branding initiative
- Never checks to see what the marketing department is mailing
- Has so few employees as customers that few actually know what marketing messages customers are receiving
Have you ever heard of a Business Tell A Friend? It might not be what you imagine.
You’re probably familiar with a basic Tell A Friend (TAF) program, even if your financial institution doesn’t use one. The regular TAF program depends on a banking customer or member referring the financial institution to family, friends, or colleagues.
You might think the Business TAF would be similar: One business refers another business. But no, that’s not how it works.
Some days ago, I gave you examples of a pair of no-premium bank ads from Wells Fargo Bank. I ended by guessing we’d never know if the ads were successful.
But later that day, a blog reader commented on his experience with the offer and the Wells Fargo execution. The comment — a firsthand result — gives us a chance to look at what you should do or avoid when you fulfill offers for your own bank or credit union.
First, a quick recap of my earlier post. I compared two full-page, tabloid-size ads Wells Fargo ran that offered a free credit score and free credit report. The credit report is the important part of this no-premium offer because consumers know they should check, but usually fail to do so. I called the report the “value” to the consumer.
Word of mouth advertising, where customers tell others about your bank or credit union, is an important marketing factor.
“Word of mouth” is simply defined as people telling other people about their experiences. An oral testimonial. A recommendation that’s positive or negative.
I came across a couple of statistics released by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. The study says if a customer has a problem that gets resolved, that person will tell four to six others about the experience. On the flip side, the study says a dissatisfied customer tells between nine and 15 people about the bad experience, and 13% of those dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
Comparison charts, once a fixture in direct marketing checking acquisition campaigns, could be ready for a comeback.
Checking account acquisition promotions in the 1980s and ’90s used comparison charts that named names and showed real features of the competing banks’ checking programs. Here’s a typical example of those historic charts.
Typical Free Checking comparison chart from the '80s and early '90s.
Today, I’m using a bank’s print ad to cover three topics…
- The no-premium offer mentioned in my headline
- What makes a good advertising headline
- An example of a marketing test with easy-to-guess results
Parade magazine is a syndicated insert found in Sunday newspapers across the nation. Parade’s March 24 issue had this Wells Fargo Bank ad on the back page.
Years ago, when I opened my current checking account, the financial institution gave me something I’ve come to appreciate. It wasn’t a cup of coffee while I waited for the account manager. Not a still-warm chocolate chip cookie I sometimes see in the lobby. It wasn’t a premium gift or cash bonus.
It was a simple 2 x 3.5-inch card with the routing number and my account number printed on it.
Offering your prospects multiple ways to respond to your promotions increases the success of your marketing campaigns. Today, let’s consider one response channel, your website.
There are two possible ways to use your bank or credit union website with a marketing campaign.
- Offer more information about the promotion. This is especially useful for complex products and offers like an equity loan product or a promotion that has multiple steps toward the “prize.”
- Allow the prospect to open the account online.
Today’s blog topic is about direct mail – the tangible paper marketing messages that continue arriving in your home mail box six days a week.
In spite of the rapid growth of email marketing and problems with the U.S. Postal Service, direct mail remains an extremely attractive and productive consumer marketing channel.
According to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2012 Response Rate Report, 4.4% is the average direct mail response rate versus a 0.12% rate for email marketing.
Why does your bank or credit union have a website? I know the real answer is, “Because all the other financial institutions do.”
That’s apparent when I visit some FI websites, as I do every week.
Certainly, some financial institutions have great sites. Full of useful information. Easy to use. Well designed.
Your financial institution must market the advantages and selling points you have that make your institution different from your competitors. That’s because most consumers believe all banking accounts are much the same.
Sure, consumers know the difference between free checking and fee checking. They compare rates for loans and CDs. But if that’s the only criteria they know about, then you can’t blame them for driving to your competitor’s branch.
Product. Product. Product. That’s what your financial institution offers. Just like the hardware store, the supermarket, the clothing store all push products, your bank or credit union pushes checking, loan, and savings products.
There’s a new series of broadcast spots created by an agency for Union Bank, a regional bank based in San Francisco. The TV ads feature celebrities talking about “doing right.”
Does it make sense for business bankers to seek core deposits from their customers? This question was posed to me by a senior lender at a Northeast bank that had a declining loan to deposit ratio. This was putting pressure on the bank’s net interest margin… a story all too common in the current economic environment.
My answer: an unequivocal yes. The simple response to the “why” was that large financial institutions were being ornery to small businesses by tightening credit standards and generally being non responsive, creating an environment ripe for community bank plundering. I told the bank to hunt when the hunting was good, not when you are hungry.
If you hear rumors that your bank or credit union might change its name or logo, as a marketing professional, you should do all you can to stop the idea before it gains momentum.
Okay, so I know that’s nearly impossible. There are times when a change is necessary. A merger, for example. But often, the change doesn’t play out well.
Evidence of this was in the news again when American Airlines revealed its new logo. Read more…
The fundamental banking account for consumers is the checking account. When you ask an individual where he or she banks, the name of the bank or credit union you hear is the one where the person has a primary checking account.
So it’s logical that you want to gain new checking customers or encourage current non-checking customers to open a checking account.