Sweeping Bank Perception Under the Carpet
The marketing team at Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bank, serving the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions, is quite aware of research that shows the general consumer's perception of a bank is that a bank is a bank is a bank.
To show that not all financial institutions are the same, Keh Kwek, director of retail product management and strategic marketing, Shara Jordan, marketing services project analyst and Liz Huhn, vice president and manager, retail product management, conceived of a unique sweepstakes premium campaign that offers prospects the chance to win something so much more than a toasterit offers a chance to win a cruise.
"We needed to break out of that commodity-type mind-set, and not be 'just a bank.' That's how we're driving in the traffic needed to generate new checking accounts ... through organic growth," says Mary Mihalik, vice president and manager of retail marketing services, and a new member of Sovereign's marketing group.
Mihalik notes that this "Cruise the Caribbean" sweepstakes is Sovereign's second sweeps this year; a "Gardens of Paradise" Hawaiian sweepstakes was the first. She explains that the purpose of the sweeps is to increase the number of new Sovereign personal checking accounts and that the responses received for both have proven the effort effective.
"Response to this promotion was beyond our expectations. It's been well-received by our customers, as entries were automatically generated when customers opened their personal checking accounts," says Mihalik. "We're realizing a significant increase in year-over-year mailed responses."
Inside this colorful 10-panel mailer, which bears the appealing image of a cruise ship cutting through the ocean, is an abundance of promotional information regarding a free checking account and various other account details, red-carpet customer service, the chance to win the Caribbean cruise, a listing of nearby bank locations with maps and a leather duffel bag with an estimated retail value of $50Sovereign's new-account "Thank You" gift premium offer (536SOVBAN0703X).
While she could not be too specific, Mihalik says this campaign is mailed to both medium and very large populations, with varying amounts of information included in each mailing.
What Mihalik would say, however, is that a different thank-you gift is offered for each cycle. "We do our best to provide a gift that works well with the sweepstakes, and that coincides with the target audience for the offer," she says. "Our basic gift-selection criteria involves: gender-neutral, high perceived value, reflects the Sovereign image and, of course, fits into our acquisition model."
So, will Sovereign continue to mail sweepstakes to generate new accounts? "Yes," says Mihalik. "A 'Just 4x4 Fun' Sweepstakes is currently taking place. When a customer opens any personal checking account, they'll automatically be entered to win a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And, in addition to the sweeps, we will continue to test a variety of other offer types as we leverage our learning from each cycle."
Sharon R. Cole