Monday, September 19, 2011

Marketers Not Aligned With Consumer Marketing Channel Preferences

Technology is rapidly changing the way consumers interact. We wake up each day to a barrage of messages coming from both traditional and new media. We check our Facebook posts and text messages at the same time we watch television, read the newspaper, listen to the radio or conduct work online. 

Marketers have long recognized the shifts in media consumption that are redefining how customers absorb information and offers. However, recent studies indicate that marketers may not be in total alignment with consumers as to how the new media is consumed and their degree of reliance on various media for making buying decisions.

A new research study by Acxiom entitled, Tug of Love: The Changing Relationship Between Consumers and Brands found that more than four in five people (82%) believed they were in control of the relationship between themselves and their brands (with 'control' being defined as receiving the information they desire, when and through the media they want). This was more than 50% higher than marketers thought, indicating that 'push' broadcast marketing is quickly being replaced with 'pull' marketing where the individual is in charge of message consumption.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Open Letter to BankSimple

On January 18, you impressed me when Rachel Giuliani from BankSimple wrote an email to me unexpectedly asking me for my "loves, hates, quibbles, hopes and dreams" regarding my financial life. Her email seemed surprisingly personal coming from a bank I had signed up to be part of a beta test several months earlier. In her letter, she piqued my interest when she told me she represented a 'new' bank that was committed to building the best possible customer service without surprises.

Her timing was great since I had been a bit upset with my current bank. Not only had my bank changed their fee structure without a clear notification, but they seemed to be looking for new ways to generate fees for actions I had become accustomed to not paying for. Sure, I could avoid the fees as I had in the past by maintaining a steady balance in my account, but even that had been raised to a level that really didn't correspond to the value I felt I was receiving from the bank.

You made it so easy for me to respond to Rachel's email since she even provided her email address ( And, as opposed to feeling like my response would end up in some black hole of customer service or would be responded to by a person not even named Rachel, it was easy to see that my new pen pal had been hired just a week earlier as the first of two customer service representatives to provide 'brilliant customer service'.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Banks Need to Make Love Not War

Over the last three days, leaders from the top banks across the country convened at the Barclays 2011 Global Financial Services Conference in New York to present investors with a review of results so far in 2011 and provide an outlook for 2012. Unlike the past two years, where this conference was dominated by bank presentations focused on TARP, credit risk, capital reserves and liquidity, this year's presentations highlighted the opportunity for organic growth and improving client's share of wallet.

For instance, Jim Rohr, Chairman and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group said that PNC will be focused on adding new customer relationships and cross-selling going forward. "If we cross-sell new clients, we'll see an almost $220 million increase," Rohr said during his presentation.

Similarly, Tim Sloan from Wells Fargo discussed significant opportunities that exist as a result of the integration of Wachovia. According to the presentation done by Sloan, there is a variance of an average of one product per household between legacy Wells Fargo (6.25) and the results from the Eastern footprint (5.29). He further illustrated that there is a variance of two products when legacy Wachovia is compared to the top Wells Fargo region (7.36).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Effective Is Your Bank's Social Media Strategy

Whether it is a company asking you to visit their Facebook page and 'Like' a product or brand or a peer wanting to keep in touch on LinkedIn, people are continually being driven to social networks according to Nielsen's latest report on social media. In this first report of its kind by Nielsen, it was found that social networks and blogs reach nearly 80 percent of active U.S. Internet users, and that social media accounts for 22.5 percent of the time Americans spend online. As expected, Facebook was by far the strongest social media brand.

In addition, it was found that nearly 40% of social media users access content from their mobile phone and that Internet users over age 55 are driving the growth of social networking through their mobile devices. As a result, "there is a need for companies to engage more strategically in the social space than they do currently," according to Radha Subramanyam, senior vice president for media and advertising insights and analytics at Nielsen.

Social Media Demographics, Nielsen Q3 2011 Report on Social Media
With networking continuing to increase, and the need to connect with customers and prospects in the most efficient and effective manner possible, more banks are using social media as part of their overall communications strategy. But, while interacting with customers through social channels can be effective, measuring the effectiveness of your marketing investment is no easy task. In fact, while many of the largest banks in the U.S. and overseas are leveraging many of the primary social networks, their strategies usually involve non-financial initiatives such as sweepstakes, charitable causes, etc. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Differentiation Is Key Component To The Value of Rewards

Yesterday, it was announced that merchant-funded rewards leader, Cardlytics had signed a global strategic alliance with loyalty leader Groupe Aeroplan allowing for the expansion of transaction-driven marketing (TM) to Canada and abroad.

Unlike traditional rewards programs used by financial institutions that are points based and driven by the volume of transactions processed, the Cardlytics platform provides the ability to present highly targeted retailer offers to customers through a bank's online statement, mobile device or email based on the customer's recent transaction activity. Since the Cardlytics decisioning tool resides within the bank's firewalls, customer insight never leaves the bank and retailers never have access to proprietary customer information. In addition, as opposed to the points reward program being a cost to the bank, the Cardlytics pay-for-performance model not only eliminates risk for the merchant, but also can provide much needed revenues for the partner bank.