Magazine article American Banker

Promotion's Benefits, Hidden and Otherwise

Magazine article American Banker

Promotion's Benefits, Hidden and Otherwise

Article excerpt

Community banks often fail to take advantage of the benefits that come with promotions.

The most obvious reason for having a promotion is, of course, to gain business, but first the bank really has to have something worthwhile to promote.

If your bank has a competitive rate to offer on deposits or loans that should attract new customers, or if its service charges or other fees are lower than are generally available, spell it out.

Washington Mutual Bank of Seattle has done a superb job of promoting the free use of its automated teller machines, even for noncustomers, while Commerce Bank in Cherry Hill, N.J., has stressed its convenient hours, including on Sundays.

If you have made any recent improvements in your rates or services, be specific in talking about them.

Some bankers will say that if you want to raise your rates by, say, half a percentage point, raise them a quarter percentage point at a time, so you'll have a longer period of time in which to say something newsworthy in your ads.

Banks would even be wise to promote such services as check imaging. While attracting customers is not the chief aim of check imaging -- it is, by and large, a cost-saving issue -- banks can get customers on board by promoting imaging as a "voucher safekeeping service."

Of course, management must make sure that it can deliver what it is promoting. There is nothing worse for a bank's image than to advertise some product or rate and then not be able to produce it, or to pull a bait-and-switch.

In addition to generating more business for your bank, using advertising and promotions to build name recognition can be of real value for your bank's stock. …

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