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There are few banks, if any, that spend marketing dollars educating and counseling consumers in the art of saving. I guess there’s not a lot of revenue in it. Or is there? 

If a bank were to get a reputation for helping people save, when it came time to borrow, it would be seen as a preferred source.  

I am not a bank nerd and therefore not steeped in all the marketing ins and outs, however, I have not seen any innovation in the category, beyond mobile phone apps, in decades. And as for savings innovation, way longer. 

Banks have taken a beating in the press. A beating.  Was I to conduct a poll, I’m guessing between the mortgage mess, federal bail-outs and malfeasance, 70% of the pop would say banks are doing a poor job. The other 30% are bankers and their extended families.  So why doesn’t someone step into the void and establish a good old “roots” saving discussion (online)? Or innovate with a savings product?  

Wells Fargo is the only bank I’m aware of actually doing this — and spending behind it. Their “Way2Save” program (used to be called “Save As You Go”) puts one of your dollars into a savings account every time you swipe your debit card.  This is brilliant on so many levels: targeting, brand ethos, education, brand experience, loyalty and first mover status.  Now it’s possible some other bank or credit union did this first, but I just heard about it on the radio, so for me Well Fargo gets the credit. And it hits a market with pent up demand – one that needs to hear the savings message. 

The financial category is asleep.  It is not paying attention and doesn’t see the cloud over its head.  Saving, as antithetical to creating bank revenue as it may be, is a concept for the times.  Nice job recognizing it Well Fargo. That’s a good business investment. Peace.

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Social Media and Social Marketing have caused me today to alter the creative brief format I’ve used for over 15 years.  I borrower it from McCann-Erickson in the 90s, added a cherry and started cranking.  The original brief was written, I suspect, by Peter Kim, then the top strategy and biz-dev dog at McCann.  Mr. Kim has since passed, RIP.

The part I changed this morning had to do with the “Living Breathing Target.” Living Breathing connoting more of a behavioral look at the target than demographic — part of the secret sauce.  Today, the brief loses the “t” word and gains the word “customer”.  I debated using “prospect” but chose not to because as someone smart once said about marketing “nothing happens until someone buys something.”

In the social marketing world target is almost militaristic. Site and fire.  But the best marketers don’t view people as targets; they see them as buyers, users, and experiencers. Now, I’m sure you can read an Ogilvy or BBDO position paper from the 60s and get the same shtick, and good shtick it was, but here’s the social media twist.

While most social media agents today tell you the consumer is in charge, they ‘re wrong. They will tell you there needs to be a dialogue, and in in this case they are right. Marketing is no longer solely about broadcast and transact; there is a new bidirectional requirement. Consumers have a POV and they often log on and share it.  But consumers should not be left undirected with their points of view. They need to be herded. And herded around brand planks and brand values.

Customer feedback is not a plank. Price and coupons are not planks. Engagement is not a plank. The job of the marketer and his/her agent today is to find the brand building qualities of a product or service, organize them, package them and socialize them.  Targeting is passé. Peace!

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Loss of Control is one of marketing’s 6 most motivating selling strategies. (I haven’t locked down on the other 5, though “save money” and “better service” have to be included.)

I wrote a brief once for a home healthcare service catering to well-heeled, upscale individuals who didn’t need to rely on Medicare for payment. I called the target “Captains of the Castle,” a mixed metaphor indicating that not only were these people heads of household from a financial standpoint, they were one-time captains of industry.

Let’s just say, back in the day these individuals were powerful, proud and in control.  Now in their 70 and 80s, Captains of the Castle are still proud, but in failing health and no longer powerful or running the show. (You’ve seen this black and white movie, no?)

Most healthcare marketing in the home care category targets the caregiver. This brief was aimed not at the caregiver but at the care recipients — the Captains. The promise or offer was a specialized homecare program that gave them control back.  Control in their own homes.   (In fact, the brief generated a new product idea.) 

As you are writing briefs and segmenting your targets, don’t forget to ask yourself about the loss of control as a motivator.  And, as you are selecting your media, message and proof, don’t cede control to the consumer.  Media Socialists think that’s the haps and they are largely wrong. Peace!

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