If new ideas got more than just lip service, the world would be a different place. Bank marketers talk endlessly about market segmentation and customized, "rifle shot" promotions, but rarely achieve them. The Internet is changing all that.
Rather then developing Web site marketing campaigns that fit senior management's conventional thinking-often with disappointing results-bank marketers can use tools that exist today to achieve highly targeted, electronic promotions that studies suggest would be most productive for net income.
Many bank Web sites are passive billboards with little customer appeal, created by banks more from a competitive, land-rush fear of missing out than by a wish to take advantage of what Web sites can actually do for their businesses. This not only turns potential profit centers into loss leaders, but it also means missed opportunities-an "unfortunate" scenario, says John Long, president of Toronto-based Quadravision Communications Ltd., which markets ME!, a database-driven, interactive Web server engine that gives bankers the ability to develop content-rich Web sites that customers can tailor to their own interests by answering basic questions about themselves when they initially log on, which, in turn, enables the bank to match tailored products to customers on an on-going basis.
Quadravision's ME! is causing quite a stir; count among its customers New York Life, Fleet Financial Group, Scudder Funds and Toronto Dominion Bank. Fleet svp of electronic commerce Blaise Heltai says that while he can't say how much money ME! has made the bank-if any-about 30,000 people have taken advantage of the ME! option to create their own Web site experiences. "But we do know that once (ME! customers) set it up, they do come back to it with some frequency," he says.