Friday, December 21, 2012

The Power of a Simple Thank You

In the book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk offers compelling evidence that we have entered into an entirely new business era, one in which the companies that see the biggest returns won't be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but will be those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else.

He illustrates that the businesses and brands that harness the word-of-mouth power from social media, those that can shift their culture to be more customer-aware and fan-friendly, will pull away from the pack and profit in today's markets.

To this end, I received an email letter today from one of the banks where I have an account. Seeing that I had just opened an account with Simple, I anticipated the worst. Maybe my initial deposit didn't clear. Maybe I did one of my transactions incorrectly or possibly didn't activate my debit card correctly. But the subject line for the email just had the words 'Thank You'. Upon opening the email (personalized with the name I told Simple I preferred using as opposed to my 'legal' name on the account), I must admit I was surprised to see that the email included nothing more than a 'thank you'. That's right, a simple appreciation letter from Josh Reich, the CEO of Simple.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Direct Mail Still Preferred Over Email, Social and Mobile Marketing

Despite a greatly increasing penetration of smartphones and tablet devices and a marketing industry focus on digital, social and mobile channels, a just released study of channel preferences by Epsilon reveals that consumer desire for postal mail continues to be strong.

The new report, Channel Preferences for Both The Mobile and Non-Mobile Consumer, found that, despite a more digitally-focused world, a majority of consumers still prefer postal mail for a large portion of their multichannel communication. This was especially evident with regard to financial services communication, where 38 percent of the U.S. households surveyed preferred receiving postal mail compared to 17 percent desiring information over the internet and 7 percent via email. Only health related communication had a higher preference for postal mail, indicating the advantage of direct mail for communicating sensitive information.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CMO Needs Stronger Alignment With CIO

Now more than ever, the Chief Marketing Officer needs to be a multi-tasker, with enhanced technological and customer analysis skills added to their traditional marketing, branding and advertising credentials. Reposted below is a recent Chief Marketing Technologist post from Scott Brinker that recaps a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit on this transformation of the role of the CMO.

The report, entitled Outside Looking In: The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-Suite is a global survey of 389 executives sponsored by SAS illustrating that marketing is in a period of great change, becoming more strategic, and that many organizations are not yet in agreement on what that means for the CMO's role and priorities.
One thing that I found particularly fascinating, however, were the results to the question: what skills are most important for CMOs to have? Respondents were asked to pick their top three:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Generating Loans With Behavior Triggers

While loan business overall is down, the ability to quickly respond to a customer's behavior when they are shopping for a loan can be the difference between expanding a current relationship or potentially losing a customer. 

By leveraging relatively easily accessible credit bureau insight, you can deliver highly relevant communications through multiple channels to generate a steady stream of qualified and ready-to-borrow households.

As the name implies, a loan behavioral trigger lead is created when a customer or prospect is applying for a new loan or is about to refinance an existing loan. Used extensively by the mortgage industry recently due to the large number of households seeking to refinance, triggers also point to households looking for an equity line of credit, new car or even a credit card. 

These loan shopper lists are available on a daily, weekly (1-7 days old) or monthly basis (1-30 days old) and are very time sensitive since the candidate is actively seeking a loan or line of credit. As can be expected, using daily triggers is the most expensive due to both the cost of the list and the cost of daily processing/production, but these lists also produce the best results.

The lists can be customized, allowing a financial institution to select candidates based on filters such as credit score, amount of revolving debt, seasoning, LTV, monthly payment amounts, number of recent inquiries on file or any other criteria desired. Phone numbers can also be appended to the lists for an additional charge. History shows that those households with multiple recent inquiries are better prospects since they are considered 'active shoppers'.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Mass Affluent: An Elusive Bank Target

While targeted by every bank, mass affluent households are difficult for bank marketers to reach. They have a distinct lifestyle from the rest of the nation in terms of media consumption, technology use, financial attitudes and preferences for financial products and services.

Representing a sweet spot between the mass market and affluent segment, the mass affluent segment is not homogeneous, but a diverse array of micro segments that differ from each other. To reach this group, new products and services need to be developed, new messaging needs to be used and varied channels need to be leveraged.

Three recent studies help to shed light on the opportunities and challenges presented by this highly sought after segment.

According to Nielsen, the mass affluent segment consists of more than 13 million households and represents approximately 11 percent of all U.S. households. The segment is defined as having income producing assets between $250,000 and $1M (excluding real estate) and an average household income of $105,000 in 2011. This income is more than 50 percent higher than the national average household income of $62,912. In depth analysis also shows a high correlation between income and assets for targeting purposes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

5 Banking Megatrends Impacting Consumers

This post originally appeared on on November 1, 2012

How Americans bank is undergoing a lot of changes right now. Free checking as we know it is becoming an endangered species, people are doing a lot more of their banking online, and smartphones and prepaid debit cards are taking off. As we move towards 2013, with planning well underway at most banks, what are the megatrends that are impacting the way people bank?

Here is my take on the 5 key trends impacting consumers:

1. Banks' mobile and online banking features are more important than ever to your overall banking experience.  

Not only are banks pushing them as a way to serve customers much more cheaply than they can in branches, but customers are getting much more comfortable with the technology, especially when it comes to mobile banking. You're definitely moving beyond the early adopters with mobile and online banking.

That means that having a welcoming, easy-to-use, powerful suite of technology products will be important criteria for the way customers choose banks in the future. And, if a consumer is one who is banking online or on their smartphone, they will probably look over a bank's technology offerings before signing up.

Number of Top 100 Banks Offering Mobile Services
First Annapolis Group, 2012 Mobile Banking and Payments Study

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Will PFM Engagement 'Tricks' Be A Customer Experience Treat?

It's Halloween. You've stocked up on the best candy and your house is decked out in ghoulish decorations as you prepare to handle the rush of excited children. Unfortunately, despite all of the preparation, nobody is knocking at your door.For many financial institutions, this is the same feeling they have had as they have introduced personal financial management (PFM) tools to a less than overwhelming consumer response.  

Arguments across the industry continue over the potential impact and adoption of PFM tools. Despite topping the charts in hype and media coverage over the past several years, some believe that PFM may always fail to deliver in terms of usage rates.

2012 survey by the Federal Reserve shows that 21 percent of consumers currently use a PFM tool (this includes any program or website used to track household finances). Aite Group shows that the percentage may be closer to 27 percent when all PFM options are taken into account. However, there is still potential for growth in this area, with an additional 14 percent of consumers indicating a desire to use PFM tools.

Aite Group, Sept. 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best Banking Blogs Recognized

Bank Marketing Strategy was just recognized as one of the Best Banking Blogs by The Financial Brand, the foremost online publication for bank and credit union marketers. In addition to receiving the Editor's Choice Award, Bank Marketing Strategy was also a Top 5 recipient of the prestigious Reader's Choice Award.

To be included as a winner in 2012, nominated blogs must have had specific relevance to marketers in the banking or credit union industries, been in existence for a minimum of 12 months with consistent content and an RSS feed. It was also noted that all of the blogs selected needed to display excellent writing skills with a deep knowledge of the financial services industry.

Jeffry Pilcher, publisher of The Financial Brand, stated when asked about the recognition, "Bank Marketing Strategy is a blog that combines industry research with real world applications that can be used by financial marketers daily. It is also one of the few blogs that is not a commercial endeavor, but is developed on a personal level." 

Pilcher went on to say, "If I had to pare down to just five blogs that I followed, Bank Marketing Strategy would definitely be one of them. When the blog fell silent for a couple months earlier this year, I was worried that the banking industry was losing one of the best blogs out there. But, Jim's come back with a fury, and he's at the top of his game."

Bank Marketing Strategy was developed more than 3 years ago as a way for me to better understand social media while providing an outlet for my desire to research, write and share insights with the industry I have been part of for (significantly) more than 20 years. It has been an ongoing passion, affording me the opportunity to meet and consult with some of the best people in the industry (many of whom are recognized by The Financial Brand for their blogging efforts).

I would like to thank (and congratulate) fellow bloggers Ron Shevlin, Brett King, Bradley Leimer, Matt Wilcox, JJ Hornblass, Liz Lum, Chris Skinner, Serge Milman, Christophe Langois, Karen Licker, Jim Bruene, Randy Smith, Jim Van Dyke and most importantly, Jeffry Pilcher for your ongoing encouragement and support.

At a time when our current elections involve a great deal of mudslinging, lies and putting down the other nominees, I can definitely say that all of the other blogs recognized are excellent resources I go to regularly and worthy of recognition. 

I would also like to thank all of the readers of The Financial Brand who voted to recognize Bank Marketing Strategy as a top 5 banking industry blog worldwide.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Banks Include Retargeting As Part Of Digital Marketing Strategy

While not a new tactic in the online world, retargeting is gaining momentum from more than just e-commerce players. 

Due to the ability to target interested consumers as they proceed through the purchase funnel, financial marketers are increasingly leveraging ad-tech advancements to influence financial service buying behavior.

Over the weekend, my son and I were looking at new car options on After about 45 minutes on the site, I decided to leave the virtual showroom only to be 'stalked' by car ads for the next two days as I visited totally unrelated locations on the web (I am sure the retargeting won't end soon). Even my entry into the site was a bit unnerving since the front page of the site was promoting the newest version of the car currently sitting in my garage. 

A coincidence? . . . Not a chance. In fact, illustrating the digital geotargeting prowess of the team at, the first search I did for the category of car I might be interested in highlighted a sponsored ad from the brand of the other car in our garage . . . from a local dealer. 

It comes as no surprise to today's consumer that the internet knows almost everything about us due to the tagging, tracking and monitoring that is done on an amazing amount of 'big data' flowing in the digital universe. Technology and digital tools have the ability to process our digital footprints almost as fast as we surf the web, predicting what we might do next and what we may be interested in purchasing.

While becoming almost Orwellian in it's omniscience, and a very powerful tool for digital marketers, the process is not always perfect. For instance, because of my profession and my search habits, I am often targeted for financial services I don't need, a new brand of smartphone I don't want and a candidate I would never vote for. Worse yet, I am sometimes targeted for something I already bought (an example of marketing without sufficient channel integration).

Despite the occasional mistargeting, the 2012 Display Advertising Study from Bizrate Insights found that the majority of consumers (60 percent) were neutral on the tactic of retargeting, 25 percent appreciate the ads because they "remind [them] of what [they were] looking at previously, and only 15% do not like the process." Also noted was the convenience of being able to visit a web site users already were intending to visit (28 percent), and the proactive offering of more information on a desired product or service (21 percent).

From a marketers perspective, retargeting allows an organization to customize the overall prospect or customer experience and maintain consistency across all customer touch points. In other words, the retargeting does not need to stop with online ads, but could extend to email and even direct mail as part of an overarching cross-channel strategy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are Bankers Ready For The Bank 3.0 Reality?

In an exclusive interview about his newest book, Bank 3.0, Brett King discusses how change occurring in the banking industry is inevitable, speeding up and disruptive. 

From the mobile wallet wars to the impact of social media, tablets and the 'de-banked' and digital consumer, Bank 3.0 shows why banking is no longer a place you go to, but something you do.

A great deal has happened since Brett King wrote Bank 2.0 in 2010. Two years ago, banks were under siege as the foundation of the banking system was close to collapse and the image of the industry as a safe and secure environment was being challenged. The impact of social media was just beginning to be understood by the financial services industry and mobile technology as we know it today was in its infancy. Heck, King even referenced his (now long gone) Blackberry in the first chapter of Bank 2.0.

With Bank 3.0, King discusses how consumers are less likely to view their retail banking provider in terms of capital adequacy, branch network, products and rates. Instead, customers are more likely to determine their banking partners by how easily they can access their accounts when they need to, and how much they trust their provider to execute business on their behalf. For those who read Bank 2.0, King's new book retains some of the foundation and case studies, but updates several areas based on what has occurred (and will be occurring) relative to digital delivery, payments, social media, and the power of 'big data'.

On the eve of the introduction of Bank 3.0 in the U.K. (introduction in the U.S. is scheduled for early November), I interviewed Brett King about his new book and about how he views the banking industry today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

As Online Banking Acceptance Grows Is Mobile Banking Reaching the Tipping Point With Millenials?

A new survey by the American Bankers Association (ABA) found that for the fourth year in a row, consumers named the Internet as their favorite way of conducting banking business, with 39 percent of respondents saying it is the method they 'use most often to manage (their) bank account(s).'  The second most popular way to bank – visiting a branch – continued its downward trend to 18 percent from 30 percent in 2008.

In addition, this year’s survey showed a sharp increase in the popularity of mobile banking, driven mainly by customers in the 18 to 34-year-old age group. Use of the mobile channel by millennials escalated from 4 percent in 2010 to 15 percent this year. Conversely, the use of branches by this age group during the four-year period dropped from 20 percent to 11 percent, with ATM use also dropping from 32 percent to 14 percent. Overall, mobile banking is now preferred by six percent of customers, a 100 percent increase from 2010.

The distribution of primary channel use this year was as follows:

      • Internet Banking (laptop or PC) – 39% (36% in 2010)
      • Branches – 18% (25% in 2010)
      • ATMs – 12% (15% in 2010)
      • Mail – 8% (8% in 2010)
      • Telephone - 9% (6% in 2010)
      • Mobile (cell phone, Blackberry, PDA, I-Pad, etc.) – 6% (3% in 2010)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monetizing Mobile Banking

As consumers are becoming more comfortable with mobile banking and mobile payments, financial institutions and technology providers are beginning to develop and deploy more innovative solutions with a focus on gaining market share, reducing costs and realizing new sources of revenue. It is clear that the question is no longer whether mobile banking and mobile payments will be important to a bank's business (84% of respondents to a recent KPMG survey said that it is). The question has become, can banks realize the full potential of the channel from a customer development and revenue perspective.

To this end, one of the best sessions I attended last week at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference was around the opportunity for banks to monetize mobile banking. Presented by Matt Wilcox, senior vice president of eBusiness strategy for Zions Bancorporation and Drew Sievers, CEO of mFoundry, the session focused on the opportunity for mobile banking to move from simply reducing costs to actually being the foundation for revenue generation. 

Mobile Banking Evolution

At the beginning of the presentation, Wilcox presented an overview of the mobile banking evolution that has occurred over the past several years. According to Wilcox, mobile banking has evolved from being simply a channel innovation to providing the potential for significant channel migration cost savings as shown below. He noted, however, that banks should not build business cases around 1:1 transaction displacement, since many consumers increase their overall transaction volume as they move to more automated channels. This is similar to what occurred with ATM volumes that increased at a much higher rate than branch transactions decreased in the past.

Source: TowerGroup and Fiserv (2010)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Art of Bank Innovation According to Guy Kawasaki

One of this year's keynote speakers at BAI's Retail Delivery Conference was Apple evangelist and innovation guru, Guy Kawasaki who is also the founder and CEO of Garage Technology Ventures. During his very engaging and at times irreverent presentation, Guy broke down the art of innovation into 10 easy -- and not so easy -- steps. He explained to the room full of bankers and industry service providers that while these steps should be followed, even he has not been able to always follow his own advice in his career.

1. Make Meaning - Great innovation occurs when a person/company decides to make the world a better place. Great companies are able to make meaning, and as a natural outgrowth, also make money. One of Guy's examples was Apple's development of innovative products that made the world more productive and creative. It was interesting for me to realize that most of the banks recognized in the Finacle/BAI Global Banking Innovation Awards this year developed products that actually improved the financial well being of their customers.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bank Brand Loyalty Tested With Every Move

When it comes to lifestage marketing events, new movers have always represented a significant opportunity and risk. This is because consumers who move tend to significantly increase spending in a variety of categories while also changing their brand loyalties as to where they shop, eat, buy personal services and even bank. 

But, with new home sales in 2011 being 80 percent below the peak in 2005 (making the number of existing and new home sales the lowest in almost two decades), should bank marketers still invest in this target audience? Do consumers still spend at the same rate as in the past? Is this target audience even scaleable?

Interestingly, despite the ongoing reduction in home sales, the number of people moving has steadily increased since mid 2009, indicating that consumers in transition still represent both a risk and opportunity for marketers. In fact, the New Mover Report 2012 from Epsilon found that consumers continue to spend thousands of dollars in the months following a move, representing a valuable opportunity for those marketers who can identify and effectively communicate to new movers. 

The study also found three major themes when they looked at consumer spending habits, brand affinity and channel preferences associated with a move from one location to another:
    • Consumer brand loyalty is tested during a move, with new movers being twice as likely to change brands or service providers than non-movers.
    • New movers have an interest in changing and/or upgrading services such as banking, credit cards and insurance after a move.
    • Direct mail continues to be a highly valued channel for receiving information during a move, and is even highly valued by Gen Y consumers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Banks Transforming Branch Networks to Improve Efficiencies

A lot has been written lately around the desire for banks to transform their branch networks given the consumer acceptance of alternative channels and the need to reduce distribution costs. In the past week, there has been coverage in both the American Banker as well as in BAI's Banking Strategies publication (see links to recent articles and white papers below).

One such report, published by the financial market research firm Fitch Ratings entitled, U.S. Banks: Rationalizing the Branch Network, expects that both fewer numbers of branches and different types of branches will be serving customers in the future. According to the report, the continuously increasing cost structure of banking, accompanied by a challenging revenue environment and higher capital requirements is prompting banks to evaluate all expense categories — especially their branch distribution system, which is one of the most significant expenses.

Past Branch Growth

For the past 30 years, branch growth continued unabated while the number of financial institutions declined by more than 50%. The growth occurred largely through consolidation and de-novo expansion, with the objective being to expand a bank's footprint and customer base and therefore low cost deposits and loans.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Changing Definition of Convenience in Banking

Historically, one of the reasons people have chosen big banks has been their large network of branches and ATMs. Especially for people like myself, who travel across the country frequently, finding a place to conduct basic transactions without a fee was a competitive advantage for those institutions with a wide distribution network.

Recently, however, small institutions have been working on ways to erode this advantage, closing the gap through expanded ATM networks, improved online banking and now mobile banking services. In short, technology is quickly changing the definition of convenience for bank customers.

A recent study, The New Banking Value Proposition, from market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, finds that credit unions and smaller banks are maintaining their perception of having high levels of personalized service while also catching up with their larger competitors in terms of banking convenience. For those smaller institutions who are focusing on new technologies, this can allow them to more effectively compete for the increasing number of accounts in motion. Additional findings include:

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Impact of the iPhone 5 on Bank Marketing

So, the anticipation is over and the newest version of the iPhone has been introduced. When all was said and done, there were few surprises left as to what the iPhone 5 would offer, and for those of us who were crossing our fingers for the possibility of NFC integration (and further payments disruption), there may have even been a bit of disappointment.

And while additional enhancements to the Passbook app provides a glimpse into the potential for a head on competition with Google Wallet for payments supremacy in the future, the shop-with-your-phone coupon capability is not applicable to most bank marketers. What should be of more importance to bank marketers is the additional marketing real estate provided with the new phone and the growth in sales that may be on the horizon.

Bank marketers should see promise with the iPhone 5's larger, 4-inch screen with Retina display which provides 18% more pixels for delivering enhanced mobile ads, banners, landing pages and interactive campaigns. While the extra pixels may not seem like much, it moves the iPhone experience closer to that of the iPad, which has already proven itself to be a major tool for consumer consumption. And for those who are still tablet-less, it is possible that this new device will a bridge for engaged behavior.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bank of America Should Become a Credit Union

I have decided that the best course of action for Bank of America may be to become a credit union. Despite the regulatory hurdles and government scrutiny that the bank would need to deal with, it may be an easier course of action than trying to catch a break with our industry's trade press, the general media and definitely those using social media to respond to every move the bank makes.

For instance, American Banker published a story last week from Ed Roberts entitled, Bank Transfer Day Spurs Big Membership Growth at CUs. The story cited that the credit union industry had near record growth in the second half of 2011 . . . 'after the ill-fated September announcement by Bank of America of monthly debit fees prompted Bank Transfer Day'. This growth of 850,000 members in the final six months of the year contributed to an annual growth for the credit union industry of almost 1.3 million new accounts, reported the NCUA.

According to my calculations, a growth of 850,000 new members for the second half of 2011 represents an average of fewer than one incremental new account per credit union (not per branch) a day. The statistics are roughly the same when you look at the annual growth rate as well. Assuming that the number of new members represented incremental growth, the 1.3 million new members reflect only a 1.4% growth over 2010 according to the 2010 Government Census. 

How does this become newsworthy? In almost all U.S. major newspapers, a version of this article ran including a reference to both Bank Transfer Day and Bank of America. The Los Angeles Times ran a headline, Banks' Fees Pay Off - For Credit Unions while Forbes ran an even more sensationalized headline, Credit Unions Membership Soars as Customers Spurn Big Banks. Does any other industry get as much press for close to flat line growth? Shouldn't this be more realistically considered business as usual? 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Banks Need to Collect More Insights to Communicate Effectively

By Bob Williams, Director of Marketing Technologies at Harland Clarke and author of the blog, The Merchant Stand.
A friend and colleague Jim Marous shared an article from American Banker on Googe+ entitled Banks Underuse Mobile for Communication. The article discusses challenges that financial institutions have with communicating with their customers through mobile devices. While mobile device applications and mobile optimized sites are becoming more common, and expected by account holders, financial institutions are not using the mobile channel for proactive communication. Kael Kelly, senior director at Varolii is quoted in the article “Banks don’t have the data that they need. A lot of the phone number data doesn’t easily distinguish between a mobile number and a land-line.”
So the idea that banks don’t know what data they have made me think about some other data that Jim Marous shared about financial institutions and customer data. Like this tweet about banks not having email addresses for their account holders.
The challenge I see is missing or unintelligible customer profile data. That problem expands beyond the boundary of the financial services industry. It’s really a common need for any type of business. Another challenge is the misuse (or lack of use) of the data that an organization has. Another conversation with Jim last week revealed that he noticed his bank mention that online banking was 'down' using Twitter. While admirable that they used a more modern social media tool for this notification, there probably aren't many people following Twitter the way Jim does. Making matters worse, they didn't use either his email address (which is tied to his online banking account) or SMS (the bank has his cell phone) to make this notification. In other words, the bank had the tools, but didn't use what was at their disposal.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Big Data Provides Big Opportunity for Bank Loyalty

In a new regulatory environment, banks are faced with changing the foundation of rewards programs that were previously funded by interchange income from credit and debit cards. With debit interchange funding gone, FIs still need to continue to find ways to improve bank loyalty and drive the desired card behavior. In addition, banks need to leverage “big data” and mobile payments in the hope that they can replace some of the revenue lost as a result of Reg E and the Durbin Amendment.
Optimally, the future of rewards and loyalty will allow banks and credit unions to take advantage of the “Loyalty Trifecta” (my term for bringing together the benefits of 1) payment and transactional insight, 2) targeted offers and personalized communication as well as 3) mobile offers and payments).
To get an insider view of the challenges and opportunities available to banks today in the area of rewards and loyalty, I reached out to the leaders of four companies that provide unique solutions to the banking industry and who also will be co-panelists with me at the upcoming BAI Payments Connect 2012 Conference & Expo in a session entitled “Rewards in a Mobile Banking Environment.” 
Thanks to Tom Beecher, CEO, Cartera Commerce Inc.; Rob Heiser, President and CEO, Segmint; Schwark Satyavolu, CEO, Truaxis; and Rod Witmond, senior vice president, Product Management & Marketing, Cardlytics Inc who agreed to participate in the panel and contribute to this interview.
Note: An abridged version of this interview is also located as a BAI Banking Strategies article entitled, Big Data Drives 'Loyalty Trifecta' for Banks.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Banks Need to be Proactive to Stop Switching Trend

According to the 2012 U.S. Bank Customer Switching and Acquisition Study just released today by J.D. Power and Associates, continued frustration with fees and service has resulted in increased levels of switching at large, regional and mid-sized banks, with smaller banks and credit unions faring significantly better.

The study found that 9.6% of consumers switched their banks in the past year compared to 8.7% in 2011 and just 7.7% in 2010. But not all financial organizations were impacted equally. In fact, there was a extremely wide disparity between the switch rates at larger banks (avg. of 10% - 11.3%) and the .9% switch rate of switching at smaller banks and credit unions (a reduction from 8.8% in 2011).

Interestingly, roughly half of those leaving big banks went to another big bank. This could likely be attributed to the importance of being able to serve the customer as their life circumstances change and the importance of convenience as defined by the customer. According to Michael Beird, director of the banking services practice at J. D. Power and Associates, "Our study showed that consumers at smaller banks and credit unions were more likely to shop for an alternative provider if their financial needs  changed. In addition, bricks and mortar and the availability of advanced mobile technology is a value proposition that has yet to be overcome by smaller banks and credit unions." The disparity between large and small bank offerings of mobile services was reinforced by the recent Javelin Strategy & Research study, Mobile Banking, Smartphone and Tablet Forecast 2011 - 2016.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Banks and Credit Unions Focusing on Onboarding to Build Revenues

There has never been so much pressure on financial institutions to maximize the revenue and relationship potential of each customer. With government regulations reducing fee income, historically narrow interest rate spreads, and consumer satisfaction with many financial institutions wavering, there's a need to ensure that once a customer opens a new account, every effort is made to help the customer understand and use their account, expand their relationship, and increase loyalty to your organization.

While time and resources have been dedicated to new customer acquisition processes in the past, a majority of financial institutions are now working to implement or improve the communication process right after account opening and for several months into the relationship. And instead of a single welcome letter (or nothing at all), more and more organizations are using a series of well-timed, personalized communications leveraging multiple channels to improve effectiveness.

According to the recently completed 2012 Financial Services Marketing Survey done in partnership with The Financial Brand, both banks and credit unions indicated that onboarding would be one of the most important strategies for the next 12-24 months, with virtually no institutions stating that the importance of onboarding would be less.

2012 Financial Services Marketing Survey

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Banks and Credit Union Marketers Taking Different Paths in 2012

According to a Rand Corporation research study, consumers usually select a financial institution based on convenience of branches, convenience of ATMs and bank fees. While bank users were more likely to select based on convenience, credit union users more likely chose with a desire to avoid fees. Consumers also cite personalized service when selecting a credit union.

With this as a backdrop, it is interesting to study the divergence of opinions expressed by more than 300 financial marketers from larger banks, credit unions and community banks as part of the 2012 Bank and Credit Union Marketing Survey covered on January 17 on both The Bank Marketing Strategy blog and on The Financial Brand

Faced with many of the same environmental challenges of increased availability of data, a proliferation of delivery options, imminent changes in how payments are processed, new marketing communication channels and consumer sentiment that has at times been polarizing, there are significant differences in how bank and credit union marketers view their roles, challenges and opportunities. There are also differences in the channels different types of organizations will use to communicate in the next 12 months.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

State of Bank and Credit Union Marketing 2012

Today's bank and credit union marketers are facing a period of big data, increasing devices and more communication channels than ever before. In addition, consumers are challenging the pricing and service levels they receive from their financial institution, and are willing to speak their mind using lightning fast social media channels.

To better understand what bank and credit union marketers are thinking and doing during this period of unprecedented change and opportunity, I partnered with Jeffry Pilcher from The Financial Brand to develop the 2012 Bank and Credit Union Financial Marketing Survey. More than 300 bankers responded from banks and credit unions of all sizes thanks in no small measure to our many friends on Twitter who helped distribute the links to the survey and to ACTON Marketing, who recruited many of their clients and friends.

The results of the survey underscore the primary challenges facing financial institution marketers today:
      • The need for better measurement of marketing results during a time of constrained budgets and limited human resources.
      • The importance of expanding share of wallet through cross-selling, especially with credit products
      • Changing the media mix used for integrated customer communication - with a greater emphasis on less familiar online and social media channels
    View Entire Survey Results   

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 Resolutions Bank Marketers Can't Ignore in 2012

2011 was year that many bankers, and especially bank marketers would love to forget. Not only was focus diverted by the need to respond to new regulations for the second consecutive year (this time it was the Durbin Amendment), but the image of our entire industry was challenged as foreclosures and bank failures continued to be in the news. 

The biggest impact of all of this noise was that attention was diverted from what should have been accomplished in 2011. As I reviewed my post from last year, Ten Bank Marketer Resolutions for 2011, it is clear that most bank marketers lacked the time/focus to make much progress on any of last year's goals. 

So, in writing this year's Bank Marketer Resolution post, I could have simply posted the same resolutions from last year (similar to what I do with some of my personal resolutions). Instead, I reached out to bank industry leaders from across the globe for their ideas. There was surprising uniformity in their suggestions, and a sense of urgency around the need to achieve much more than last year.

So here are the resolutions bank marketers should not ignore in 2012 according to industry leaders:

1. Validate The Value of Marketing Through Measurement: As highlighted in my recent post 100 Years Later, Marketers Still Have Difficulty Measuring Upthere is still a tremendous gap between what bank marketers implement and what is measured. Not only are there almost 20% of marketers who don't find measurement of results imperative according to recent research by Ifbyphone, but less that 50% of any channel is measured. Dan Marks from First Tennessee says, "Bank marketers should resolve to measure and optimize true marketing ROI – having the courage to seek out the unproductive part of the marketing mix and replace it with other activities that generate real shareholder returns." Serge Milman, CEO of Optirate states, "In 2012, bank marketers should resolve to have a more diligent focus placed on business drivers that can help manage and grow the bank," while Bradley Leimer, vice president of online/mobile strategy at Mechanics Bank said that,  "The number one resolution for bank marketers in 2012 must be to 'put data first,' since the proof of any program resides in the measurement of results." 

Jeffry Pilcher from The Financial Brand added a common sense resolution that is not always followed . . . "stop doing things that don't work." It is clear that if only one resolution can be accomplished in 2012, the measurement of attribution and program results is the most important.