Reviewed and written by Jeff Stephens, CEO/Creative Brand Communications
In the summer of 2009, Bank of Utah knew one of its competitors, a community bank with many business customers, was struggling and facing likely action from the FDIC. Bank of Utah saw an opportunity to capture new business from the anticipated fallout, and thus was born their Find Me a Banker microsite.
A sample profile page shows business and personal information about one of the Bank of Utah’s business banker.
The site includes profiles of Bank of Utah’s business bankers, listing basic experience, areas of specialty and contact information. There are also personal factoids about family life, hobbies and interesting “fun facts.”
“We wanted to be positioned as the community bank for displaced business customers,” explained Greg Willis, Bank of Utah’s marketing specialist. “Our strategy was to communicate the importance of having an expert business banker, and how advantageous a good business banking relationship can be.”
Bank of Utah understands that people pick who they want to work with based on more than just credentials. Even in business, sometimes it’s small, unrelated things like shared hobbies or interests that connect people. This is why the “Request a Banker Match” page asks personal questions about hobbies and individual banking needs, (in addition to requesting information on business banking needs.) The bank states that upon filling out the form, “Matches may take up to one business day to return.”
“The emphasis was on making a personal connection. This person is more than just a banker, he or she is a fellow community member with personal interests just like you,” Willis continued.
While the site has been live since October, Bank of Utah didn’t really start promoting it until the beginning of December. Marketing tactics include:
- Web banners from bankofutah.com
- Banner ads on local websites, geo-targeted for the area where the competing bank is headquartered and has its largest customer base
- Direct mail campaign deployed by the bank’s business bankers
Bank of Utah says its site traffic has been steadily increasing, but it is still too early to evaluate results.
Overall, the Find Me a Banker site is a strong concept and solid business development strategy, but there are a few questions the project raises:
Should the microsite look more like Bank of Utah’s website?
Microsites usually differ somewhat in appearance from the brand’s main website, but www.findmeabanker.com looks plain compared to www.bankofutah.com. They don’t need to have the exact same look and feel, but the microsite could definitely use a facelift to make it more creatively engaging. Or, quite simply, just fold the microsite completely into the main website. This project doesn’t need its own website, just a catchy marketing URL that could route you to the Find Me a Banker section of the website. Then, all the cosmetic disconnects would disappear.
Should there be a version for personal bankers?
While the dynamics of business banking relationships are certainly different than personal banking relationships, one could argue that high net worth individuals may choose a banker who handles their personal finances in much the same way as choosing a business banker. When asked about the future of a personal banker microsite, Bank of Utah’s Willis indicated there are not immediate plans for a personal banking counterpart, but that the idea may apply well to their mortgage division.
How about some customer testimonials?
Why not include a quote or comment from a happy and satisfied business banking customer for each of the business bankers? This could help soften the “take-our-word-for-it” impression many consumers get from traditional World 1.0 marketing strategies.
Could it be more intuitively searchable?
There are about 20 business bankers you can browse in the Find Me a Banker microsite. Instead of clicking on all 20+ profiles to find your banker, why not have a system to help people with their search? What if you could find a banker who “specializes in commercial real estate loans,” or “loves dogs,” or “is active in Boys & Girls Clubs?”
Could the site be made more word-of-mouth oriented?
Advertising and direct mail campaigns will certainly drive clicks to the microsite, but will those visits result in exponentially more visits from other customers? With a few adjustments, the site would have the opportunity to spread with more viral effect. With the inclusion of some engaging value-added content on the site, and a few “tell a friend” links to facilitate the spread of the site, Find Me a Banker could increase its profile in Bank of Utah’s market.
Find Me a Banker is a good idea that has potential to become even better with some creative tweaks. Perhaps the most important thing Bank of Utah’s project points out is that developing strong relationships with customers entails connecting on a personal level. Hopefully the microsite inspires other financial institutions to develop their own customer-centric online tools
About the author: Jeff Stephens is founder and CEO of Creative Brand Communications (CBC), a full-service bank and credit union branding and marketing agency. CBC helps financial institutions find their story, tell it, and most importantly, prove it.