Financial Marketing and Cross Selling Blog
We all know the phrase “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” This is never more true than with banks and credit unions today. Based on research completed by Truebridge, Cross Selling Success Factors, one of the biggest problems that financial institutions face when it comes to cross selling is that they are seen narrowly; as the place to go for transactions involving deposits and loans and not much more. How much easier would it be for banks and credit unions to cross sell if they were also seen as the place to go for so many other financial products that people buy as they move through life from sending kids to college to living in retirement. Research shows that people only buy an average of two out of ten financial products from their bank or credit union. That’s because these financial institutions often fail to take advantage of a golden opportunity to change perceptions.
At Truebridge, we have done research to identify the barriers to cross selling and published the results. In a nutshell, we identified the need for banks to shape their image as the place to go for more of their customers’ financials needs beyond deposits and loans. We also highlighted the fact that banks needed to do a much better job in creating referrals. There are several ways that these barriers can be overcome. Why aren’t banks attacking these problems with more force?
A recent conversation with the president of a community bank gave me a good understanding of their points of pain and it sets up a real catch 22 for the whole industry. The low interest rate environment has squeezed margins and driven down revenues forcing expense cuts. On top of that, new regulations are adding to the cost of banking. What is needed most now is revenue growth. But growth takes money. Money that is not there to spend. 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 >>
When it comes to content marketing techniques, one of the golden rules is to provide content that isn’t always tied to one of your products and services. You have to know when providing content for the pure sense of being informational to the end user is the right thing to do. For example, many banks and credit unions don’t offer health insurane but it may not be a bad idea if you dedicated some space for content related to the recent changes in health care on your website or in your next newsletter. You may not win new business directly from this approach but you will build your brand as a resource and not just a place to conduct daily banking transactions.
An example of this was well executed this past Friday when Salal Credit Union in Seattle, Washington decided to take advantage of the national Bike to Work Day to connect with the local biking community. The credit union had three what they called “commute stations” setup at various points in their community. They handed out ”refueling snacks” and drinks. The best give away were free bike lights, an important saftey item for those biking home in the dark, especially in a busy city. A tag line they used in their blog post that I thought was creative said “we care for your physical AND your fiscal saftey!”.
While the credit union is by know means selling biking services to their members, they are developing new relationships with each biker, jogger, roller blader or walker that stopped by the stations this past Friday. And knowing that it would be a busy day for such active bikers, they made the smart decision in promoting this event.
The show Lost, which had its finale last night, provides us with some important lessons to be learned. Some scientific, some religious but for the purposes of this post, the lessons are about what NOT to do when approaching customer service at your bank or credit union.
There’s no denying that Lost was a successful show. With the first three seasons reaching an average of 15 million viewers per episode, countless number of fan base websites, forums and meet up groups, this show was a monster when it came to creating loyalty. But looking closer, you’ll realize how the producers went about creating this strong loyal following. In comparison between the producers strategy and the strategy of some of today’s banks, you can see some similarities. For example, they kept coming out with shiny new plot lines (products) for their loyal viewers (customers) to talk about, and just when a new plot line was getting old and losing its muster, the writers (product developers) would think of a new story to tell.
The problem with this model is that when the loyal customers come to you looking for solutions to issues they may have with past products or services the powers that be don’t even know the answer. They’re too busy working on the next new product instead of focusing on making changes to existing ones based on customer feedback.
If you were an expert on helping people solve problems it would seem logical that when you provide helpful information it’s seen as coming from you and not another source. Unless, of course, you need to site the source in your own content.
Unfortunately for many banks and credit unions this does not translate. I’ve visited many sites where I’ve clicked on a link that said something along the lines of “learn more about…” and it links me out to a news article from a local or major media outlet. Or worse, it sends me to a government website.
But it was a recent Tweet that reminded me to write about this subject. The message said, “5 ways to kill your credit score”. A great subject for a client of a bank or credit union to learn more about. The shortened URL then took me out to an MSN Money article. Mind you, this was a credit union sending out the message.
Now, I’m all for sharing links to sources that may be of interest to your audience, but at the very least, link them first to your site where they can read a short overview about the subject the article touches upon – then provide a link to the article in the body of the overview. You want to position your institution as the authority on these subjects. By steering them to someone like MSN you’re only confirming what your audience most likely knows, that MSN Money is a trusted source for financial news.
The easiest way to achieve this is by having a blog. ... Read More >>