Retaining Your Account Holders When Rates Rise

Posted by on July 28th, 2015

Today there is an ongoing and active topic within the financial services industry about rising interest rates and how that’s going to impact banks and credit unions. The Federal Reserve hints that interest rates will increase, which can be viewed as a sign of an improving economy as well as an increase in lending spreads among banks. This shift could potentially benefit account holders, because they will have the ability to realize higher yields on their deposit balances. But while the increased rates is a positive for account holders, it can be viewed as a disadvantage to financial institutions that are trying to retain deposit balances and generate long-term relationships.

Today, technology is making it easier for account holders to rapidly take advantage of the best rate deals. In a recent American Banker article, Marianne Lake, CFO of JPMorgan Chase, mentioned that with account holders adopting mobile banking, it has made it easier “to move money to chase rates,” which creates challenges for banks and credit unions trying to retain those deposit balances.1

To help keep account holders’ accounts and balances, it’s critical for financial institutions to have an ongoing communication strategy to enhance account holder relationships, increase retention rates and improve overall satisfaction. A solid onboarding and ongoing communication strategy will help establish and maintain timely contacts with your account holders. It’s critical to welcome new customers and thank existing customers for opening new accounts. When done correctly, this type of communication strategy helps to “kick-start” the new account holder relationship and paves the way for productive cross-selling, and improved loyalty and satisfaction.

Communicating quickly after any new account is opened improves satisfaction and enhances the overall experience. According to the JD Power & Associates’ 2015 US Retail Banking Satisfaction study, satisfaction increases the faster a new account holder is contacted and is contacted by the same banking representative who opened the account.2



JD Power & Associates research also consistently shows that customer satisfaction and cross-sell effectiveness improves with the increased number of contacts.3



Onboarding should focus on those engagement services like direct deposit, bill pay, electronic statements, debit card, mobile and online banking. This type of communication helps to build the foundation of account engagement and loyalty before focusing on tailored cross-sell contacts.

Start early by building a consist communication strategy targeting both new and existing customers in order to create improved loyalty, satisfaction and retention especially those highly important deposit balances.


1. American Banker, (14, July 2015).

2. US Retail Banking Satisfaction. JD Power & Associates. (2015).

3. US Retail Banking Satisfaction. JD Power & Associates. (2015).


Not All Fonts Are Appropriate for Email

Posted by on July 20th, 2015

CreativityI love fonts. My current favorite is Piel Script by Argentinean art director, Alejandro Paul. But Piel Script, like many other beautiful typefaces, would not be appropriate in the body of an email message. I could use this script, but I’d need to flatten it into artwork, because the typefaces available across all email clients are limited. Many of the fonts we commonly use in print or even web design are not found across all devices, which means they won’t be visible by everyone who reads your email.

When you design email, especially if you want it to look nice on a mobile device, you are limited to web-safe fonts, meaning that you are designing for the reader with only the system installed fonts. It is a best practice to set all the HTML text in one of the commonly used font groups.

For example:

1. Serif fonts: “Times New Roman”, Times, serif

This is a heading

This is a paragraph

2. Sans Serif fonts: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif

This is a heading

This is a paragraph

When you setup your email design in photoshop, you should think about how the message body will display once your design is coded. In general, any sans serif font will be replaced with the most common sans serif font group shown above. I don’t want to setup my design with another of my favorites, Helvetica Neue Light, because even though I have this font loaded on my computer, and I can see it just fine, most of my email message recipients won’t. Their message will display in Arial as a default.

Another thing to remember when moving from print to email design, is that everything is specified in pixels, including fonts. We recommend a font size no smaller than 13 pixels for good readability across devices. Many fonts also have different word or letter spacing and when the font changes, this can alter your design by reflowing text.

Here’s an example:


So remember when designing email, use fancy fonts only as images. Flatten your fonts into artwork for a banner or image. Keep the body of the email simple by using web-safe fonts only, and you can control what your recipients see across all devices.


5 Tips To Implement An Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy

Posted by on July 14th, 2015

Omni-channel marketing is the newest shift marketers are seeing thanks to the improvement of technology, availability of data and the growing importance of business intelligence and marketing automation. The idea is simple – provide your customers with a seamless experience regardless of how they engage with your business (email, in-person, social media, website, mobile app, customer call centers, etc.). Also, don’t forget to consider the device being used whether a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

So, how can you implement and successfully utilize an omni-channel strategy to improve your customers’ experience?

1. Test The Experience Out For Yourself

It’s important to experience the buyer’s journey as if you were a customer at your business, and to do so, you have to interact with your marketing channels regularly. Is every step of the buyer journey a pleasant one regardless of the device being used? The message and experience needs to be integrated and consistent, and the only way to ensure this is the case is to test it out for yourself.

2. Measure and Analyze

There is so much information available, and it’s all attainable from a variety of sources such as a CRM, website activity, customer feedback, social media, etc. Using all your collected data, you can learn more about who your customers are outside of basic demographic information by focusing more on behavioral data and asking the right questions leading to deeper meanings and insights.

3. Build Customer Profiles

As this information is gathered, it can be pushed into a business intelligence engine, which helps marketers analyze customer behavior and build more complete profiles. As profiles are populated, segmentation becomes easier and buyer personas can be created.

4. Develop Targeted Content

Once you’ve identified patterns and behaviors, you can translate your findings to speak with your customers in meaningful ways thus establishing a higher level of satisfaction and loyalty. You can map out what types of content are needed as well as which communication channels are preferred to improve the overall experience. By truly understanding who your customers are, you can develop stronger messages that are tailor-made for them forming a deeper connection.

5. Refine Your Strategy 

The journey doesn’t stop once you’ve gone through the process once. We know that behavior is constantly changing as new technologies and trends emerge. It’s important to constantly evaluate your strategies and improve your segmentation process in order to keep your business relevant and strong in the minds of your customers.

The foundation of omni-channel marketing is big data. By truly understanding who your customers are, and the different channels being utilized as they navigate their way through the buyer journey, you can connect the dots and understand how they interact with each channel and what works and what doesn’t. This deeper understanding can improve the customer experience and satisfaction leading, hopefully, to increased loyalty and advocacy.


Smart Homes Might Just Be The Future

Posted by on July 2nd, 2015

Smart AppliancesThe debate of traditional websites vs. downloadable apps is an ongoing conversation for marketers, but the end goal remains the same… giving consumers access to the information they need, right when they need it. As we continue to compare each option and weigh the pros and cons to maximize our marketing efforts, new technologies may be monopolizing the argument for downloadable apps and making industry-wide decisions for everyone. With Google’s® recent announcement of two innovative technologies that empower specific devices with technological “smarts,” those who are on “Team Website” may have taken a hit.

Google’s Brillo operating system and Project Weave take the idea of offering consumers real-time access to information more than one step further. Brillo is a streamlined version of the Android™ mobile operating system designed for internet-connected devices such as appliances, farm equipment and vending machines.1 Imagine wanting to cook your steak a particular way and instead of reaching for your phone and looking it up on Google, just asking your stove instead. All you have to do is download the app for that specific appliance onto your device, and the convenience and ease of “smart” appliances gives consumers access to information they need, quicker than even typing it in.

Taking this innovation even another step forward comes Project Weave, a type of coded language that allows seamless and secure communication between devices.2 Imagine that when your alarm goes off, your coffee maker knows its time to start brewing. Then, 20-minutes after your coffee is done brewing, your car knows its time to start, heat up your seats and maybe even pick you up from your front door. This new innovation allows for all those things to happen. Once your appliances start communicating with one another, day-to-day life is easier. Mundane tasks are taken care of by a machine, offering consumers one of the best gifts they could have asked for — more time.

So what does this mean for websites, apps and the future of marketing? Websites may no longer be the number one place for people to visit if they can simply ask a device what they want to know. Apps linked with appliances and mobile devices might take care of all consumers’ needs and wants… in real-time. While both these innovations are in the beginning stages and have kinks to work through or features to add, the direction this technology is heading signifies a larger focus on ease for the consumer with little interaction needed on a website.





Venus And Mars Both Bank

Posted by on June 25th, 2015

Gender BankingMany experts have weighed in on the differences between how the genders tend to approach financial issues. Everything I’ve read suggests men have more debt and more savings, partially because of higher incomes. Yet when marketing banking services, best practices tend to skew communications toward the female who generally handles the family’s banking and sorts the household mail. However, as communications become more targeted and are delivered to individuals rather than households (thanks in large part to individual email addresses), marketing might be well-served by acknowledging different approaches to money management and spending based on both gender and age.

After decades in financial marketing, I just ran across a new term for the first time — money snacking or those smaller purchases that can really add up, just like those insidious calories that accumulate the pounds after mindless munching. I admit I fit embarrassingly well into the stereotype of the typical female money snacker… baulking at any high ticket purchase, while thinking nothing of acquiring yet another pair of black shoes, something most men can’t fathom.

Of course, these are just generalizations. There are men with black belts in shopping and women sitting in homes furnished with little other than high-end stereo equipment, but recognizing valid archetypes can help marketers tip the odds in their favor. This doesn’t mean simply swapping out the gender of the person in a photo; it’s about customizing the message to tightly align with the financial inclinations of the reader. The industry buzz is to target Millennials with positioning designed to meet their needs, but doesn’t that principle apply to all account holders? Don’t adult males also have financial needs that banks and credits unions can profitably meet? As technology and communications advance, so does our ability to target messages to be as relevant as possible.

For the first time since the government began tracking these stats in 1976, more than half of people in the United States are single.1 That clearly suggests that not every prospect household financial institutions are targeting for new checking accounts has a woman at the helm managing the family’s finances. Younger adults and males are taking charge of their banking and investment decisions, and our ability to use targeted digital communications to reach them has never been better. Now let’s ensure the messages we send through those channels are equality relevant.


1. CityLab/the Martin Prosperity Institute