A Conversation on Marketing Best Practices

By. Laurie McLachlan, Andera

If you’re familiar with Andera, you know that we host lots of free webinars for bank and credit representatives on marketing and conversion strategies, and technology and innovation trends in retail banking.  If you’ve attended a webinar you know they can be a bit frustratingly one-sided; last week we tried something new and hosted a more informal “Conversation on Marketing Best Practices.

We were joined by one of our top-performing clients, Bryan Mishkin from University Federal Credit Union, and Mark Zmarzly, Senior Vice President of Financial Services at ACTON Marketing. We covered a range of topics and used GoToWebinar’s interactive polls to get feedback from the audience.

Most Successful Tactics

First we discussed tactics to generate leads, asking what online and offline strategies the attendees found most efficient. About 75% of attendees (around 40 bank and credit union representatives) answered each question.


Of course, as an attendee observed, the effectiveness of individual tactics can be difficult to isolate, making performance sometimes hard to compare, but it’s interesting to note which perception rules.

Referral Programs

Bryan, Mark, and I have all found referral programs to be one of the most cost-efficient ways of acquiring new customers and members. We spoke about following best practices during the session:

  • Use a clear incentive offer that’s tied to “good usage behavior” requirements (like having an account open and in good standing for 90 days and/or making a certain number of transactions).
  • Give the incentive offer to both parties – those that refer and those that are referred by friends.
  • Promote the program regularly and through multiple channels – on your public website, in online banking, eStatements, in branches, on hold messages, etc.
  • Make it easy for consumers to make referrals through email and social media – paper forms will severely handicap program performance!
  • Reward your top referrers with a special thank you to keep them motivated.

Mark referenced a popular ACTON blog post written earlier in February about Umpqua bank’s referral program, that did this in a very sweet way -“A Very Unusual Tell-A-Friend Campaign.”

Website Conversion Optimization

In today’s world where the internet plays such a central role in marketing, websites can make or break marketing performance. We’ve written about tips to increase conversions here, here, and here. Our poll results show that about half of attendees were thinking seriously about website optimization:

Site Exit Warnings and Compliance

Our conversation about website optimization led into a conversation about compliance when an attendee noted that “speed bumps” or “exit warnings” between the financial institution’s website and a third-party account opening and lending platform can discourage applicants.  In a nutshell, these warnings are scary and will almost surely drive up your acquisition costs.

Bryan spoke about the importance of working with your compliance team and he explained how UFCU has determined that exit warnings are not necessary for redirects to websites of vendors with whom the institution has a formal relationship. I wrote a post for banks on the issue here. Signature cards are a similar case, look back here for an article on signature cards shortly!

We’re planning on holding another conversation in April. What are you interested in hearing about? Leave a comment or email me at lmclachlan@andera.com. This is what our attendees said:

Laurie McLachlan

Laurie McLachlan

As Senior Vice President of Marketing, Laurie leads advertising and other communication efforts for clients, prospects and news media. Laurie brings with her over 20 years of experience and has ... Web: www.andera.com Details