The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing

A market test alternative for credit cards


This is a variation on the theme I cover periodically called Vendor Relationship Management (VRM).

The variation here is that the Vendor must place the consumers product up for bif from competition when they are considering changing the terms, such as interest rates.  The consumer would then have the choice of accepting the change, or accepting one of bidders. (HT Payments News)

A Market Test for Credit Cards

We have an alternative solution, employing a market test of a proposed change. At the time when the lender proposes a unilateral change, it would be required to put the existing account balance up for auction on a LendingTree-like service that would allow other credit card issuers to bid for a chance to issue a new card and take over the existing balance.

Borrowers wouldn’t be forced to switch to the auction winner. They’d just be given the option. When an existing credit card issuer proposes a rate increase, it would be required to pass on the terms of the winning bid and a comparison with its own terms, and the borrower would decide whether he wanted to make the switch.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 11, 2009 at 14:46

On VRM, Facebook, and being misunderstood for long periods of time


I simply love this post at RWW.  The post is about how FaceBook could turn on the power of their userbase to the benefit of consumer power.  I have long been a fan of VRM and at the same time at something of a loss to see how it could be initiated.  Then I read this post, and new lights went on.

The post is about FaceBook, but it is less about them, than it is about business models for dot.com companies with large userbases who insist on following tradigital advertising models. The whole ‘We have lots of eyeballs so lets monetise’ thing.

[disclaimer]  I have long believed that adwords, adsense, and any such interruptive advertising model has only a limited online lifespan, and represent a termproary interlude that keeps SEO types busy in these formative internet times, until we get to the next level whereby the consumer is truly in charge.  Only then will I accept a Web X.0 increment.

I look at myself and my online behaviours, and maybe I am in the minority, but maybe thats because the tools I use are not well understood.  My online experience sees almost no ads except when I choose to do so, and I do so choose.  I see them in emails I deliberately subscribe to, I see them when I seek them out, but my standard web experience is protected by pop up blockers and AdBlock Plus.  If in doubt how many have PVR’s at home, and skip tv ads?

Its not that I don’t want to lknow about products and services.  I just don’t want to know when I am reading, listening and watching things on the web.  This is the power and the promise of the internet medium;  it has the power to be better.  I listen to Sirius Radio for similar reasons; I want to hear music not ads.

Enter Vendor Relationship Marketing (VRM).  Terrible title, but in essence VRM says you will decide when a merchant (vendor) may contact you, ie advertise to you.  Until then stay away. Here is one of the more provocative catchphrases from “The ClueTrain Manifesto” which forsaw this problem and solution 10 years ago.

not2

The challenge is how to move from an interruptive model in radio, television, phone, mail, and now internet to VRM which would require a seismic and complete shift.

“be prepared to be misunderstood for long periods of time.” – Jeff Besos

Back to the RWW post.  Bernard does a nice job of pointing out that FaceBook is taking too long to develop a business model, and is taking longer than Google did.  He notes that it will take a radical shift in order to do that, and that shift will be misunderstood, but give it time.

I agree with Bernard.  The reason FaceBook and traditional advertising doesn’t work is because no-one wants to hear an ad in the middle of a conversation.  However FaceBook has the other benefit (some say weakness) of being a walled garden and Google cannot see inside.  He notes this is the perfect oportunity to turn that walled garden into a powerful tool on behalf of the consumer.  When they feel the need for a product, service or information on them, FB users could, through an RFP (Request for Purchase) process make it known to vendors, even to the point of naming their price or price range.  Vendors could respond.

This turns the ad model on its head.  The playing field is levelled between the merchant and the consumer.  If the merchant comes on stronger than the consumer wishes, or tries to return to old ways, the consumer can ignore them.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

Consider banking – every day thousands of RFI’s emanating from VRM services, and the banks can compete on them, all electronically.  Clearly this requires formats, standards, and defined processes but it makes an interesting future world view, and one that FaceBook could kick off.

Written by Colin Henderson

June 26, 2009 at 12:47

Will Banks do social media?


One of the nice things about blogging is that you get to pick on friends as an example, so here goes with James. This is the comment I left on his post which rightly questions the validity of social media for banks as a marketing tactic.

I wanted to make some additional comments, and they follow, and I REALLY look forward to Ron’s views.

Why Banks won’t do social media | Bankervision

James – couldn’t disagree more – message here from the echo chamber.

This is social media.

Here is why banks (that survive) will do social media. I picked Lloyds Bank at random, and this link is a google search for this string “I love lloyds bank”

http://tinyurl.com/5sqp2h

Social media is not banner ads in FaceBook. That closed walled garden is all to often picked as the definition of social media but not so. Social media is probably the wrong word anyway – at issue is being where your customers are and having conversations with them.

How do we pick branch locations? We pick them because there are office buildings, residential density, new growth areas etc. Branch managers join the chamber of commerce, and other local associations to meet people and chat with them. This is classic banking 101 and build confidence and trust.

Social media is understanding this new location called internet that is not just essential, but fundamental to Gen X/Y as well as a few older fogies.

Back to the Google search. This simple example exemplifies the conversations about Lloyds Bank whether the employees choose to participate or not.

Relevance to Bankwatch:

I think the real point here is that peoples behaviors are shifting. That shift is not the shift from using one media to another. This is not (imho) on the same linear shift as from radio to TV to ….. Instead internet brings a new dimension and with it enormous social (small s) change and accompanying new behaviors. The addition of mobile applications beyond texting will only enhance and supplement this shift.

One outcome is a desire for greater personalisation in the sense of talking to and hearing from real people. Again web 2.0 tools supplement that. Cluetrain said in 1999 that “markets are conversations”.

– join the conversation

– join the conversation online

To me, social media means understanding consumer behaviour and adapting to that behaviour.

This implies a shift in focus for banks, away from traditional marketing, and towards conversations.

Written by Colin Henderson

November 30, 2008 at 19:25

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