Gamble, Richard H., Independent Banker
MCIF systems are the latest tools to glean more sales
Hitting the bull's eye in bank marketing depends partly on how well you see the target. As regionals and superregionals expand into community bank territory, the marketing wars pit resident bankers with their native feel for the local community and its culture against out-of-state interlopers armed with sophisticated Marketing Customer Information File systems.
Now community bankers can stock a better arsenal of weapons. One vendor, The Centrax Group in Dallas, Texas, recently introduced a database marketing package specifically designed, scaled and priced for community banks. Industry heavyweights John H. Harland Co. in Decatur, Ga., and Deluxe Corp. in Shoreview, Minn., have acquired database marketing systems and are working to increase sales to community banks, while Harte-Hanks Data Technologies Inc. is moving to make its big-bank system more compatible with smaller bank operations. (See feature on choosing a marketing database system on page 40.)
Database marketing systems are built to give you sophisticated, statistical, computerized knowledge of your customers and prospects. Properly used, these systems show you where to cross-sell existing products and how to design and sell new products to customers most likely to buy them. By asking the right questions of the system, you can identify your most profitable customers. Armed with a profile of these best customers, you can go after new ones that have the same characteristics.
By aiming marketing efforts more precisely, you can improve the hit rate and cut back on wasted ammunition. These gizmos are not simple or cheap, but happy users say they pay for themselves rather quickly.
SYSTEMS UNDER S10,000
Priced under $10,000, Marquis from Centrax is making a clear bid for the community bank budget. Introduced last February, Marquis was installed at 15 banks at press time. But the system gets good reviews from Susan Moore, senior vice president and director of retail banking for the $314 million-asset Plano Bank and Trust Co. in Plano, Texas. "It's a good deal," Moore offers. "Everything you need is included in the base price, and it's written in plain English so you don't need a lot of technical knowledge to use it. You do have to learn how to phrase your questions so you get answers you can use."
The PC-based Windows program offers household tracking, geo-coding, profitability analysis, crossselling and board-ready reports as standard features. It also comes with a campaign break-even analysis worksheet. Mapping and graphing, sold separately by other vendors, are included in the core product. No specia . Il interface is required to import data. The profitability modulewhich makes calculations on the bank, branch, officer, product, household and account level-balances to your income statement and balance sheet.
The system's first-year cost is $9,850 for the full package. Implementation, support and maintenance are included. Three days of training at a Centrax facility is part of the package, but on-site training in your bank costs extra. Additional years' costs range between $6,950 and $8,950, depending on how many years you sign up for.
For further information contact The Centrax Group at 4004 Beltline Road, Suite 225, Dallas, Texas 75244-2328; (800) 365-4274 (voice); (972) 768-0451 (fax); or www.centraxgroup.com (Internet).
A MARKET LEADER
Centrax's software takes aim at another product Max$ell, which owns most of the slim community bank MCIF market. Max$ell came to Harland with the acquisition of Orlando, Fla.-based Marketing Profiles Inc.
Harland's prices are tiered based on bank size. …