Rates Aren’t As Important As You Think

There’s an old adage in financial marketing: “It’s all about the rate.” Recent evidence from two different case studies suggests that’s wrong.

Case Study #1

Take BankWest’s promotion to launch a new savings account, where they tested two versions of their online ads. Both versions of the ad were animated. In the first version, the ad started by introducing a big rate. In the other version, they led with a photo.

Bottom Line: The version of the ad leading with the photo generated three times as many deposits as the version leading with the rate.

Key Question: Have you ever tried testing two versions of your marketing?

Case Study #2

Yesterday, some well-respected voices in the financial industry blogged about a South African bank that conducted an interesting marketing test. One version of the bank’s loan mailer had a man’s photo in it, another version had a woman’s photo.

Bottom Line: The woman’s photo impacted the bank’s male customers about as much as dropping the loan’s interest rate by 4.5%. (Women, it seems, were less impressionable.)

Key Takeaways:

  • With both deposit and loan promotions, there’s a lot more to it than just the rate. Other psychological and emotional factors are at work.
  • Be brave and have the courage to experiment. Financial marketers need to conduct more tests like these.
  • Pay attention to what’s really driving your results, but be prepared to have your assumptions challenged.
  • The next time you do a rate-based promotion, shift your focus from the rate to a photo and see what happens.

Little details can have a huge impact on the bottom line. As one credit union marketer recently pointed out, even something as subtle as a pronoun can make a big difference.

Further Reading:

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