T.H.E. Financial Group Ltd., a third-party marketer in Mechanicsburg, Pa., is making its new Web site the centerpiece of a marketing campaign.
On Tuesday afternoon the site premiered with a menu of pages meant to attract more banks as clients. The site includes the company's history, the names and telephone numbers of current bank clients, and a list of things to avoid when setting up an investment program.
T.H.E. is backing the effort with a direct mail campaign to bank executives in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. All of its clients - 22 banks with assets ranging from $750 million to $800 million - are in Pennsylvania.
In three or four weeks, the company will add features for current bank clients, such as training and research materials, said Dale A. Cake, marketing director. The company will also add some information for individual investors - primarily links to mutual fund and annuity companies - and eventually online trading, he said.
But banks will remain the primary focus, Mr. Cake said. T.H.E. plans to avoid some of the consumer-oriented features, such as market news and financial calculators, offered on many third-party marketers' sites.
Kenneth Kehrer, a consultant in Princeton, N.J., who helps banks choose third-party marketers, said that the Web strategy could help T.H.E. stand out in a field of increasingly similar companies.
"The key to this kind of marketing is to be at the top of mind when a bank decides it wants to look for a third-party marketer," Mr. Kehrer said. "Since the capabilities of so many are so similar, very often the one who gets the deal is the one they like personally."
Mr. Cake said that T.H.E. hopes to attract at least five new clients this year and 10 in 2001. In fact, he said, a direct mail campaign earlier in the year has already led to four new clients, and T.H.E. is in discussions with 15 others.
But the site, which cost only "a couple thousand dollars," could pay for itself even if it attracted only one new client, Mr. Cake said.