Invest Financia Corp. has teamed with a leading credit bureau to help banks zero in on prospective investors.
Invest, which operates mutual fund and annuities sales programs at 200 banks, said its new InvestLink service will give bank brokers access to customized demographic and credit data that could help them land more sales.
The service was developed in cooperation with Equifax, an Atlanta company that tracks credit data on millions of consumers.
"This provides sales representatives with immediate access to specific groups," said John R. Richter, senior vice president with Tampa, Fla.-based Invest.
Invest recently began mailing information about InvestLink to 1,200 brokers at the banks it serves. The company plans to officially launch InvestLink at regional meetings this month.
InvestLink was developed at a time when marketing companies like Invest are battling for bank business against a growing crop of competitors.
Invest clients "are screaming" for a product like InvestLink, Mr. Richter said. "Banks and reps have absolutely insisted we provide them with a strong lead-management program to generate new footsteps into the bank."
InvestLink combines information from Equifax with Invest's own data about consumers' investing habits.
Demographic Data Used
Equifax uses a research tool called MicroVision, which collects and processes information about demographics, buying patterns, and ZIP codes to pick out prospective customers.
MicroVision "gives you the ability to precisely quantify, locate, and target your most profitable customers and prospects," said Robert Nascenzi, vice president of the insurance and investment group of National Decision Systems, the Equifax unit that worked on InvestLink.
To be sure, banks and other third-party marketers use market research all the time. Some have even used MicroVision, especially when it comes to considering the best communities to place new investment centers in, Mr. Nascenzi said.
But Invest is taking the concept a step further "by putting it directly in brokers' hands," Mr. Nascenzi said.
"Invest is saying, |Here are the tools you need. Use them.'"
Two Distinct Services
InvestLink actually serves as an umbrella name for two distinct services - NeighborLead and MetroLead - that can be used to drum up mutual fund and annuity leads.
With NeighborLead, brokers send in the names of key customers and Invest will sent back the names of up to 30 of their neighbors. This is based on the premise that neighbors have similar investment habits and objectives.
Invest charges 25 cents for each name the representatives receive in return.
MetroLead is more broadly-based, with Invest sending representatives the names and addresses of 1,000 prospects - bank and nonbank customers - in a specified ZIP code.
Invest charges $100 per 1,000 names for one-time use of each list, $125 for two uses and $170 for unlimited uses.
Invest accompanies the information with color-coded maps that show "hot spots," or areas where high concentrations of prospective investors live. Invest also supplies sample letters to send to prospects, a time-table for implementation, brochures and other materials meant to make it easy for representatives to use the service.
Mr. Richter said Invest spent about six months and "a couple of hundred thousand dollars" developing the service.
The company does not expect to make a profit from the fees it charges for usage. but does anticipate significant returns in the form of stepped up investment product sales.
"We see this as a service we provide to generate more business, in the form of increasing rep productivity," Mr. Richter said.
"The reps make more, the banks make more, and Invest makes more."