The Financial Brand Insights - Fall 2021

WhyApples-to-Apples Comparisons are Less Fruitful in Today’sWorld

I’m not saying that traditional peer comparisons are wrong. I’m saying they’re insufficient. As a marketer, acting only on these traditional apples- to-apples numbers can lull us into a false sense of security and a plausible excuse to forego proactive urgency. The pandemic has, among other things, driven consumers and companies to seek virtual partnerships, and the success of these partnerships has opened the gate surprisingly wide for dyed-in-the-wool community bank customers to venture out. So while we “apples” are highlighting personal service, the oranges (fintechs, neobanks like Chime, mega banks) are offering pain point relief. For example, Capital One looks up coupon codes for you and Citi allows you true personalization by letting you earn premium cash back on the category you choose, like food or travel. I suggest we marketers can learn and adapt by modifying doable things from the oranges. For example: 1. The oranges are all over TV . Video works, but no one on the planet (I’m prone to hyperbole) is interested in seeing your building or watching two actors shake hands over a desk. Now is a perfect time to leverage your PPP contributions to the local economy. That’s a powerful story. 2. We each now have the attention span of a goldfish . Laser focus your message/content and support it with “How-To” steps and bullet point tips. 3. Extend the honeymoon . Most bank onboarding efforts are stiff, boring, and impersonal. Consistently communicate with your customers about next-step opportunities based on life, not your retail deposit menu. While the apples are meeting strategic plan KPIs and achieving incremental progress, the oranges

of the U.S. population has or has plans to open an account at a neobank


are energized and capable of leaping forward to create more seamless and satisfying outcomes. Which Fruit Is Most Fruitful? (You knew that was coming.) A fruit salad with both apples and oranges. Waiting for your core to help you innovate will not always put you as far front as you need to be. Creating a platform and bringing on partnerships with relevant benefits is ideal, but we need to know what those benefits are—which an apples- to-oranges comparative will provide.

By Becki Drahota CEO at Mills Marketing ” The more relevant your data, the more fruitful your decisions will be. - Becki Drahota CEO at Mills Marketing

Before I go any further, please note these 3 things:

1. Not too long ago, one of our Senior Account Managers sent this email:

“Here is an email I just personally received from T-Mobile . Yes, I said that right, T-Mobile, my cellphone services provider. They are paying 4.00% on up to $3,000, promoting that your stimulus money can get to you two days early and NO FEES. BankMobile is the partner bank making this possible. They are a division of Customers Bank ($18.5B asset size) out of Phoenixville, PA.” 2. Currently there are just shy of 5,000 banks in the U.S. Today there are 10,605 fintech startups in the U.S. 3. According to Finder’s article “Neobank adoption,” 30.3% of the U.S. population has or has plans to open an account at a neobank (digital-only). Chime , the largest neobank, has 12 million customers and boots- on-the-ground deposit partners including Walmart , Walgreens , and 7-Eleven . Now we can start the conversation. To say banking is competitive today is a revelation as surprising as acknowledging the Pope is Catholic. So why, then, are we still measuring success relative to a peer group that includes only banks that look like we do, act like we do, and operate in the same geography we’re in?

How do you track the “oranges”? May I suggest:

● Too many banks are concerned with deploying “catch up” technology , which from the customer perspective is table stakes. Stop being linear. Work on your short- and longer- term enhancements at the same time. ● Eat a few oranges . Have everyone on your management team open an account with an orange. Their experiences will be your real-time learning lab. ● Think about the T-Mobile email . How many of your customers got that same email? Or watched Chime commercials on prime-time TV? And remember, the more relevant your data, the more fruitful your decisions will be. n Mills Marketing is a full-service, strategic marketing firm with over 45 years of experience in the financial services industry. For more information, please contact Sarah Bacehowski , at





Powered by