Mail Activity Highlights: Financial Services
Could there be a better time to analyze this sector? With banks failing left and right, a gigantic bailout coming down the pike and increasingly financially anxious prospects, it makes picking through the Who's Mailing What! Archive's financial services sector very interesting indeed.
The first thing that occurred to me and Paul Bobnak, archive director, as we were looking at the September mail was that this may be the last time we see efforts from certain financial institutions, such as Washington Mutual and Wachovia, that have been bought up. Meanwhile, the volume of credit card mail is considerably down. In other words, this is what it looks like when cataclysmic events overtake what' s in the mail.
Washington Mutual, for example, sent an expertly designed 6" x 9" self-mailer for its WaMu Business Debit MasterCard, complete with an affinity relationship with DHL ("save 5% when you ship with DHL Express) as well as a mention of many other merchants, such as Avis and Midwest Airlines, that customers can also save with (Archive code #550-667040-0809B). But none of these deals are likely to be in existence any longer, since WaMu is history itself. And so is DHL domestically, as it just recently announced that it is no longer making express deliveries in the U.S. Borderline surreal.
In an ivory, high-end #10 envelope, First Republic Bank went the opposite way from most other banks. Geared towards wealthier prospects, it sent a simple one-page letter on embossed letterhead that is personalized and offers a very generous home equity line of credit, and then is signed by the manager of the prospect's local bank (Archive code #535-636861-0809). It's the kind of personalization and customer relationship marketing that banks will need to continue in order to benefit from the wealthier prospects out there.