Sales Prospecting Tips & Methods | Jeff Molander
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How AnchorBank creates social leadswhile Chase struggles

  • By Jeff Molander


Time to read: 4 minutes. Unfortunately, people don’t trust banks much these days — nor turn to them for financial advice.  For most banks, social media isn’t helping improve the situation.  But one Midwest bank is increasing share-of-wallet using social media.  AnchorBank is designing social media to solve customers’ problems.  Bottom line: most banks are failing to extract leads from social media and mobile marketing.  Let’s learn how to fix that.

Anchor Bank: A winning value-exchange

In life, most of us don’t plan. We react. Especially with our finances. And we don’t turn to banks for advice on complex decisions like retirement or college savings. We look elsewhere. So most banks run Web advertisements and social media ad campaigns. They try to change their image and make us more aware – they really do care and have answers.

But AnchorBank takes a different approach. This bank uses social media to give customers answers they’re needing. AnchorBank is making its product’s benefits real –- when and where customers display a need for them. It doesn’t try to change the minds of customers with ads.

AnchorBank is publishing a library of information ( on everything from small business loans to managing credit better and what to do when preparing for a divorce. But the bank wisely uses this asset to generate leads for high-margin products. Customers literally qualify themselves for products they’re inclined to buy.

Translating need, exchanging value

AnchorBank’s social marketing function translates customer need.  They’re investing in a process that leads customers toward purchase of products by nurturing questions that the bank has answers to.  Customers are trading information on what they need (or don’t need), when and why in return for advice.  The way they express need may be explicit or implicit.  Urgent or latent.

AnchorBank built process around the content. Rather than trying to change customers’ perceptions or grab and keep their attention AnchorBank discovers need, nurtures it and captures sales through content marketing. The bank asks customers to trade information on their “state of need” for valuable knowledge — solutions to their urgent financial problems.

Proof’s in the numbers: AnchorBank is increasing share-of-wallet despite increased regulation and skeptical consumers. Share-of-wallet is the percentage (“share”) of a customer’s expenses (“of wallet”) that AnchorBank’s products/services have earned.  And they’re doing this all while boosting referrals and leads. They’re bucking the trend among banks.

AnchorBank thinks differently about social media marketing – in ways that produce more profitable ways of doing it. They have a different perspective on social media in general. A sensible, practical one.  By design.

Chase’s ‘+1’ campaign failed because it was designed to

Chase provides a brief example of a “social” campaign designed around limited qualitative outcomes.  Of course, it’s often celebrated as a triumph.  Gurus see it as a great case study of how to use Facebook.  Yet a closer look reveals mass-media era value that is largely based in “buzz” and “conversation” that is detached from creating meaningful customer behavior.

Chase failed to tap into the power of the Web in a way that creates meaningful behavior.  What they settled for was PR buzz around the campaign itself.

Chase’s +1 campaign resulted in customers getting little if any value beyond a momentary novelty.  Chase shorted itself on gaining tangible business value.

In a recent Facebook campaign hoping to enroll student card holders (the desired business outcome) Chase invested in banner ads throughout Facebook that invited students to join a Group page –- people who want to learn about or sign up for their new “+1” credit card.

34,000 or so students earned points for spreading Chase’s message that they could redeem later for DVDs and other merchandise — stuff that students actually value.  Concurrently student organizations could earn valuable points for each new referred student who became a Facebook Group member.

Unfortunately the good news stops here.  Chase’s Facebook Group has no means to capture information on student’s actual state of need.  Do they need a card?  If so what credit line and services do they expect?  When will they or might they need one?

Chase fails to capture and store such vital information — for future follow-up with individual students.  There is also no discussion board to monitor for needs-oriented chat among students –- which could have been fed back into the product marketing organization (this being a best practice).

Chase communicates with members unreliably –- when it feels like it (about once a month or so) –- with Facebook alerts about new offers (commercial information).  The program itself is heralded as a “win” given it is influenced by the involvement of several hundred student “ambassadors” who weigh in on how the program is designed in exchange for points or in some cases internship credit.  But this merely amounts to a digital focus group.

What Chase should have done and why

Chase’s agency said, “Students are engaged, and they’re giving us more feedback than we thought we would get… they tell us honestly what they think.”

Listening to customers is obviously beneficial — but only if you do something with the knowledge gained.   And that takes planning.

More importantly, prompting students to give qualitative information (beyond opinion) about their current “need state” would allow Chase to actively market the +1 card to students more effectively.

Overall this campaign was limited in that it didn’t organize around students’ behavior in a way that induces more, beneficial behavior… that generates valuable outcomes on customer and business sides.   Specifically, Chase’s +1 Facebook campaign was not designed to leverage actions that students are known to be actively taking (or willing to take) given what Chase knows about students.  It did not pair those actions with Chase’s objectives in a way that generated tangible outcomes.

The opportunity for you

Banks are inherently service-focused.  That’s a real strength that most aren’t leveraging in the digital realm.  So why aren’t more banks using social marketing to become ultra-relevant to the everyday needs of customers?  Needs that evolve faster and are increasingly driven by emotions?  It seems ripe for opportunity.

Everything banks do can be endlessly useful and always in context — equally relevant to the organization and to the customer.

Today’s banking customers see life this way:  Utility trumps novelty, fun or “engaging.”  While a sense of humor is always a good thing to have customers are having a hard time “lightening up” about their finances and those who they entrust with their money.  Customers want better, reliable service — not to feel better about your charitable giving.

So how can social media bring you closer to aligning your bank’s needs with customers needs through actions both of you take on the “social Web?”

About Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.

Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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Leave a Comment:

Luke Owen says

Jeff, great article and thanks for highlighting one of our clients. Anchor has definitely been one of the leaders amongst our clients when it comes to incorporating our educational marketing system into their social media initiatives.

Christine Taylor says

Great insight. I have forward this blog post to our banking client.

The key to everything is the ability to move quickly. That is not something banks are used to doing.

Christine Taylor
V/P New Media JTMarCom

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