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Guest Column: Make your ‘Likes’ meaningful

11-March-2013
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Guest Column: Make your ‘Likes’ meaningful

Six years ago, on a flight, I met the CMO of a bank who introduced me to a few influential people and told me what made her bank unique. The next week, I walked into that bank to open a new account.

The first bank representative I met asked me why I was opening the account. I told her that I travel a lot and wanted something to avail the new electronic banking services. She assisted me in opening my new account, yet at no stage did she ever ask me for my email ID. This was the first time they lost an opportunity to connect digitally. However, after I became a customer, I received multiple solicitations via direct mail inquiring about my email ID.

My new bank also had billboards on the interstate that said, ‘www.xxxxxbank.com’. When I spoke to its CEO, she explained that those roads were busy and thus, the perfect way to stay in front of customers. Imagine zooming down the highway and seeing a billboard that only had a website address. They had to pull this advertising down in three months.

The CMO had a different story. She was all about consumer engagement and wanted to capture as many email IDs as possible. She spent time berating her employees about capturing email IDs, would be upset with those who collected email IDs without selling the benefit of the programme, and would seriously reprimand those who collected email IDs that would bounce. She did offer an incentive for collection – a whopping 25 cents per collected email ID! Why did she think this would work? Postage stamps cost 46 cents and you pay your employees a quarter!

Meanwhile, this bank continues to ‘excel’ in marketing.

The bank launched a Facebook ‘like’ campaign by mailing letters to their customers instructing them how and why to ‘like’ their page. This campaign included an oversized card that advertised Facebook (more than their own Facebook page), a three page privacy policy, and a printed copy of their last newsletter. I think that they were trying to be focussed and save money but most of their customers, including me, were confused as to the purpose of the campaign and disregarded any of the intended messages.

The bank was inspired by a retailer who gave away money to get a ‘like’. This programme was launched, they got a few ‘likes’, and now they have a page full of ‘likes’ with no interaction.
After this failed marketing attempt, the bank hired a couple of comedians to spruce up their efforts. They enacted skits that were very popular and included the comedians on billboards, radio, and television ads. Unfortunately, the bank did not list their website URL with these new marketing efforts! Again, this was a lost opportunity to connect with consumers.

Think about doing these five things to make your connections meaningful:
Your messaging should draw consumers in. Think outside-in messaging versus inside-out messaging, which is completely product or brand focussed.
Your messaging needs to be conversational – skip the brand rhetoric, your consumers will appreciate it more.
Keep your messaging interesting – use words, pictures, and video. Draw your consumers in with intrigue and incentive.
• Keep adding value by making ‘friendly deposits’ to enhance your relationships with consumers.
Make sure you arrive consistently but be mindful of the frequency.

The author is Digital Evangelist, NCR Corporation

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