Survey: Bank Sites Missing Marketing Opportunities

By Costanzo, Chris | American Banker, December 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

Survey: Bank Sites Missing Marketing Opportunities


Costanzo, Chris, American Banker


Banks are luring customers to their Web sites but failing to turn those repeat visits into marketing opportunities, said Speer & Associates Inc.

Of 25 financial-company Web sites selected for analysis by the Atlanta consulting firm, only one -- that of American Express Co. -- was found to incorporate targeted marketing and personalization technologies.

Nearly half the sites offered transactional services such as the ability to look up balances, transfer funds, and complete on-line applications. Five were found to be approaching the marketing sophistication of Amex.

"For most financial institutions, transactional on-line services are the destination," said Catherine V. Corby, senior vice president of Speer & Associates, who presented the findings at the Bank Administration Institute's Retail Delivery conference last week in Miami Beach.

Banks that do not turn customer transaction sessions into marketing events are "wasting sales opportunities" and adversely affecting the returns on their Internet investments, Ms. Corby said.

None of the banking institutions surveyed had attained the level of marketing sophistication of nonbanks exhibiting "best practices," Speer said. Amazon.com, for example, sends proactive e-mails with customized reading suggestions. Staples presents personalized product selections.

In follow-up interviews with financial executives, Speer found that most believed their ability to mimic best practices in Internet marketing to be two to three years away.

The executives cited resource constraints; other, higher priorities; and the lack of proven returns on Internet investments as significant barriers. They also pointed to the complexity of integrating customer data bases with Internet systems.

Ms. Corby acknowledged there is a "very steep learning curve to Internet marketing." And though the technology exists, the appetite for investing in it is lacking. "We're talking about spending well in excess of $10 billion a year" as an industry, Ms. …

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