The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Archive for the ‘Pinkomarketing’ Category

What’s the worst that can happen?

 This post from Chris Kenton talks about the evolution of branding from Agency work to customer interaction.  It does it in a nice fluid way that aligns with how it should work.  Worth the read.

What if instead of all these carefully controlled studies and crafted messages, businesses just talked to customers and let them tell their own stories? What’s the worst that can happen?

Source: The Marketing Consortium : Brand Positioning in the Age of Social Media


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Written by Colin Henderson

February 16, 2007 at 01:53

Strategy Question – VRM for Banks

 I love these cross diagrams which are used as a means to promote strategic thought in scenario planning.  We used them at LIFT at Bill Cockayne‘s workshop on designing future cities.  The trick is to get the right items at each end of the line – not just opposites (High/ low, cold/ hot etc), but opposing concepts that generate debate and new thought.

So I was ecstatic to see this one from Christopher over at the Social Customer Manifesto.

So, the two big questions:

  1. Q1: Who controls the interactions between vendor and customer?
  2. Q2: Are the interactions focused on transactions or relationships?

Source: The Social Customer Manifesto: VRM Scenarios

This is relevant to Banks.  Online Banking is way over on the transaction side, and Banks (online) are really no-where on the relationship side.  Similarly on the vertical, (Vendor means Banks here), control is on the Bank side. 

So that places Banks in the lower left quadrant.   Remember Minority Report?  Tom Cruise walks into the Gap, and is instantly recognised, and an ad is spoken to him based on his Gap profile.  the Gap decided on that ad .. Cruise had no control over it – this is ‘facist’ marketing with all control divested to the corporations.  Marketing that is intended to shape you and tell you what to think.

Anyhow, Christopher does a fantastic job of describing the four quadrants, that I can’t improve on.

Where is the optimal quadrant?  To me the answer is clear – upper right!  Reason:  Here is Christopher description:

The customer owns her own information, and does with it what she pleases. In some cases, anonymous transactions are conducted, but most interactions happen with trusted vendors with whom the customer has dealt over time. The customer chooses vendors based on interpersonal empathy and affinity, as well as technical capability

To me this is the only vision that works.  The problem is that customers do not own their own information.  The opportunity for Banks is to fill that void by giving control of information to customers as if they did own it.  This would be responsible, and would gain enormous customer credibility.


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Written by Colin Henderson

February 14, 2007 at 20:16

Posted in Pinkomarketing

My Community Connection |

 Give with us, is a unique web application developed by Trabian, in conjunction with Filene.

Trey, Brent and the team at Trabian continue evolution of web 2.0 thinking, that aligns perfectly with the Credit Union business model, and pulls the CU’s even further ahead of Banks.

To celebrate this year’s 21st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Oakridge will be putting on a park clean-up day at Horton All-Sports Park. The focus for this year’s MLK Day project is to provide a safe place for kids to play.  This event will provide community members and organizations a day to come together and serve their community for a greater good. Tools and projects will be provided. Lunch will be provided for this event, as well as t-shirts and beverages. Bring working gloves and smiles.

Source: My Community Connection

‘Give with us’ is described on the blog this way.

The concept is pretty simple in that each Give With Us partner receives a branded website where volunteer opportunities in their community are posted. Take a look at for a prototype used by a Filene i3 project team.

Each Give With Us site can be fully controlled, moderated, and edited by non-technical staff at each participating credit union or non-profit. If you’ve got a volunteer coordinator or public relations manager, they’d probably make a good Give With Us administrator. (The tools are web-based and very simple, and we’ll be posting demos here soon.)

Jim at Netbanker does a review here.  (note Netbanker is having CSS issues, so that link might change).

Relevance to Bankwatch:

A clear theme has developed here.  Credit Unions, supported by efforts of people like Trabian, are leading the Financial Services charge to Web 2.0 (I know we hate that expression now) type services, with small, iterative and creative moves that align nicely with the Credit Union business model.  This will cement and further enhance their customer loyalty. 

Side note:  the opportunity is there for small regional US Banks to do the same.


Written by Colin Henderson

February 3, 2007 at 16:06

The power of alternative marketing – Starbucks

 This chart speaks volumes when you look at the relative market share for Starbucks, then look at their ad spend.

John Moore points out the reason, which bears out the promise of Tara’s marketing philosophy – pinkomarketing.

It’s just one more reminder that Starbucks spends its advertising dollars on making better products and better customer experiences and not on making funnier television commercials.


Written by Colin Henderson

January 21, 2007 at 03:23

Posted in Pinkomarketing

How can a Bank go online, and set itself apart?

 The problem with working in a Bank is that everything looks like a Bank.  You can always tell a Banker because your hear a ton of acronyms, and words like channel, multi channel, integration, etc. 

In fairness Bankers are not alone in their industry view of the world.  Anyhow, in preparation for LIFT07, I got to thinking about why Banks are having such trouble breaking out into the internet space, and with something that’s probably obvious to everyone else, I compared to others in different industries.

The well known, and two not so well known, (but will be well known), online names that are successful, are successful for a reason. 

In simple terms they made it, because they brought an innovation … a new element, a combination of not just self service, but with added value.  The key being added value that made the online self service, experience worth the customers effort. 

At its simplest, online is merely self service, but that’s kind of boring if there is nothing in it for the user.  Why should I do it myself when you (the Bank) are getting the benefit (cost reduction)?

So lets consider some big names, with undisputed business success, and their online angle that makes them valuable.  As I read the list, I thought of it this way … what does Amazon sell – books? really?  How about eBay … do they sell online auctions?  (note I omitted social networks until they prove a business model – I believe social will work when its tied to a successful financial model, such as Amazon, Flickr, and eBay have already done)

  • Collaborative Filtering
  • Reputation
  • Finding others’ information
  • Finding Yahoo’s information
  • Teens/ youth
  • social photo’s combined with control & ease of use
  • Simple and incredibly useful
  • Cheap and efficient – your virtual hard drive



  • Banks
  • online ATM – dumb terminal (pardon my bias)


  My take:  they all (except Banks) sell something more than the basic service provided. 

  • Amazon sell comparison service, and convenience
  • eBay sell trust
  • Google sell reliable information
  • Yahoo sell consistency
  • MSN sell youthfulness
  • Flickr sell control and immediacy, along with dissonant innovation. For example, – Information on which camera’s are used & ranked. What’s the odds the camera manufacturers are taking note of that, and what’s the odds none saw THAT coming! 
  • 37 Signals sell simplicity, and cross channel utility
  • S3 sell computing as a utility, at a very low price (for those who are curious, check out the owner, and consider if they are a book seller, but we digress).  If you are interested to pursue this thought go here.

These online brands have differentiated themselves from the competition.  These are brand names that are universally known (last two will be known).  The premise is that anything that hasn’t established a point of differentiation online, versus paving old cowpaths, is doomed.

The poor old Banks … held up as one of the most successful online ventures have none of that innovation.  They have automated that which was handled by tellers, but little more.  We see signs on the edge … such as Wells Fargo with the spending reports, but not much more – mostly just hard old style defensive marketing. 

Following that premise, are Banks are destined to go the way of the corner book store, and the paper encyclopedia? 

The innovations appear to be coming from vendors such as, Cashedge, Corrillian, OneVu, Scivantage, eFunds, S1, Andera, Accenture, uMonitor, and Infosys … to name just a few.  None of these are Banks.  The innovation is coming from providers of services, and Banks are buying those services at a rapid pace. 

But none of this activity is Bank business model changing or differentiating. 

Relevance to Bankwatch:

 Where is the point of differentiation that sets a Bank apart from the competition?  The pieces of Banks’ strategy are remarkable similar, and the analysts perpetuate this approach.  Words such as:

  • multi channel strategy
  • channel integration, and optimisation
  • customer segmentation
  • product simplification
  • customer centric
  • putting customers first

How can a Bank go online, and set itself apart?


Written by Colin Henderson

January 8, 2007 at 20:46

Toronto Transit Commission accepts influence of bloggers

 All I can say is wow!~ to this Globe and Mail story (hat tip Susan) where the Chairman of the Toronto subway (TTC) has agreed to meet and work with bloggers to make a better website and maps, that will focus on the people who actually need to use them.

The new TTC chairman, Adam Giambrone, seems to have accepted the challenge. Today’s Globe and Mail reports that he will be meeting with the bloggers to discuss their ideas, and a new site should be up and running by the summertime. !!!

Source: Customer Experience Crossroads: Co-creating with your customers: a TTC story

This is unrelated to Banking, but highly related to the point that even though customers have been totally frustrated with transit maps and web sites for years, the TTC did not hear.  Social media is different – now corporations are starting (slowly) to realise that listening to people is essential and replaces the old way, of corporate speak.  Like someone once said; its really hard to listen when you are talking.

Kudo’s to TTC and I hope they follow through.


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Written by Colin Henderson

January 7, 2007 at 15:51

Posted in Pinkomarketing

NYT | The Future of Web Ads Is in Britain

 This is a fascinating article, that leads to all kinds of thoughts about the future.  At first glance though it makes sense.  I look at Bank sites in the UK, and they look like Las Vegas, or Times Square with flashing lights, and huge billboards. ( Take a look …  Barclays, Lloyds, HBOS ).  Then look at the American equivalents, and you see a much more conservative view ( Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank )

The article points out that online ad spending as a percentage of budget in the UK, is double that of the US.

In the following year, Britain overtook the United States, and it has not looked back. In 2005, nearly 8 percent of British ad dollars went online, compared with 4.6 percent in the United States. And, this year, the two bureaus say, the Internet will account for 10.5 percent of British ad spending compared with 5.6 percent in the United States.

Source: The Future of Web Ads Is in Britain – New York Times

One key point is made at the start of the article, and that is the fractured market in the US, and I would think the fractured Banking space also contributes.  There are something like 7K banks in America, vs 4 big ones in the UK, and a few other brands, but many of those are owned by the big ones, such as Woolwich owned by Barclays. Anyhow the budgets are concentrated.

There are big differences between the advertising markets in Britain and the Unites States. In Britain, much of the advertising is national, while there are strong local and regional ad markets in America.

But there are more fundamental differences that support the differences too:

More than their American counterparts, British marketers seem to have bought into the oft-touted benefits of Internet advertising: that it is easy to track, enormously effective and a relative bargain. In Britain, as Internet ad spending surges, the overall advertising pie is not growing much at all, and traditional media are the ones losing out.

However, British media are nearly all aimed nationwide in contrast to the United States newspaper and television markets, where local and regional markets are big players. These local markets in the United States have, so far, been slow to move ad money online.

Big British advertisers have also been quick to jump at the opportunities provided by paid search advertising, like that sold by Google and other search engines. Search accounts for 56 percent of Internet ad spending in Britain, compared with 42.5 percent in the United States, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. “We’re all searchaholics,” said Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the bureau’s branch in Britain.

And internet access types also contribute with broadband more supportive of flashy advertising:

Similarly, broadband access in Britain at first lagged access in the United States, but has since surged. In 2002, 15.7 percent of American households had broadband compared with only 5.1 percent of British homes, according to eMarketer. This year, Britain is ahead, with 47.4 percent of homes having broadband, which is more than the 43.9 percent in the United States.

Then there is the more experimental and liberal approach accepted by Brits compared to the conservative Americans.

Some analysts say British advertisers may simply be quicker to embrace new marketing ideas than American companies. “I’d like to think there’s a cultural factor in the U.K., where we’ve been a bit more experimental on some of these things,” said Rob Noss, European chief executive of MindShare Interaction, a new media division of Group M’s MindShare unit.

In the United States, major advertisers are more dependent on traditional media, particularly television. The top 50 advertisers in the United States spent just 3.8 percent of their budgets in the first half of this year on online ads, excluding search-related advertising like that sold by Google, according to data from TNS Media Intelligence.

In terms of Banks, and financial services, they have been particularly aggressive in the internet space.

In contrast, large advertisers in Britain appear to be leading the push onto the Internet. British financial-services companies have been particularly aggressive online spenders, in some cases allocating 30 percent or 40 percent of their advertising budgets to the Internet, Mr. Noss said.

This is a consequential shift relative to the US, with TV close to taking second place.

In Britain, analysts predict that it will not be long until Internet advertising catches up with TV advertising. Group M, for instance, says the Internet could account for 25 percent of British ad spending by 2010. That would place it ahead of television, which accounts for just more than 20 percent now.

But of all the stats, remarkable as they are, this one amazed me the most, namely internet usage hours.  UK is almost double their American counterparts, according to Citigroup.

On average, Britons spend 23 hours a week on the Internet, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. The Internet accounts for about a quarter of Britons’ time spent with all media, according to Citigroup, nearly double the percentage in the United States. Americans use their computers an average of 14 hours a week, according to Nielsen Media Research.

For the final comment on this, I will go back to the first statement in the article.  Terry Semel of Yahoo seems to be working on the assumption all this is linear, and that the US is just behind UK. 

Still, some believe that online advertising in Britain provides somewhat of a roadmap for where online ads in the United States and elsewhere may be heading. “The U.S. is so behind,” said Terry S. Semel, the chief executive of Yahoo, in a recent speech in London. “It’s certainly lagging the U.K. by at least a year or two.”

Where does this leave us … I would not assume the US space will evolve exactly as the British experience.  If in fact the fundamentals are the root cause, the fracture markets, the fractured Banking system, then the logic that the American market will simply follow is flawed at best, and a dangerous assumption that could take marketers off track at worst.  Then layer in the natural conservatism that exists in North America (I include Canada) and a more plausible direction is unique evolutions in the respective markets.

I think the markets on either side of the Atlantic will evolve separately.  The only comparable will be closer alignment of internet usage – to me that’s a given.  But the extent and the way it is used is a different story, and the very differences we see so far in acceptance and usage of advertising is telling, and probably has implications for how social marketing might evolve.  That requires more thought, and for a future post.


Written by Colin Henderson

December 4, 2006 at 20:59

You talkin’ to me … update

Charles comments on the “you talkin’ to me … “ post.  Its a great comment that zeroes right in on the issue at hand.  Is Marketing an extrapolation of what once worked or, is an entirely new model required.

Its not an insignificant question.  The fact is that the newer things are the more they stay the same (or something like that).  So why might marketing be different.

What’s interesting is this approach is a perversion of something that started out very right. That original idea was the notion of customer focus-the idea that every customer is unique, and that if we as producers can customize all the way down to the level of individual consumer, then we can provide value and specialness to best serve buyer needs.

Nothing wrong with the idea. But it too often falls down in execution because it gets polluted by motives.

It make perfect sense when we first started to think about it, that marketing 1-1, at the right time, to the right person, at the right place (channel).  In fact thinking carefully about it that remains pertinent. 

The issue is that we (the Bank) don’t know the right time.  We can get the right person, and the right channel even, but the timing is always an assumption for us.  We have to extrapolate that when a customer clicks, or appears to read, or uses a tool, that they are interested therefore we can “sell” them.

I think there is a deeper change happening here that internet has brought about.  I spoke of it here.  Internet has brought a generation of people use to controlling their media.  It is no longer acceptable to provide interruptive marketing. 

No matter how customer focussed we are, customers don’t want that attention in that way.


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Written by Colin Henderson

November 14, 2006 at 23:49

Cymfony’s Influence 2.0 | "Conversational Marketing"

 Jim makes the point here that Google Ad words are web 1.0 instruments, and akin to placing radio ads on TV.  They could be somewhat effective, but not optimal in a web 2.0 world.  I buy that logic.

Web 2.0 is about empowerment, collaboration, conversation, sharing.  Interruptive advertising doesn’t fit that model.

Conversational Marketing. The insight driving the idea is deceptively simple: if consumers go to blogs to be part of a conversation, the ads should invite them to enter a conversation with the marketer.

Source: Cymfony’s Influence 2.0: Great Ideas I learned in October — Part 3

The link above goes to an August piece by the title conversational marketing.  It quotes Tom Troja and Tom Hespos.

Conversational Marketing, explains Troja, “is the marketing strategy of connecting directly to the marketplace through online conversation. It is a direct and completely transparent interaction with customers, potential customers, brand fans and brand detractors.

Key for me here is the degree of focus. The focus is not on a segment … the focus is on interested people.  Their interest could be positive (customers) or negative (brand detractors) but the key is that only interested parties are engaged.  This dramatically increases the quality of the interaction, and the responses both from the customers, and from the company will have relevance.

I see this as a component in the methodology to work towards new marketing/ pinkomarketing.


Written by Colin Henderson

November 14, 2006 at 21:01

Genuine VC: (The Beginnings of) Social Commerce

 Not a bad post from David.  He has a couple of links from this post talking about advertorials that I don’t get, but this post has some real legs, and the concluding paragraph is actually very good.

The above are probably just the tip of the iceberg. I envision a day where you can search your social network to find and see what products others who you know own -and- whether or not they like them. Moreover, you could learn about the people you don’t know when they recommend a product (which you don’t know now on -traditional- shopping engines). With this information, you could make a more informed buying decision about products you are considering – and keep up to date on the ones you don’t yet know you should be buying. This info would more than just allow individuals to keep up with the Joneses…..

True social commerce would provide consumers with rich social context and relevancy to the purchases which they are making.

Source: Genuine VC: (The Beginnings of) Social Commerce

It touches on the core of the community of interest driven marketspace, vs the brand driven one.


Written by Colin Henderson

November 4, 2006 at 00:43

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