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The How to BE Points of Customer Service Improvement Programs

By Blog, Consumer Experience, User Experience

Making a MistakeToo often we spend obscene amounts of money acquiring new customers and then cut corners once we have them. Improving customer service is more vital than customer acquisition and costs so much less. Without customer service, your business will take one step forward and two steps back. And the damaging impression that poor customer service causes can last years.

When I was on the phone recently with my Internet provider’s customer service call center, every question I asked caused the woman to pause for 20 seconds before she answered. It didn’t take long to figure out she was looking up her answers on the Internet.

I quickly thanked her for her time, hung up, and redialed for a better-informed customer service employee. I also quickly ranked this company a little lower in my mind.

So let’s take a look at how to be an exceptional customer service program.

Be On Time.

When your customers need help, don’t make them wait. By the time your customers call a helpline, they’re already a little frazzled. If they’re on the phone, some promise you’ve made to them has already gone wrong. They’re hoping you can make it right. It’s never fun to admit you need help. Add in hold music and an extended wait time and you’ve just added another problem to your problem.

Be Informed.

As I discovered on my call to my Internet provider, training your customer service teams is vital. A great example of an informed customer service staff is the Genius Bar at any Apple store. While the term “Genius Bar” may be the most pompous name for a help desk in the history of help desks, these men and women know their stuff. When you go there you get answers and solutions; they’re not going to ask Google for the answers.

Be Empowered.

When customers call, they want to talk to the person who can solve their problem. Getting transferred to the manager and having to explain your issue to another person another time can frustrate the most patient customer, so give your people on the front lines the power to make things right.

Be invested.

Your customer service team needs to possess excellent communication skills. They need to be easily understood. More importantly, they need to care. Empathy goes a long way in troubling situations. When a customer feels that they are being listened to, that the other person is invested in their problem, they’ll walk away from nearly every interaction happier — even if the resolution doesn’t meet their previous expectations

Be available.

Customer service doesn’t begin or end on a help line. Many of your customers need help in other channels, too. Sure, a thorough FAQ page online is a good start, but it’s not enough. The next level of online customer service would be a well-displayed phone number to your help line or an email option. And, of course, online chats are the gold standard where you can turn an issue into an opportunity online.

Think your newly designed website solves all of these navigation and purchase problems. Think again. A recent survey revealed that 83% of customers need some human assistance before making a purchase. Translation? A lack of customer service can result in an ocean of abandoned shopping carts and the lost sales they carry.

An old businessman once said, “You start losing a customer the moment you get them.” The view may be a bit defeatist, but the idea isn’t too far from the truth. Improving customer service isn’t a tough nut to crack. It’s no ancient mystery. It’s a good combination of common sense and effort. Be diligent and your customers will be your customers for years to come.


6 Steps to Targeted Marketing for Your Marketing Strategy

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Targeted MarketingThe advantages of targeted marketing seem self-evident, yet many companies still use advertising strategies that would only be current in an episode of Mad Men. Too often in marketing strategy we use a bazooka to do the job of a hypodermic needle.

When you focus on the general market, you end up reaching a lot of people who are uninterested. This “spray and pray” method worked when you didn’t have to prove an ROI. In today’s marketing world, that isn’t relevant. Or smart.

A few weeks ago a national manufacturer decided to send me a sample of their product hoping to gain my business. It was a brightly displayed package and since it was a dimensional piece, it stood out in my mailbox.

There was one BIG problem: It was for pantyhose.

I’m sure there may be a market for people named Adam who wear their product. I just don’t happen to be one of them. They had wasted their money and effort. This mailing was not an example of targeted marketing.

One example of targeting a broad audience is an advertising legend. In the story, the media director of a large agency was presenting to her prospect, a manufacturer of a car steering wheel lock. She claimed she could cut his outdoor advertising in half and still maintain their current results. How? They would only run ads for the auto anti-theft device that commuters would see driving into the high-crime downtown area, not out. She won her agency the account.

That’s targeted marketing.

When you adopt a targeted strategy, your focus is greater, your results are better, and your prospects feel appreciated. And it all starts with defining your targeted customer.

Here are 6 easy steps:

  • Step One: Start with your current customers: Take a good look at the customers you already have. How old are they? Where do they live? Check out who’s following you on your social channels. These customers are so much more than an opportunity for repeat sales; they’re a wealth of targeted marketing information. Study them. Look for consistencies and you’ll find your focus.
  • Step Two: Leverage the competition: Do a little recon in your category. Find out what your competition is doing right and who they are reaching. After that, you have a strategic decision to make. You can either go after that same audience or steer clear of them and look for a niche of your own. Either way, you’re focusing in on a specific group.
  • Step Three: Study your offering: Take a close look at your product or service. List the features and the benefits. Then use that as a springboard to the type of person who would benefit most from what you have to offer. What you have could be good for everyone, but it is more than likely best for a specific target.
  • Step Four: Use demographics: You can get very focused with every feature you give your audience. What’s their age, their income level, gender and marital status? Are they well educated? What’s their ethnic background and location? The more specifics you choose, the better off you’ll be.
  • Step Five: Get in their heads: Now that you’ve focused on their demographics dig into their psychographics. How do they feel? What are their priorities in life? Imagine their opinions, interests and lifestyles. This way of thinking may seem like something that would help only your creative department, but it goes much deeper than that. Many companies have looked at psychographic and used them to influence their media strategy and on some occasions, their product development.
  • Step Six: Once you have your target audience, target them. Craft messages specific to their wants and needs. Develop media placements that hit their cities, zip codes, and even neighborhoods.

Your targeted marketing and marketing strategy will reap wonderful results. You’ll be more efficient and more effective. And you won’t waste time and money sending “Adam” pantyhose. And isn’t that what great marketing is all about?


Millennials, Print & 20% Off Greeting Cards

By Blog

Greeting Card Happy Birthday 01SSQ406You see them with their heads buried in their smart phones. They’re posting on Facebook, sharing a photo of their meal on Instagram and adding a “Snap” to their “Story” on Snapchat. Young people today, especially millennials, are the most connected generation ever. And marketers are looking to find the best way to connect with them.

Based on their smartphone habits, you may think that online, mobile ads and social interaction may be the best way to capture the attention of a millennial. But if you assume that, you’d be wrong.

Research has shown that millennials read books and magazines, read direct mail they receive in their mailbox and clip paper coupons from newspapers.

Millennials, Books and Magazines

A study by Publishing Technology found that millennials living in the U.S. are almost twice as likely to read a print book as an e-book. In addition, millennials would rather acquire their printed books from chain bookstores, used bookstores and public libraries as opposed to online retailers. It seems that millennials place a high importance on touch and personal interaction when it comes to buying and reading a printed book.

In February of 2015, there was a great article in the Washington Post that discussed the passion millennials have for print. In the article a 20-year-old junior at American University, Frank Schembari, said, when talking about a printed book, “I like the feeling of it. I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”

And, a University of Washington study found that even when students were given free e-textbooks 25% of the students still bought print versions of the book. Now, remember, these are individuals who have grown up with the Internet, smart phones and online but they still want to read a printed book. And this attitude has had an effect on publishers like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Both companies have reported significant declines in e-book sales.

And when it comes to magazines, 58% of millennials interviewed said they enjoy looking at ads in magazines. And here’s the best part, 49% said they have made a purchase because of something they saw in a magazine.

Millennials and Direct Mail

Research also shows that while millennials spend a lot of time online they’re most likely to ignore pop-up ads, banner ads and email. In fact, millennials and others often consider Internet pop-up ads as an annoying distraction. While millennials may be numb to digital advertising print still grabs their attention. In fact, 82% of millennials say they read retail and department store direct mail. More than three out of four said they read direct mail from grocery stores and more than three in five read direct mail from clothing and accessory stores.

And, when they read their mail, more than 84% of millennials prefer to respond to direct mail by going to the company’s website either on a personal computer or a mobile device. Thus printed ads are a significant driver of web traffic.

Millennials and Greeting Cards

If millennials read mail from retail, department, grocery, clothing and accessory stores then how do you think they’ll feel about receiving a greeting card in the mail?

Think of your favorite millennial who may be turning 21. Would they rather receive an email with a link to an e-card or a Happy Birthday greeting card in the mail?

Speaking of greeting cards, check out our 20% discount on greeting cards.

Millennials, Coupons and Catalogs

According to the 2K16 Valassis® Coupon Intelligence Report, 82% of millennials use coupons from newspaper delivered coupon books, similar to 79% of baby boomers. And 34% of millennials report an increase during the past year in mail coupon usage, significantly higher than Gen X and boomer users.

And when it comes to catalog usage, 54% of millennials say they love and look forward to receiving retail catalogs. With 49% of millennials saying they wish that some companies they do business with had a print catalog. Combine this with the push that catalogs give to online sales and you have a perfect match.

For example, online retailer Bonobos has found that roughly 20% of their first-time customers now place orders after receiving one of the company’s catalogs. And these customers spend 1.5 times longer shopping on its website than those who didn’t receive a catalog.

Why Print is Important

The Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology at Bangor University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to prove that content delivered in paper form is more stimulating than content delivered in virtual or digital form. Participants were presented with advertising material that was shown both on screen (virtual/digital) and in paper form while the fMRI scanner was running. The researchers found that the printed material created deeper impressions on the brain. The brain perceives physical material to be more genuine, according to the study.

The research clearly shows that millennials are comfortable with books, magazines, direct mail, and newspapers. It also shows that millennials find print to be useful and enjoyable. And we’ve seen that print creates deep and genuine impressions. So, if you want to reach millennials, print must be part of your marketing mix.

And, BTW, don’t forget to check out our 20% discount on greeting cards placed until October 31, 2016.

Is Your UX Driving Your Mobile Users Crazy?

By Blog, Financial Marketing, Mobile Apps, User Experience

Mobile UX CrazyThere’s a lot of mobile user angst out there with mobile apps. If you don’t know definitively that you are NOT driving your mobile users crazy with the user experience (UX) on yours, you probably are.

Being a mobile pain is nothing to beat yourself up about. The mobile landscape is constantly changing as are the needs of its users. However, here are seven tips to keep your mobile users pleased and coming back for more.

  1. Less is always more. The point of a mobile app is for a laser-fine, focused purpose. Your mobile app should be about a single tasks or benefit. It’s not supposed to communicate everything about your company (in fact, if it’s about you, then by definition it’s not about your user). Remember, your app should provide a service. If you can’t say in one sentence what your app does, it should probably be a mobile site instead.
  1. It’s OK to be old. Ever have a smartphone that gets a little long in the tooth way before its time? Too often this is done by developers creating for the cutting- edge phones. Users who have a phone that’s a generation or (gasp) two generations old, end up using apps that their hardware isn’t built to run. It’s OK to be current, but not at the cost of alienating a large percentage of your users. So, be leading edge without being bleeding edge and more people will enjoy what you have to offer.
  1. Be tutorial-free. Say what you want about Apple and the iPhone — and many hardcore mobile critics have — but every device they create is painfully intuitive. Ask someone if they read the user’s manual for their iPhone and they’ll give you that blank, confused look toddlers give you when you play “I’ve got your nose.” You don’t need a user’s manual because the user interface is that simple. Make that simplicity the goal for your user experience. If you think you’ll need a tutorial to guide your users through your mobile offering, you’ve got a problem.
  1. Be welcoming. Requiring user to log on using their Facebook account is cumbersome, obtrusive, and inhospitable. Not to mention there is a growing amount of users who have dropped their Facebook account. There are younger users who have never created one; they live on Instagram or Twitter (Yes, you are now allowed to feel very old).
  1. Is this really necessary? Before you create a native app, ask this vital question. Why are you creating this app? If it’s any version of, “We need to stay current to the mobile trends,” run, don’t walk, away from the project. Creating a web app for the sake of having one can do more harm than good. Native apps are very popular, but they are also very expensive. Look at your goals. If they are achievable with a mobile site, do that instead.
  1. Desktop experts aren’t mobile experts. Building an interface for touches and swipes is dramatically different from building for clicks. It’s like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it. Don’t make the common mistake of transferring your desktop UX to mobile. You’ll have users scratching their heads and dropping your app faster than you can keep track.
  1. Make it quick. Users download apps for speed. They expect your app to work as fast or faster than your mobile website. This audience wants to get things done quickly. They’re in line at the grocery store or waiting for the elevator. Every second is vital. That need for speed means your app should be responsive. Make them wait too long and they will disengage, forget they have the app on their phone and never come back.

The long track to mobile success is also twisty and narrow. Give it your time, discipline and patience to get it right. When you surprise and delight your user, they will let you into their mobile world, and you will become a vital part of their lives. And that makes all the time, discipline and patience worth it — and then some.


Mistakes Not to Make in ROI Reporting

By Blog

Major Target on KeyboardWeeks ago I was having lunch with a young colleague. He was beaming. The young man gleefully announced that his latest marketing campaign got him $140,000 in new business and only cost him $70,000. “We generated 100% ROI.”

My reaction might have been a smile, but it was more of a grimace.

The poor guy had made a major and common mistake. As with any business, there are expenses. He had mistaken revenue for profit. When you factor in his profit margins, his Return On Investment could be anything from 50% to nothing at all.

Finding your true ROI can be a tricky game. The math may be more complicated than my young agency owner, but it can be done and used as a vital tool in your business. Here are a few mistakes that people commonly make when calculating their ROI.

Playing down the costs: There are direct costs of any marketing efforts, but don’t forget the indirect costs of wages, benefits of the employees involved in the marketing and other overhead.

Playing up the benefits: When well executed, many campaigns will improve your morale, work environment and reputation. But there are usually more than one marketing effort going on at one time. If you don’t make any attempts to isolate the impact of the marketing effort you’re measuring, you may be overstating the benefits.

That pesky inflation thing: When projecting your benefits years into the future, don’t forget a very important factor: It’s in the future. A dollar even a few years from now will be worth less than it is now. Factor in a discount on future benefits and your numbers will be much more accurate.

Forgetting to get metric consensus: With any large effort, there will be stakeholders, many stakeholders. Be sure to collaborate or at least seek approval of the metrics you are using to gauge your success. There’s nothing more disappointing than spending hours calculating your ROI only to have a person who wasn’t involved tear it down. If you get people on board at the beginning, they will still be with you in the end.

Seeing all benefits as quantifiable: When certain metrics aren’t easy to measure, like increased sales or additional projects, they aren’t easy to estimate. Others, like professional development of the team, simply aren’t. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t measure these benefits, just know that when your metrics aren’t very measurable, your precision on your ROI reporting will be diminished. It’s up to you on how and what you wish to measure.

Having your ROI influence your budget: Your ROI should never be used when calculating your future budgets. It is a recipe for failure. The ROI for a campaign is a gauge on past successes to predict future potential. Your ROI is a report, not a crystal ball.

Measuring what can’t be measured: When your evidence may be suspect, when your outcome metrics are nowhere to be found, or when you can isolate this marketing effort from others, calculating your ROI won’t be worth the effort. And that’s OK. This is advertising; there are things that you should still create, even if you can’t measure them.

The Wrap-up

Measuring your ROI isn’t easy. It isn’t perfect. You may see it assume sort of mathematical dark magic. You may see it as the vital tool for insights that will lead to smart future business decisions. Either way, when you choose to measure ROI, make sure you avoid the pitfalls.

Get a better return on your ROI reporting. That way you won’t spout off false results at a business lunch. Although in that particular instance, I tried to cheer my young friend up by taking care of the check.

And I didn’t bother trying to calculate the ROI on that decision.


Store, Order, Customize, and Print Marketing Collateral on Demand

By Blog

Store Front Celebrity Cruise IpadYou’re a company with plans to conduct consumer outreach events in the top 10 markets with a strong concentration of affluent travelers. Your events will take place in cities as varied as San Francisco, New York, Washington, Toronto and Atlanta. You plan to sponsor events like the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado and the Chefs & Champagne Event in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island. Your challenge: getting the correct promotional products and print collateral to the various events on time and in the correct quantities. And, you must maintain brand consistency across all product lines and do so in a cost efficient manner.

In 2014 this was the situation Celebrity Cruise Lines found themselves in. According to Marilys Ward, Team Manager, Celebrity Cruises Southern California, they, “were looking for an effective solution for warehousing, organizing, and ordering our promotional materials. With a large team and a very active promotional event schedule having a tool that provided a clear and simple ordering process was essential to us.”

Celebrity needed an online solution that would allow their teams to create marketing materials and customized kits for the many high-end events they conducted throughout the year. Celebrity’s events required a mix of marketing materials and promotional items that can be customized to each event. Westamerica’s StōrFront® solution provided Celebrity Cruise Lines with the solution they were looking for.

Westamerica’s StōrFront® is a flexible, integrated, all-in-one solution that helps you manage your brand, your marketing strategy, and your collateral materials in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In this way the team in charge of the Aspen, Colorado event can build a marketing kit that meets their needs while the team in the Hamptons can build their own unique kits.

StōrFront® offers print-on-demand, industry leading fulfillment and digital asset management capabilities. It’s a web portal customized and branded to match your company’s current website. This portal contains all of your branded promotional products and print collateral. In addition, the site has the capability to allow users to personalize products, such as business cards. Users, who are assigned and employed by your company, can order the quantities necessary for their specific event. Users can also build marketing kits from the materials available.

It is Westamerica’s StōrFront® that provides the teams at Celebrity Cruise Lines 24/7 access to Celebrity’s marketing and promotional materials. In addition, we created an online form on which users can build a custom marketing kit, including all the instructions needed for Westamerica to fulfill the order. When the users click “Complete Order” a series of emails are pushed out from StōrFront® to various departments within Westamerica and the contents of the kit are pulled, and the kit is packed out, ready to ship and arrive in time for the event.

StōrFront® allows you to store, order, customize, and print marketing collateral on demand. It also allows you to store and edit digital files, videos and images with our Digital Asset Manager. You can easily manage your inventory, all from a centralized custom-created portal. This provides for seamless corporate and branding integration.

No one on your team will have to search through multiple electronic files to find the “correct” logo. Everything is kept in the same location. And, when there are updates to logos, products or print collateral, all changes can be made in one location and everyone on the team will have access to the new materials.

StōrFront® is easy to use and perfectly integrates traditional marketing fulfillment practices with the latest digital technology. When asked, Marilys Ward of Celebrity Cruises told us the implementation process was easy. She further said that it has an “intuitive platform that requires very little training time, and comes with incredible customer service. I would definitely recommend StōrFront® for your fulfillment needs.”

Thanks, Marilys, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Loan Generation: Increasing Your Portfolio for These 5 Loans

By Blog

What financial institution ISN’T interested in increasing their loan portfolio? Pretty m5 Types of Loansuch none of them—at least not if they want to stick around! For everyone else, that means there is a lot of competition for the loan revenue out there. Every institution large or small needs a marketing strategy with a focus on loan generation.

Loan generation describes the marketing strategy that identifies your best new prospects for a loan and, using this information, provides a preapproval at just the right time to capitalize on the opportunity. Proponents of these types of programs report an increase in loan portfolio revenues and a decrease in loan acquisition costs.

What institution ISN’T interested in those two line items? Again, pretty much none of them!

We use a program called Loan Generator, and it’s excellent for many parts of your loan portfolio. In general, the opportunities it identifies breakdown into two categories:

  • Missed Opportunities: When your prospects take out a loan somewhere else, we refer to that as “lost” opportunities. Despite your best efforts to inform and entice your members to start their shopping with you, they didn’t. In the past, you could hope your general marketing copy could get these lost opportunities to refinance with you. Now you can target those specific lost opportunities—whether for a vehicle, a home equity loan, a credit card, or even a mortgage—and convince them to reconsider.
  • New Purchases: Using the technology platform, you can define the parameters of what looks like an acceptable loan for your financial institution and then identify the people you have that fit them. Using this list, you can identify which of these solid loan prospects is most likely to need a new car, home equity, credit card, or even a first-time buyer for a mortgage based on “trigger events” or common life stage signals that indicate an imminent need.

Voila! In either case, a targeted list is born full of prospects ready to hear about your great loan product.

So what parts of your loan portfolio are best for these missed opportunities and new purchase. A better question would be which ones aren’t…but that’s another post. Here are the top five loan products for which the program is most effective:

  1. Auto: We all know how the dealers work: They get your best auto loan prospects back in their office and next thing you know, the prospect has a new vehicle and you have bupkis. This product allows you to get some of those loans back. Or you can identify those that are most likely to be shopping for a vehicle so you can send the preapproval…before they go back in that office!
  1. Credit card: How does a tiered-rate campaign sound to allow for better targeting in your new credit card direct marketing strategy? What if you could also identify those that had a good history of managing their debt? This technology can do both, as well as identify good prospects for balance transfers.
  1. Personal Loans: Increasing this product category is a great way to expand your loan portfolio. With personal loans, you can segment your prospects based on revolving debt utilization ratio. You can also tier the offers in such a way that you have a bigger list of prospects without taking on too much risk.
  1. Home Equity: This lucrative loan option is often missed by financial institutions because the prospect doesn’t even know you offer them. With the software, you can see who qualifies and is most likely to take one out, or who has already taken one out that you can convince them to switch to you.
  1. Mortgages: Like the home equity, some of your people might not know you have these (despite your best efforts of informing them!). You can either save them from a high-interest or adjustable mortgage option, or you can reach out to those customers or members that are likely to take out their first mortgage in the near future.

With all the competition out there for loan growth, you need a marketing strategy that is targeted and effective. Loan generator is both, and a great way to capitalize on the opportunity as it presents itself with your loan prospects—and recapture the ones you might have missed. The new loans growth is out there, A LOT of it, in fact. Make sure you are getting your share.



The Content Game Plan — Creating the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

By Blog, Financial Marketing

Who needs a content strategy?


You do. Seriously.


For many companies, content marketing has become the link between brand awareness and lead generation. If you can nail it, you’ll build trust with future and current customers. In fact, according to recent studies, search queries for “content strategy” has more than doubled in the past two years. It’s becoming its own medium. It can seem daunting, but with careful planning, a focused strategy, and precise execution, content strategy can work for you.


Wow. Okay, so how do we even begin?


The first thing you need to do when considering a content strategy is to get support from your stakeholders. Content marketing is not something that is short-term. It’s a long-term commitment and requires everyone to be on board and supportive to the point of involvement sometimes.


Having everyone on board means you’ll have to sell the idea to your executive team as well as other people with key roles in your company. When you talk to these people, make it about them, not about the content strategy. Talk about the company’s goals and then prove how content strategy and marketing can help meet those goals. There is a return on investment when it comes to content, but that return is not instant. This exercise is about building a relationship. Like all relationships, that takes time. Make sure you manage those expectations when pitching your content marketing plan.


They’re on board. Now what?


To be successful, you must understand your audience. All content needs to be relevant to their needs and what they want from you. To figure this out, figure out who your customer is. Ask questions like


  • Who is our ideal customer?
  • How do they make purchasing decisions?
  • What makes them happy?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What areas of their life can we speak into as experts?


Answering these questions will allow you to build a picture of the person to whom you are talking. Once you have that person, give him or her a name. Make it personal.


Gotcha. Did it. What’s next?


Great. So far, so good. Time to figure out what content to create.

Now is the time for research. To create content that will be most relevant to your customer, you need to know what’s out there already — and identify holes that you can fill with your information. Some ways to do that include:


  • Looking at social media channels with listening tools (a variety of which are free) to figure out what people are talking about, meaning what conversations are already happening around your area of expertise.
  • Take a look at your website analytics and see what brings people to you in the first place.
  • Look at the industry as a whole and find new trends and relevant things. Be a thought-leader.
  • Yes, just ask your customers what they want to know more about, what they care about, and what they want you to teach them.


Remember: It’s not all about you. When it comes to actually creating the content, it’s about making things your customers want. Is this a video about financial planning? Is it a case study about the current things happening in the market and how they should react?


This fact brings us to the next most important point: make sure your content is cross-channel and cross-media. Oh, and don’t just create content, curate it. Tons of information exists already and can be re-purposed and reshaped to meet the needs of your customers. Plus, finding existing content just shows that you’re out there looking and not stuck inside your brain (or boardroom).


We have lots of great stuff gathered. What do we do with it?


Plan, plan. And then plan. Think of content marketing sort of like writing a magazine. Each “issue” or month must be carefully planned out. Put together an editorial calendar to map out topics and methods of capturing them. This approach is good for overall content campaign strategy, and also a tool to show the executive board that willingly (or reluctantly) agreed to let you begin marketing this way in the first place. Let them in on this process. Let them approve the calendar before a single piece of content gets produced. Then there are no surprises for them, and you can go off to the races. The race to create the most relevant pieces of content for growing your customer loyalty — and your customer base.

Time to Start Incorporating Digital Marketing Methods into Your Strategy

By Blog

CaseStudySlide.Mellanox.5eMailEmail, mobile apps, responsive designed web sites, social media, PURLs, landing pages, the list goes on and on. Digital is a big part of marketing!  It’s a big part of marketing because mobile devices are a big part of the average consumer’s life.

According to Google, “82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. They get ideas, look up information, and make decisions, all from their smartphone anytime, anywhere.” Companies take advantage of the fact that consumers have their mobile devices within reach.

Retail and Mobile
A while back, my friend and I were walking past a major retail store when she received a text message with a 10% off coupon from the retailer. My friend was amazed. She asked me, “How do they know where I am?” I explained to her that it was a very easy thing to do. She had given her contact information, including her phone number and agreed to receive information from the retailer. Couple that with location tracking and the next thing you know there’s a coupon on her mobile device.

At Westamerica Communications we understand that the consumer’s shopping experience has changed. Research shows that foot traffic in retail stores has declined by 57% in the past five years, but the value of every visit has nearly tripled. The reason for this is simple. Mobile is driving local shopping and purchasing decisions. This is exactly why, for the past five years, we have been developing specialized mobile apps, websites, and other digital marketing methods for our clients.

B2B and Mobile
It’s important to understand that these trends are not just happening with consumers in retail markets. These same changes are taking place in the B2B marketplace. Data from Google’s Customer Journey tool shows that 42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. That’s a 91% increase in the past two years. And that’s throughout the entire purchasing path not just at the initial stages of research.

So, there you are, sitting on the couch next to your significant other watching a television program you have no interest in watching. What do you do? You reach for your mobile device and shop. Maybe you shop for a new pair of shoes or maybe you look for a new vendor for a particular product or service you need at the office. Today there’s really not much difference between the B2C or B2B customer. The purchaser may be on a lunch break or walking their dog. Either way, they are carrying and using their mobile device. These are what Google calls, “micro-moments.”

Sometimes it’s, “I-need-some-ideas moment.” Other times it’s, “Which-one’s-best moment.” And, still other times it’s, “I-want-to-buy-it moment.” Whatever the moment, you as a provider of products and services, must be available to your current and potential customers. Maybe it’s through an app that makes it easy for them to make a purchase. Perhaps it’s an easily accessed, information-rich mobile friendly website. Or maybe it’s a specialized landing page that they are directed to with a piece of direct mail. Whatever it is Westamerica Communications can help create the digital marketing methods you need to keep connected to your clients.

Let’s Grow – And let’s start using strategy to get there.

By Blog, Financial Marketing

No matter the size of an organization, everyone is searching for the perfect formula: The one that will grow their customer base and their ROI. Honestly, a company that isn’t growing is dying. It’s a basic Business 101 concept.


There are plenty of formulas out there businesses like yours are using to achieve a great deal of success. Our goal is to help you capitalize on models that already exist — while not breaking the bank in the process.


That sounds great, what’s actually working?


Start with checking account acquisition. If it seems too easy, maybe that’s because it is. It’s the simplest way to attract and convert new people, create lasting relationships, and serve as a reason to contact them with cross-channel promotions.


Think about it. Everyone needs a checking account. No matter how digital things go and how much people hate to write checks, they still need to be able to write them. And every banking transaction typically goes through this account, whether by debit, EBT or a classic, old-school paper check.


How exactly does this work?


Start by understanding your market. Spend some time on the front-end doing analysis so that you fully understand the objectives to set. One way to do this is by using predictive analytics to target your future market as well as existing customers. Then commit to an offer and make it appealing.


Why would someone choose to go with you over another institution? Incentivize the heck out of whatever you offer. (Sorry if we used strong language there, but this is important!) Do this and you’ll see results.


Consider offering a set interest rate for opening a checking account with you or offer a pre-paid debit card as a thank-you for joining. Then blast this offer out wherever you can. That means maximizing the offer across channels. Promote it in branches, on the internet and anywhere else you get traffic.


Once you get new members, retain them with a set onboarding strategy. Gather their email address and send follow-up offers, news, and incentives. Thank them for trusting you as a financial partner. Sure it takes a little legwork upfront, but it pays dividends.


What does the research say?


Okay, checking account acquisition is a great place to start. Next let’s take a look at the mindset people are in when they’re making the decision to change and how that impacts what you should do.


Research finds that there are certain reasons consumers decide on a primary financial institution. Marketing, negative experiences and life events are drivers in the market for people to switch. Some shifts in consumer mindset show that organizations like yours need to be “always on” as this is a driver for people considering a switch. If your brand as seen as available and caring, it’s easier to secure a new customer. Especially when they are shopping different institutions at once.


It’s also important to remember that the financial services path to purchase is not as predictable as it was before. Take checking accounts for example. Most consumers visit at least one bank or credit union website prior to purchase, with a majority visiting multiple sites. For this reason, it’s challenging for financial marketers that want to be where the consumer is shopping for new checking accounts. Sure, digital retargeting is still a smart tactic, but it’s time to start thinking outside of that box, too.


One more thing before we go.


Okay, the fact times are changing is apparent, and that can be daunting based on your goals and needs. But don’t let that get you down. Here’s why: Our research shows that prescreen credit data can be your most powerful marketing tool.


Great news, right?


Make sure to use this data to its full potential; it can be segmented tons of ways to identify a large pool of qualified members. In acquisition speak, that means targeting specific messages and incentives to people based on their needs, needs identified before your second point of contact with them. And that is the first step to acquiring new members — and growing.