Since the first step of any marketing campaign is to grab the attention of the prospect, the image of a check peeking through the window of the envelope freshly pulled from the mailbox almost guarantees the envelope gets opened.
In our minds we know there’s the slimmest of chances a business will send us a surprise check in the mail, but the same mental process that makes us buy lottery tickets with the expectation of winning makes us believe that’s a real check in the envelope.
There are two marketing words that are among my favorites.
They are “new” and “improved.”
Many packaged goods marketers go so far as to use both words on their product packaging when appropriate. Laundry detergents immediately come to mind.
Two days ago another checking account offer arrived from Chase Bank.
One of the toughest tasks facing any marketing person after getting the prospects’ attention is to hold their attention for as long as possible until the sale is made.
One of the best ways to hold their attention is to get them involved. You must make your marketing piece sticky.
“…72 percent of Americans said they would consider switching banks if their financial institution raised its fees on checking accounts….”
That quote comes from an article on the Bankrate website where the author summarizes a Bankrate study that focused on banking fees. The 72 percent figure is up from 64 percent Bankrate recorded in 2011.
That’s not all. An ABC News story covering the same Bankrate consumer study says those households with annual income of $75,000 or more are the most likely to switch (82 percent).
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.
How powerful and effective is direct mail marketing? Consider that the leading name in social media uses direct mail to promote itself.
This miniature postcard, 4.25 x 6 inches, arrived in the ACTON Marketing office on November 30.
This is not a holiday reminder. It has nothing to do with you getting your greeting cards and packages in the mail on time. It’s a warning to marketers.
The U.S. Postal Service announced another cutback it plans to use to save money.
With no financial help from a stagnated Congress and the onerous payments the Postal Service must make to the postal employees’ retirement health fund (which Congress could also ease), the USPS continues to look for ways to climb out of its huge deficit.
It shouldn’t happen, but I bet there are financial services marketers who never check the results of their marketing campaigns. They don’t compare one campaign to another to see what worked and what could be improved. They don’t test.
They also don’t hold branch managers accountable for the successes of the marketing campaigns.
A few years ago, if I opened my mailbox and found it empty, I seriously wondered if the mail carrier didn’t make deliveries that day. No more than two or three times a year I’d find nothing after the daily delivery.
Now, my mailbox is empty two, three, or more times a month.
The advertising copywriter’s words are always speaking for someone else, like the company that’s paying for the promotion. But recently, I found a promotional package in my mailbox where the copywriter had his own special message for me.
I mention this not only because it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this message, but also as a chance to review a component of direct mail marketing that you might want to use in one of your promotional packages.
Comparison charts were an integral part of direct mail marketing packages that promoted free checking accounts during the 1980s and ’90s. Then, the charts’ usefulness dipped until they became pale shadows of their attention-generating predecessors.
Is it time to bring back comparison charts?
For decades, during football season travelers driving east on I-80 into Omaha have seen a big billboard advertising Nebraska Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It was notable and attracted attention because the billboard carried the score of the University of Nebraska Huskers football game the same day it was played. Mimicking the numbers of a stadium scoreboard, the scores and the opponents appeared on the board until replaced by the next game.
This year, a print ad using the same idea as the billboard appears across the bottom of the local Sunday sports pages.
“Intelligent Mail® is the technology platform of the next generation of mailing services.” So says the first sentence from a postal bulletin, Your Intelligent Mail® Survival Guide.
If you’re a marketer and have no idea what Intelligent Mail is, then it’s time to get up to speed and do your homework.
When more than one group of marketers or departments are involved in a promotion, there can be a joust over how the promotional space of a mail piece or print ad is used.
One ACTON Marketing client is running a promotion to get more Facebook followers. A contingent in the company wanted to replace the corporate halo story in the mail promotion with an ad for the institution’s Facebook page.
I thought the answer I wrote as an email response might help you if you have a similar situation with two sides tugging on you for limited ad space. It can apply to all sorts of product promotions, not just the Facebook issue mentioned here.
My headline turns out to be a rhetorical question because from what I see, there’s no doubt financial institutions are vigorously pursuing auto loan customers.
In one day, I saw two credit union newsletters. One had an auto loan promotion as it’s front-page article. The second devoted nearly all of page two to car buying and a loan offer. The same day, the daily newspaper ran a half-page ad for auto loans from another credit union (repeated as a smaller ad days later). Regularly, a fourth credit union and a large bank run newsprint ads for auto loans.
Front page of newsletter with auto loan offer.
Let’s examine a marketing package component, the lift letter, and see how you can prepare one for your own marketing promotions.
A few days ago, I wrote about the two distinct versions of a subscription solicitation envelope package mailed by Archaeology Magazine. The overall design and copy are much different and both packages use different components. The original envelope package is the one with a lift letter.
The same morning I posted my ideas for promoting branch locations, an email told me one of our banking clients saw outstanding success from a very recent grand opening event.
The quote from the bank’s CEO was great: “Look at all these people.”
One day I drove along a route I seldom took and glanced toward a mini-mall along the street. I saw a big Going Out of Business sign in the window of a coffee and tea products specialty store. A store I hadn’t seen before. Since traffic was heavy, I was moving slow enough to turn into the parking lot.
While he was ringing up my purchase, the owner said, “Now that I’m going out of business, I’m making more sales than ever.”
As a financial services marketer, you should know auto sales have been steadily climbing over the past year. Buyers are back in the market after a tight-fisted attitude toward spending money early in the recession.
As a financial services marketer, you should encourage your bank or credit union to actively pursue loans for this hot consumer product. After all, your competition is probably already advertising.
During a meeting with a client group, they debated among themselves the value of using a postcard or a self-mailer. Most of the discussion centered on the cost of the two formats.
There’s a misconception that a postcard format saves a huge amount of money because it’s smaller. There’s usually little or no difference in postage and pricing because a large postcard needs heavier paper stock (cardstock) to conform to the postal requirements.
But that’s entirely the wrong argument anyway.