Creative Trend: Banks Up Direct Mail, Focus on Savings and Customer Retention

Posted on 12/1/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

According to Mintel Comperemedia, U.S. banks sent almost twice as much (42%) direct mail in the third quarter of 2008 than during the second quarter. Even more surprising is that these 53 million direct-mail offers were also nearly twice the number sent last year—despite the critical state of financial markets.

Or because of it. While others are slashing marketing budgets, banks need to counter the negativity of the news headlines, if they are to survive. During the third quarter, the primary goals of banks' direct-mail promotions have been to reassure customers during the financial crisis and to promote savings products, on the minds of countless Americans.

Many of the customer retention programs are arising from numerous mergers and subsequent bank and brand ownership changes. Comperemedia president Pamela McHugh said that companies that acquire others typically feel need to reassure both old and new clients.

In addition, banks have stopped marketing mortgages and loans in lieu of savings-oriented products, such as CDs and deposit accounts. Mintel numbers show that banks sent over 300 times more savings-related direct mail to current customers in the third quarter of the year than the second. Direct mail solicitations for checking accounts nearly doubled during the same time period.

Though modestly, customer-acquisition efforts have grown as well. Direct mail targeting prospects was up by 8% since the second quarter of 2008. “It's not as significant as the customer communications mail. But banks are trying to take advantage of the uncertainty in the marketplace,” said McHugh, who expects direct mail to continue to play a major role during the financial crisis.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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