Financial Marketing and Cross Selling Blog
My career in marketing, product development and targeted customer promotion has been about storytelling; how to get a message out, to romance a product, to turn a want into a need. From publishing (Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker) to film (New Line Cinema) to television (Discovery Channel, Travel Channel) to catalogs (Harry & David) , and working in every available communication channel, I’ve come to understand that marketers need to find something truly unique to talk about, a differentiator for their brand in the clutter of their industry, and romance that difference to the max.
Joining the community banking industry in 2008 was an eye opener. Here was an industry with limited product differentiation, trying in some ways to differentiate themselves from the big banks, but just as often following the big bank’s lead on pricing and products. Read more >>
According to the recent 2012 Bank and Credit Union Financial Marketing Survey developed by Jim Marous of Bank Marketing Strategy and Jeffry Pilcher of The Financial Brand, cross selling is at the top of the list of marketing priorities. With fee revenue under pressure from new federal regulation, it is not surprising that generating more revenue per customer is so important. This is nothing new. Looking at this year’s Grant Thornton LLP’s 18th Annual Bank Executive Survey, along with previous years’ surveys, you will see that organic growth (cross selling) has been a top priority for quite some time. Read more >>
I was reminded of the LiveSolid.com website during a recent conversations with Jeff Pilcher of The Financial Brand. The site was built by SunTrust Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a big blue site that unless you look carefully you’d never know it was created by SunTrust. Why a bank wouldn’t want to make it clear that they were associated with such helpful content is beyond me.
But then I took a further look at their own website at www.suntrust.com. As I dug into the retirement section I stumbled upon their retirement microsite. This site is very well put together and is a great lesson in how to create compelling online content that pulls your audience in and eventually can lead them to wanting to meet with one of your professionals.
Lets take a look at what happens when we first enter the site. At first we are met with four personas:
Imagine you went to your doctor one day and he/she diagnosed you with a minor sickness but one that required a set of treatments to help cure. Instead of your primary doctor detailing the steps you should take a new person walks into the office and begins to tell you what you should be doing. Now, how would that make you feel about your primary doctor?
Change up this story and instead replace “doctor” with your primary “bank”. With social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook gaining popularity among bank marketers, those in charge have been forced to come up with creative ways to find content that will keep their audiences entertained. And often times this means looking outside the institution to build up a healthy library of content. Now, think back to our doctor story at the beginning and you’ll start to understand where I’m going with this post.
Does this mean that you should never refer people to someone elses site? Of course not. In fact, this helps to show that you don’t just think about “YOU” all the time. A key factor in winning more business from clients. But the more I monitor bank and credit union messages through these social media tools, the more I realize that they almost never link to their own site unless it’s to a micro-site that was setup for a specific campaign. Or they may steer you to branch location pages, contact pages or other service related pages.
There are many consultants and marketing professionals that are talking about this new approach to marketing and PR. Some call it Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing or Content Marketing. What ever you call it, there are clearly those who don’t believe this is the right direction for their institution. Today I’m going to highlight some of my favorite rationals as to why this approach is nothing more then a flash in the pan. I’m taking these from my experiences in the financial industry but I’m sure that many of these same excuses exists in other industries.
1. “I’d rather my sales professionals tell my clients what they need to know versus giving the information away for free.”
This is a valid argument if you were living in the pre-Internet age. But the Internet has changed these rules drastically. Just ask your local newspaper how things are faring in the age of the Internet. People today have much greater access to information and because of this, it’s changed their mindset. Now they don’t just look for products when they have a need, they’re doing more to anticipate their needs by gobbling up massive amounts of information on a regular basis. A recent study from the University of California showed that individuals consume 34 Gigabytes a Day! Roger Bohn, a professor of technology management and co-author of the study says in this