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By Kip Fry

Teenagers: lazy troublemakers who can’t be depended on to show up on time for school or to get anything done at their afternoon jobs. Right? Well, not really. Believe it or not, in recent times they have become a target for financial advertising.
They actually may be a little more responsible than you might have thought. On one hand, it’s easy to think (erroneously) of them as irresponsible slackers who can’t be counted on to do much of anything other than play video games. But at the same time, while many of them spend their money on iPods and fancy sneakers, they are actually a growing part of the population that earns and spends money in a reputable manner.
Read Lori Hamilton’s humorous article on page 89 of this issue and you can find out how teens give to charitable organizations. As she writes, “today’s Generation Y saves more and spends more time and money on charity than any other generation on record.” As a result, financial services companies are realizing that teens are a great place to pinpoint their marketing.
FIND/SVP, a financial research organization in New York City, recently released a trend report about the importance of teenagers in today’s financial world. A study it conducted by interviewing 300 teens of different cultural backgrounds between the ages of 14 and 18, showed that “teens may be carefree and seem to lack responsibility, but when it comes to money, they take it very seriously.” In fact, another word the report uses to describe this unusual age group is “savvy.”
Let’s take a closer look at the results of the survey. It is interesting to see just what teenagers spend their money on and how they do it. Whether they use cash, debit cards or credit cards; whether they earn their money through afterschool jobs or get it from relatives; whether they use checking accounts, savings bonds or mutual funds, there is no one way to personify teens and how they handle their money. And when their ethnic backgrounds are thrown into the mix, there are many other variables there, as well. Here are the facts that FIND/SVP discovered. Before teens can get involved with earning and spending, they must be attracted to banks or credit card companies via advertising.
The study indicates that they are not necessarily attracted to ads on television that have celebrities selling financial services. When asked the question: “If their favorite celebrity was featured in a commercial using a specific credit card or bank, would it make you want to us that card or bank?” 86 percent of the teens said “no.” Celebrities simply do not seem to be as influential with financial services as they would be if they were selling music or clothes. Caucasians topped that list with 96 percent. Hispanics were most likely to accept that possibility with only 75 percent answering in the negative. At the same time, many of the ads are geared toward the parents of the teens, because they are still the ones making the decisions when it comes to finances. More than three-fourths said they turn to their mothers for financial advice, while 62 percent go to their fathers. As report author Elizabeth Rowe states: “… parents still have the majority of influence in managing money.
The FIND/SVP study found mothers, fathers and even grandparents helping teens make financial decisions. Therefore, when marketing to teens about financial services, don’t forget about their parents and other family members. In a sense, you may need to market to them in addition to teens since they consume traditional media more.” Teens from different backgrounds also view the ads in different ways, the study stated. When comparing Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians, different media influences people in different ways. “If free checking is what they want, how and where you promote this offering will differ from African-Americans to Asians to Hispanics,” the report states. But for any of them to be influenced by advertising, the teens must have money that can be put in the bank.
On average, as many as 26 percent earn money through afterschool jobs, with Hispanics leading the way with 32 percent, while the remainder follow. But that means that nearly three-fourths get their spending money from their parents (70 percent from their mothers and 58 percent from their fathers), grandparents and savings accounts that have already been established. Asians are the most apt to get money from their savings accounts.
The majority of the teens (58 percent) do not spend a great deal of money (only about $10-30 a week). “As the dollar amount increases, the percentage of teens that spend more money decreases,” the report continues. As for the specific ethnic groups, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians tend to spend more each week on nonessential items than Caucasians with 76 percent of them spending between $10-30.
Teens in the three other groups are more apt to have weekly spending between $30-60. Clothing is the largest spending item for the teens, with 75 percent of them stating that they purchase those most often when they go shopping. Music CDs and DVDs ranked second with 54 percent, and concert and sporting tickets coming in third with 51 percent. Respondents were able to select more than one item for the question.
By cross-referencing ethnicity with each item, the study was able to determine the leaders for each group: Clothing African-Americans, 80% Music Hispanics, 61% Tickets Hispanics, 57% Health and Beauty Aids African-Americans, 44%. Most teens across the board have paid for their purchases with cash, while a much smaller percentage have used debit cards and finally credit cards in descending order. Caucasian teens, however, are more likely to use debit cards, while more Asians have used credit cards and Hispanics use checks.
For those that use credit cards, Asian and African- American teens are more likely to have them in their own names. Cards are a major way to pay for nonessential expenses. Among those surveyed, the mean average of cards held by each person is 1.48. Most teens have accounts in their banks where they can keep their money. Of all those surveyed, 88 percent said that at least some of their money is saved. Asians (93 percent) are the most likely to put money in a savings account.
Combining all cultural groups, they have money in each of the following accounts: Savings 81% Checking 40% Debit Accounts 35% Savings Bonds 20%. Certain groups are more likely to use particular types of accounts, as can be seen by this cross-reference with a different ethnic group leading the way in each one: Savings Accounts African-Americans, 85% Checking Accounts Hispanics, 56% Savings Bonds Caucasians, 27% Stocks or Mutual Funds Asians, 20%.
Many teens have aspirations of saving their money for the future and probably the largest specific expense they want to save for is college. However, they have many different ideas about how they are going to pay for it. They include (along with the leaders in each category): Scholarships 88% (Hispanic and African-American, 90%) Personal Savings 63% (Asian, 70%) Student Loans 58% (Asian, 64%) Work Study Programs 34% (African-American, 41%). And for the time in the future when life is coming down the homestretch and it is time to retire, many teens have already started to think about that.
As many as 81 percent stated that retirement funds (Caucasians with 86 percent led that category) would give them enough money to live on, with 79 percent saying personal savings, 58 percent turning to social security benefits and 19 percent relying on their children.
By looking at these figures and rolling them together, it is obvious that there are many variables involved in the different equations. Just like society itself, teens and the ways in which they save and spend their money are all quite different depending in large part on their ethnic backgrounds. It is something that financial services companies must deal with when trying to market themselves. So what is the best way for them to work with teens? How can they garner that small but important corner of the market?
If teens can trust those companies to help them secure their place in the future, then they will have gotten off to a good start finding the right company with which to do business.

The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing worked closely with research company Find/SVP to determine the topic of the research study that this article is based upon. JFAM Editorial Director Kip Fry authored this distillation based upon the original research study conducted and authored by Elizabeth Rowe of Find/SVP. For more information on this in-depth study or subject, please contact Frank Dudley of Find/SVP at

By Don Rae

Understanding and quantifying the benefits of advertising is a problem as old as advertising itself. Financial advertisers are just as susceptible to this problem as anyone else. The problem stems from the many purposes of advertising: building awareness of products and services, creating brand equity, and generating sales. Understanding and quantifying the benefits of advertising is a problem as old as advertising itself.
Financial advertisers are just as susceptible to this problem as anyone else. The problem stems from the many purposes of advertising: building awareness of products and services, creating brand equity, and generating sales. Each of these objectives is not easily measured or related to the advertising that may have affected it.
First, as everyone now knows, there has been an explosion in media alternatives from the traditional standbys of television, radio and print into a broader spectrum of both offline and online options. The Internet is clearly the most visible example of this change.
The choices within each medium have also expanded in an attempt to reach more targeted audiences. Television, for example, has burgeoned from three primary networks to literally dozens of channels, all capable of reaching large audiences with brand messages or product promotions.
Hundreds of new magazines now serve an array of special interest groups, while web advertising presses the edge of one-to-one marketing. This trend is clearly visible in the financial services industry, as more and more banks and financial services companies are using integrated, multimedia strategies to reach their desired audiences, layering broadcast advertising over direct response campaigns or combining online with offline campaigns. All of this is making it harder to separate the individual influences of each advertising effort. Second, most financial services companies are no longer satisfied to rely solely on traditional methods of measuring advertising effectiveness, namely awareness surveys and tracking studies.
They want more precise and concrete evidence that their marketing investments are paying off. It is one thing to know how memorable an ad for retirement planning might be or how potential customers feel about the institution or its products. It is quite another to quantify the sales and profitability impact that advertising is producing. The difficulty is that measuring these effects may involve tracing advertising’s stimulus through a behavioral chain of events that eventually culminate in a transaction long after the advertising has been delivered. Third, financial services companies today are in a more competitive and faster-paced environment than ever before, accelerating the need to understand the consequences of their marketing efforts.
Financial marketers simply do not have the luxury of resting on their laurels or assessing how a set of campaigns performed months after they have concluded. The marketplace is moving so rapidly that knowing what works while it is still happening has great value. For these reasons, financial marketers have begun to use new measurement tools to help them estimate the impacts of their advertising efforts. One such technique that is gaining in popularity is marketing mix modeling, which when used prudently can add new insight into how to maximize business results from a broad range of marketing investments. This article briefly describes the elements of marketing mix modeling and explains how financial marketers are using this new and sophisticated analytical tool.
Does advertising work? While advertising may have several objectives, ultimately financial service executives want to know how advertising has contributed to sales and ultimately to the company’s bottom line. Since it is obviously impractical to ask every consumer how advertising affected his decision to open up a new account or invest more money, marketers have no choice but to make this assessment by other means. The first thing to recognize is that advertising is only one of many marketing elements that affect financial product sales. Other elements include pricing, promotional offers, product attributes, and the activities of competitors.
In addition, external factors, such as macroeconomic trends and seasonality, are likely to affect response in the market. Consequently, the response to advertising can be best evaluated by techniques that account for the mix of marketing activities and other external factors. Econometric modeling techniques, especially time series regression, provide a well-structured means of evaluating the impact of advertising on short-term sales by isolating key explanatory variables and holding constant certain variables that may mask the effects of advertising.
This is the technique used in marketing mix modeling, which has long been applied in the consumer package goods industry where the direct relationship of advertising to sales is weakest. A major challenge in estimating the sales response function is to recognize all the variables that may affect sales and to find the data to account for them. The objective is to determine if each media type being used can be identified as a key explanatory variable in the model. Advertising investments are typically measured in terms of dollars spent, impressions or gross rating points delivered.
It is critical to estimate the model based on actual delivered impressions, not estimates contained in plans. In addition to advertising, factors such as changes in market trends, promotional pricing, product attributes, seasonal causes and marketing actions by competitors are likely to affect response in the short run. Data for these explanatory variables can usually be obtained from a variety of sources and added to the model.
How many observations are required to estimate a model? There is no simple answer to this question, since it depends on how many explanatory variables need to be included in the model. Typically, we like to have two to three years of weekly data, or about 100-150 observations, to estimate a model that includes a number of both advertising and nonadvertising impacts.
Researchers have tested a variety of theories about the shape of the sales response function. There seems to have emerged a consensus that, as advertising reaches high levels, its effectiveness declines. In fact, many researchers postulate that high levels of advertising result in saturation where there is no influence on sales. At lower levels, some empirical evidence suggests an advertising threshold below which advertising has no effect. Between these extremes the response curve may exhibit a region of increasing returns to scale.
For these reasons, most of the studies of advertising effectiveness have specified either concave or S-curve models. Why is this important? It is important to consider the nature of the sales response function because of its implications on decisions regarding the optimal level of advertising, as well as that level of mix.
Essentially, marketers should realize that they might need to spend a certain minimum amount on advertising before seeing any significant effects on their business. Likewise, after some point, additional spending might produce little or no benefit. Shifting spending from one media type to another will have multiple impacts and saturation effects may limit additional investments in any one media regardless of currently how good its ROI might appear related to other media’s.
Persistence pays off Another important consideration is measuring its persistence over time. Advertising media deliver impressions at a point in time, and psychological measurements of retention show attrition or decay of the advertising message over time. Consequently, models of the sales response function must capture the duration of this carryover and the subsequent rate of wear-out or decay.
This entails estimating the effects of recent advertising on current sales, what is known as the lag structure. A number of early studies attempted to measure persistence and decay for TV advertising. However, these studies implied very different advertising durations depending on whether they used annual or monthly data. For studies that employed monthly data it was determined that the maximum effect of TV advertising extends up to a year, but for more frequently purchased brands it is much less, about two months.
What seems clear is that the effect of advertising persistence differs by media type. The impact of broadcast TV, for example, may persist for weeks or months while the impact of Internet ads is likely to fade quite quickly. For other advertising media, typical maximum durations are probably measured in weeks. Thus, each type of advertising investment is likely to have a different lag structure, and models of advertising impacts should recognize and account for these differences.
Many financial marketers take these lag factors into account when they plan their advertising, especially if they are promoting products and services in particular seasons when consumers are more apt to be thinking about certain transactions. For example, mortgages are promoted in the spring when home buying is up and investment planning is encouraged at the end of the year when bonuses are handed out. Mutual fund companies push IRAs during tax season and lenders advertise credit during holiday shopping periods.
To optimize their marketing spending, financial advertisers construct a plan that recognizes the different carry over effects of each media. Of course, as mentioned earlier, financial advertisers have found that integrated campaigns combining various media often produce higher sales than single media campaigns. Financial services firms, such as Merrill Lynch, Bank of America or Capital One, run large-scale broadcast advertising at the same time that major print campaigns are being run and direct mail communications are being dropped. These firms have learned that multimedia initiatives not only boost awareness, but also stimulate response in the market.
Thus, any model of a sale’s response to advertising must be capable of estimating both the effect of each media type operating alone and in conjunction with other media types. Advertisers often refer to lift from running broadcast TV or radio at the same time as direct mail or print. This lift metric captures the interaction effect of combining two or more types of advertising.
For example, running TV and magazine advertising concurrently has the potential of generating results that outpace those achieved by running each ad type by itself. While modeling the effectiveness of financial advertising is a difficult and often complex undertaking, we feel that given the large amounts of data that are currently being captured by financial services companies there is a good chance that such an effort will produce useful and valuable information for investment decision making.
Studying the impact The ultimate objective of marketing mix modeling is to provide marketing decision makers with more relevant and timely information to help them manage their marketing mix and improve performance.
Historically, this marketing performance management has largely been an exercise in uncertain intuition and “gut feel” for financial marketers. It is important to remember that managing the marketing mix will never be purely a quantitative exercise. There are simply too many factors shifting the marketplace to keep spending optimally allocated. Furthermore, marketers bring their own personal attitudes to the table toward advertising, data analysis and risk.
Confronted with the same information, two decision makers may very well embark on different courses of action. Over the years, most efforts to model the effectiveness of advertising have been one-time or, at best, sporadic projects designed to answer a specific question at a specific time. In order to have a meaningful impact, managing marketing performance needs to be a systematic, ongoing and iterative process, where improvement occurs continuously over time as a result of more data and greater understanding of responses to advertising. One of the best uses of marketing mix models is to project the likely results of future marketing activities.
This capability is a key because it helps the financial marketer understand what is likely to result from the money he is spending now or is about to spend, which is far more relevant than looking only at past spending. A case study In one case, our client was a large financial services provider that had increased its media spending significantly over a two-year period in an attempt not only to build greater brand awareness, but also to boost new prospect leads and accounts.
This institution was trying to capitalize on the growing interest in online trading during a run-up in the stock market. As long as the market was on the rise and prospect and account volume was increasing, the firm had little concern about the effectiveness of its various marketing efforts.
However, as the market peaked and began to slide there was intense interest to know the return on investment of each marketing activity, which spanned mass media, online advertising, print and direct marketing. A set of marketing mix models was created to estimate the impact that assorted marketing and nonmarketing factors had on prospect and account generation. These models did a couple of things. First, they identified the drivers of historic results, giving a large portion of the credit to the movement in the stock market (a result that everyone suspected, but no one could tify). This retrospective view gave the client an understanding of what a dollar invested in television advertising might produce versus a dollar invested in online advertising or print.
These findings were valuable because they set a baseline for ROI by media type and validated the recent strategy while accounting for the undisputed effects of the prevailing economic conditions. Second, and more importantly, the models provided a new, prospective capability to forecast the outcomes the firm would likely see if it followed alternative marketing strategies and marketing mix investments. The client ran a series of short-term forecasts based on predictions of the future path of the stock market and different media mixes. Applying a probability distribution on the future market states, the firm decided to trim and reallocate its media spending.
The shift in the mix occurred gradually, representing a reallocation of about 15 percent over the initial 12 months. Television advertising was cut in favor of more online advertising and direct marketing activity. Subsequently, the overall media budget was reduced by more than 20 percent, and has remained at a more moderate level as economic conditions have failed to rebound completely. The benefits of using marketing mix modeling to help manage a marketing performance will vary from institution to institution.
Clearly, financial services companies using this service will have different sizes and types, and the sales impacts associated with their advertising will inevitably differ. Our experience shows, however, that information from these models generated on a regular basis will greatly enhance a marketer’s ability to apply his marketing resources. For some, this can translate into millions of dollars in saved expenditures or increased sales. 

Don Ryan is senior partner and director of consulting services for iKnowtion, a marketing and analytic consultancy in Burlington, Mass., that helps Fortune 1000 companies improve overall marketing effectiveness, where Doug Rae is director of optimization systems. They can be reached at or

By Christopher Wm.

Media departments are in great demand today. Campaigns are often driven
by their work because budgets are so closely scrutinized. The nuances
of publishing and programming can make or break a campaign’s effectiveness

so the strategic approach of the media director has never been so important.

Media departments are in great demand today. Campaigns are often driven
by their work because budgets are so closely scrutinized. The nuances
of publishing and programming can make or break a campaign’s effectiveness
so the strategic approach of the media director has never been so important.
As usual, The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketinghas engaged
Christopher Philip, senior vice president and media director at Doremus
(Omnicom) to tackle financial media challenges. For more than 100 years,
Doremus has been a leading and respected financial advertising agency.
In order to dig deep into media strategy, we’ve created hypothetical clients.
This quarter’s discussion deals with a fictitious company called Big Deal
Loans (BDL). Philip assesses its media challenges as an art form. Readers
should be challenged, as well, to learn from the best thinking and strategies of
a financial media expert. Philip offers a rationale behind financial media
thinking today.
If there are any similarities to real world marketers that JFAMhas used in
this piece, it is strictly coincidental. Moreover, if any references are made to
any specific media properties, remember that media is an art, and that there
is always more than one way to approach any media problem. In fact, there
are likely dozens of media properties that could fulfill the broad stroke recommendations
made here.
The Assignment
The Fed is currently and systematically raising interest rates. This fact should
come as no big surprise. Before rates started going up, the cost to borrow
money dropped to rock bottom. For the past several years, in fact, money has
been cheaper than ever to borrow. This fact has afforded many families the
opportunity to experience, first hand, the American
dream of home ownership. At the same time, lower rates
have allowed existing home-owners to refinance and
save money.
It should also come as no surprise that several new
mass-market, web-based loan services have risen to
prominence (and acceptance by consumers) to handle
new levels of high demand for lending services. Some
actually originate loans. Others aggregate lending sources together to allow
the consumer to shop and compare.
But now, as housing demand wanes, interest rates edge up and a good
number of consumers have already “maxed-out” their home equity and
already refinanced their homes, this new breed of online loan processing has
become noticeably more competitive. Differentiation of
service signifies more to online loan services than it has
ever before.
Big Deal Loans is an online lending success story. It
was born from the ashes of the dot-com bust in 2001. It is
an online loan origination service, capitalized by its
parent company — a major national bank. Lately, however, not only has
competition increased, but consumer demand has decreased. So BDL is
discovering that it is taking a smaller piece of a shrinking pie.
Senior management at Big Deal Loans has committed to significant levels of
advertising for 2006 (Q1-Q4). It has budgeted $16 million for a new advertising
campaign ($2 million will be allotted to their creative agency for concept and
production, while $14 million will be applied to media.)
In past years, BDL had hovered in the $4-5 million level of ad spending, so
this increase has demonstrated a significant commitment to differentiating the
BDL brand. Their creative shop has recommended that BDL focus its message
on two legs. Big Deal Loans can offer home buyers and refinancers many of
the same benefits that other similar service providers offer: easy application,
fast qualification and low rates. Moreover, the creative team has recommended
that BDL hammer home a new key point of differentiation in its advertising:
personal service by customer representatives.
The media strategy is the one component left to be determined. For this, BDL
sought the expertise of Christopher Philip. The following is his media approach.
Budget $14.0 million
Period 12 months
Geography National
Target Audience Adults 25-49
Key Audience Insight
Industry research has determined that the younger end of the spectrum (Adults
25-35) are the peak years for investing in new homes — while the older end of
the spectrum (Adults 25-54) are the peak years for home equity financing.
Media Objective
Build brand awareness and preference; provide consistent message delivery;
and drive traffic to the Big Deal Loans site.
Media Challenges
The challenge here is to break though the noise and clutter in the marketplace
and deliver the product message and points of difference to a target audience
overwhelmed by parody products and services.
Media Strategies
The overall strategy is to dominate the chosen media vehicles when advertising.
The selection of media is critical since we have a limited budget and a
competitive marketplace. I recommend that we limit the number of media
elements to three — online, print and network radio and then develop comprehensive
strategies for each element.
To maximize impact we would weigh Big Deal Loans messaging to the
specific media serving both ends of the target audience spectrum. For example,
we would focus new home loans on media selected to reach the younger target
audience and home equity loans in media focused on the older end.
At this budget level, television would not be affordable as we must maintain
a level of consistency in the market. The only way to use television and
achieve the overall domination strategy would be to select very targeted
network cable stations and focus on specific programming.
In addition to traditional 30-second units, I would
explore the use of interactive TV to deliver more in-depth
information on the products and services Big Deal Loans
offers. It would also act as a potential source of new business leads.
Interactive TV would also help enforce the company’s position as forward
thinking and innovative. However, the danger of this approach is that the
target audience is broad. With the given budget, we would not be as broad as
needed to achieve satisfactory business goals.
Develop a media program with concentrated periods of activity where all
communications are timed to occur at the same time. The goal is for Big Deal
Loans to look like they are everywhere and that they surround the target with
communications. This will allow BDL to maximize the impact of the budget and
achieve breakthrough levels of reach and frequency.
Research has shown that there are two key periods for home loans and home
equity lines and we would focus on these periods of activity. Home loans traditionally
come in the spring real estate market (March to June) and for a shorter
period right after Labor Day (September – October). For home equity, the key
period is in the spring (home improvement) and in August (school tuition bills).
Therefore, we would be looking at spending the majority of the budget over
a seven-month period. Some messaging would appear during the rest of the
year to provide for continuity and top-of-mind awareness, but we want to
employ a “Be Big” strategy when in flight.
Media Approach
Big Deal Loans has one of the most power and comprehensive online leading
sites. It offers the consumer in-depth information, competitive rates and 24/7
on-staff advisors available to answer all questions.
Since we are limiting our media choices, we need to develop clear tactical
strategies for each media we will use. The overall goal is to drive traffic to the site.
Online Strategy
This is an online service, so we have to make the assumption that our target
has some degree of comfort with the Internet and the products and services
that can be found there. When we talk about home loans or equity finance, we
enter into a realm of substantial dollar amounts and in most cases a person’s
most valuable asset.
Therefore, messaging can be focused directly on rate information, ease of application
and fast qualifications, instead of security and personal service issues.
Develop a list of sites based on the two segments of the target audience:
new home buyers and those looking to refinance. For the former, we would
include sites like real estate search sites and finance portals. For those looking
to find refinance sites like home improvement sites, do-it-yourself sites and
college ranking sites, we would also explore the use of publication sites such
as Money, Smart Money, Kiplinger’s,and
Another aspect of online that will impact the rest of the program is that we
will be able to test messages and creative approaches to see what works
against our different segments. This approach will enable BDL to save money
on producing print and radio executions based on messages that did not pull
well against the target. It will focus the dollars on approaches that work.
Allocate a significant portion of the budget to key word
searches. Since many people will be looking at many
financing companies, there will be a natural tendency to
search the web to develop a list of options.
Online will be used to provide year round continuity, but
we will support the key seven-month period with increased
site selection and increased impressions.
Print Strategy
The print strategy will be more massive in scale. We will develop a print list
that will provide a balance of women’s and men’s publications, as well as
national newspapers.
We would also look at key editorial issues of publications, such as U.S.
News & World Report,and take advantage of their college ranking issues for
a home equity loan message.
Each ad should have a discreet URL so the response rate by publication can
be tracked. We, therefore, can keep refining the list and enable us to use a
wider scope of print titles.
Network Radio Strategy
We would use network radio to build frequency. Adding additional media to
any media mix will accomplish this but radio will allow us from a creative
standpoint to give Big Deal Loans more personality and
enforce the aspect of personal service by its customer
Another focus would be on news, sports and financial
programming. In addition, we would look for any programming
that would mirror our print and online strategy, but
would search for programs on home improvements and
consumer real estate.
Due to the high out-of-pocket cost of network radio, we would buy as many
weeks as affordable during the seven-month advertising period.
This plan will work because of two factors: the concentrated flighting strategy
and the limited selection of media elements. It has always be my experience
that when you limit the scope of what you do and do those few things very well
the results will be excellent. 
Christopher Philip is senior vice president, media director at Doremus Advertising, a leading
business and financial agency. He has been named B-to-B Magazine’sMedia Strategist of the

Year for three years running. He can be reached at

By Kip Fry
The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing

A.P.Giannini never let a little thing like an earthquake get in the way of his work, even if it was one of the strongest in memory. A.P.Giannini never let a little thing like an earthquake get in the way of his work, even if it was one of the strongest in memory. The pictures of the destruction from the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 must have been reminiscent of those we keep seeing on the news nearly 100 years later of the hurricanes ravaging the Gulf Coast.
Today, we see flood waters. Back then it was fires. But with the Great Quake, there was no warning, no satellite pictures of an oncoming storm, no chance to flee the city and board up windows. The earthquake hit the city like a sledgehammer blasting through a pane of glass. Geologists now estimate that the April 18, 1906, earthquake was an 8.3 on the Richter scale.
Like so many other people in the city, Giannini was awakened from his sleep by the jolt that morning. He was the owner of the Bank of Italy (the precursor to today’s Bank of America), and he knew he had to see what had happened to his building. What he soon discovered was that it wasn’t the quake itself that caused most of the destruction.
Fires came later from so many wood stoves tipping over during the temblor and the burst gas pipes. That’s what really decimated San Francisco. Giannini took a horse and wagon filled with vegetables to the city and soon discovered that his worst fears had been realized. The building was in shambles. But after searching through what remained, he eventually found the vault containing $2 million in gold, coins and securities.
That’s where the horse and wagon came in handy. With flames getting closer by the minute, Giannini filled the wagon with the money and covered them all with vegetables so no one could see what he had. His horses pulled what must have been an incredibly heavy load down to the waterfront. There he set up an work space of sorts by placing boards across two barrels. Between that impromptu office and his wagon load of money, he was the only banker in San Francisco to stay open for business. Customers were able to come to him and borrow the money they needed to restart their lives. Every other bank in the city kept their doors shut until much later.
The people of San Francisco didn’t have to wait for flood waters to recede like the people of New Orleans had to do in the summer of 2005. More than 500 blocks in the city burned in the days after the earthquake, so there was little for people to do but rebuild what had been such a grand city. And A.P. Giannini was right there to help them do that. As the city re-emerged, Giannini knocked on the doors of potential customers. In those days, such promotion was not always smiled upon by his competitors. It was unprofessional, many said, and, perhaps, even unethical.
Customers were simply expected to come to the bank to do business. Bankers were not expected to go out and get it. But that was just a precursor to what Giannini would do in the years to come. The earthquake is just one chapter in his legacy. There are actually many chapters. When all was said and done, A.P. Giannini had rescued several different movie studios during the early days of the industry, revitalized the state’s wine business, financed construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, created the notion of branch banking and even had an iconic film character styled after him (George Bailey in the Frank Capra classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”).
He has been called “the father of modern banking” and “America’s banker.” Not bad for the son of Italian immigrants who arrived in the New World just a year before he was born. Not bad for a high school dropout. When he was named several years ago to Time’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, along with the likes of Bill Gates, Henry Ford and Walt Disney, he was the only banker on the list. He has long been seen as one of the great innovators of the industry. One critic once wrote: “Giannini was a liberal in a very conservative business, but he wasn’t just being a nice guy.
All of his innovations like loans to ordinary people and installment payments were sound business decisions that revolutionized the banking business and generated substantial profits for his shareholders.” Turning points Giannini’s parents had known each other for only six weeks before they embarked on their long journey to the United States. Young Amadeo Pietro Giannini was born in 1870 in San Jose. His family must have been adventurous and that could be seen in the rough fashion they lived their lives and died their deaths.
Carrying on that legacy, A.P.’s father was killed in a fight when he and another man argued over a dollar bill. A.P. was only seven at the time. His mother eventually married a man named Lorenzo Scatena, who ran a produce company. A.P. quit school when he was only 14 to work for his stepfather, but it didn’t seem to be too much of a burden. Only five years later, he had become a partner in the business. Based on his reputation for fair-mindedness and integrity, the business thrived so much he was able to “retire” when he was just 31.
The following year he joined the board of directors of the Columbus Savings & Loan Society, an opportunity that came his way when his father-in-law, an earlier member of the board, passed away. Most banks then followed the pattern created by the House of Morgan, run by J.P. Morgan and designed to cater to the interest of corporations and industrialists. Problems arose at Columbus S&L shortly after the turn of the century when Giannini wanted to turn the tables and give loans to lower-income immigrants.
That was something that simply went against bank policy. Other board members wanted the loans to go only to businessmen and the wealthy. That may have been one of the major turning points in his life. He soon resigned and started his own bank — The Bank of Italy — and moved into a converted saloon right across the street from Columbus S&L. He knew there was a profit to be made by working with “the little people,” so that’s what he intended to do. He even hired the former bartender at the saloon to be a teller at the new bank.
By extending credit to this group of people, he was working “to give the little guy a bank that will do business with him.” He judged his customers not on the amount of money they already had, but on their character. After a year, the bank had more than $700,000 in deposits, equivalent in today’s market to about $13.5 million. He was also a pioneer in home mortgages, automobile loans and installment credit. As for his employees, he developed profit-sharing and stock ownership plans, things he knew would attract their loyalty. As Daniel Kadlec wrote for Time in its “Most Important People of the Century” article: “Heck, most of us take banks for granted.
But they didn’t exist, at least not for working stiffs, until Giannini came along.” Going against the tide In order to have these unusual offerings, Giannini had to promote the bank. For one, he visited potential customers in their homes. He was convinced that it was crucial to educate potential customers about the intricacies of the business. This was true at the time of the earthquake and it was true throughout the remainder of his career. It is one of the things that helped shape his business and became a part of his business philosophy.
Giannini was not just a man who started banks, he was at the forefront of the movement to market them with the help of public relations, sponsorships and other means of getting into the community. He had innovative ideas in terms of working with his customers and understood the importance of having good public relations. He also established a feeling of openness and trust at his bank.
Not all financial institutions of that era had that reputation, but he wanted to make sure his did. “Giannini’s faith in the ability of banking to help people realize their dreams inspired other banks to follow his lead, putting capital into the hands of working people and giving millions of people access to ‘the system.’ This energized America’s form of democracy at its economic roots,” says writer Harvey Radin. Just a year before the onset of the Depression, Giannini purchased Bank of America, one of New York City’s oldest banks.
All of his business interests were included in the broad holding company known as TransAmerica Corporation. When the market crashed in 1929, Giannini and his companies were already prepared to deal with it. His next emphasis came when he developed the idea of having branch banks. During his early banking days, he realized that people were coming into San Francisco from as far away as San Jose to do their banking, a trip of more than 50 miles. In 1909, he opened a branch in San Jose to eliminate that journey.
As a result of the Panic of 1907, Giannini traveled to Canada to see how branch banks there operated. He learned through that experience that banks large enough to have branches would have enough money from deposits to lend it to fledgling businesses. Soon, he was preoccupied with that idea and knew it was something that could be done clear across the nation. It was considered egalitarian because it catered to people in ethnic communities.
The Chinese, Portuguese, Greeks, Russians and Mexicans and many others benefited from this. Thanks in large part to this, Bank of America would become the first nationwide bank several decades later and by the end of the Second World War, it was the largest in the country. Not only could this be important locally, it could also be an enormous asset on a more regional basis. “His great vision was that a bank doing business in all parts of a state or the nation would be less vulnerable to any one region’s difficulties,” says Kadlec. The keys to the bank What was A.P. Giannini’s secret? Giannini was not one to point attention to himself. He once said, “I have worked without thinking of myself. This (is) the largest factor in whatever success I have attained.”
Although he worked with money most of his life and determined to guarantee that others less fortunate than himself got at least a small piece of the pie, he felt it was not important that he have an overabundance of it. When he died in 1949, he had less than half a million dollars to his name, still a large amount by most people’s standards, even today. But his bank had assets of more than $5 billion. He once received an unexpected $1.5 million bonus and gave it all as a gift to the University of California. “Money itch is a bad thing. I never had that trouble,” he once said. As has already been mentioned, his passion for a connection with the working class certainly played a large role.
By bringing branch banks into the equation, he was able to earn the label “innovative.” But he also had a thorough understanding of marketing. Whether it be through traditional advertising, word-ofmouth or event sponsorships, it was all well ahead of the curve when compared to other bankers of his time.
To begin with, Giannini needed to let his customers know that the Bank of Italy even existed at all. Then he wanted them to know that he was open for business in the days following the earthquake. He also kept doors open until 9 or 10 o’clock at night, when most of the others closed in mid-afternoon. Marketing also focused on working class neighborhoods.
At the time, these things didn’t go over well with his competitors, but that didn’t matter to him. “The old idea of a banker was that he must hold himself aloof, wear a silk hat and shut himself up in fancy quarters. He thought he couldn’t solicit trade,” he once said. “If trade’s worth having, it’s worth going after.” Advertising was also a relatively new business when Giannini was getting established. In the ’30s, Giannini himself developed the slogan “Back to Good Times,” which was used in a massive ad campaign during that era. It was important for Americans to get back to the good times they lived in during the days of flappers and dance marathons during the 1920s. The slogan was successful on more levels than that of just banking.
FDR later gave it credit for the inspiration it offered while the economy was suffering through its downward spiral. One ad that ran in 1932 used the metaphor of electrical power. It showed a number of huge coins emerging from an enormous dynamo device and stated: “Banked dollars are dynamos that turn factory wheels; finance crops, move ships, trains, airplanes, trucks; construct highways, build homes, sustain business, create employment.” Then in smaller print, “Start a California ‘Back to Good Times’ account in this bank — or any bank.” Another asked customers to deposit extra dollars into their accounts so it can help businesses prosper and put more people back to work. “Few individuals realize that the machinery of banking enables one dollar to do the work of five to ten dollars, through the extension of credit to business and industry,” it stated.
“Thus, the single EXTRA dollar you deposit each time you go to the bank becomes a mighty influence for the betterment of conditions in your community, your state and your nation. “If the 3,296,831 savings depositors in the state of California would bank an EXTRA dollar each week, or each month, unemployment in California would be non-existent. “Bank an EXTRA dollar in this bank — or any other bank — and put ANOTHER man to work. Do it REGULARLY — and KEEP him at work!” This ad was evidence of the egalitarian stream of thought that so heavily influenced Giannini.
It wasn’t just his own bank he wanted customers to deposit their money with. Any bank would do because it was all a part of the plan to stimulate the nation’s economy. If that meant going to a competitor, so be it. The end result was more satisfying than it would have been if his bank were the only one to profit. Giannini’s campaigns also struck on a more regional level.
Another set of ads during that period stated, “California Can Lead the Nation.” In the ’50s, it became known for its “Little Maestro” ads, now considered some of the most inventive television spots ever. With this long history of development and innovation, A.P. Giannini will certainly maintain his place in financial history. As he once said: “It’s no use to decide what’s going to happen unless you have the courage of your convictions.
Many a brilliant idea has been lost because the man who dreamed it lacked the spunk or the spine to put it across. It doesn’t matter if you don’t always hit the exact bulls-eye, the rings in the targets score points, too.” Giannini was in the middle of two major events that shaped the landscape of San Francisco — the Great Quake of 1906 and the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the late 1920s.
Like the great dynamo machine in his ads of the ’30s, he energized his bank and the economy that surrounded it. That eventually helped shape the landscape of the nation.

Kip Fry is editorial director of The Journal of Financial Advertising and Marketingand a freelance writer. He can be reached at

By Bill Wreaks

Ralph Oliva has taken a serpentine route to his most recent position in the marketing field. He is executive director of the Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) at the Smeal College of Business Administration at Penn State University. The job is certainly unusual for someone with a doctorate in solid state physics.

But since his days in the laboratory, Oliva has turned his attention to
marketing, having spent 23 years working in b-to-b and consumer marketing
at Texas Instruments (TI). For the last seven years there, he was vice president
of world market communications and design. He was also in charge of global
management there and developed the “virtual university” professional development
program for integrated market communications and marketing.
Since 1996, though, he has led ISBM, making it the leading academic center
with the express purpose of advancing the knowledge and practice of b-to-b
marketing. During his tenure there, he has strengthened the Institute’s
research, education and networking. In 2002, he launched the college’s executive
MBA program.
Oliva has also written 15 books, has a regular column for Marketing
Managementmagazine and has spoken around the world. When he is seen on
TV, he often speaks about how technology is applied to education.
The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketingrecently spoke with Oliva
to discover where his research was leading him.
JFAM: What do you see in terms of business-to-business marketing trends
that are happening today? Are there any major shifts going on?
OLIVA: Right after I came to ISBM, I had a request from Hewlett-Packard to
do a fast piece of research on three questions: what are the key challenges
business marketers will face? What are the capabilities that we need to build
and what areas would be benchmarked? We repeated that study every two
years and just took the last data on those questions out of the field literally two
weeks ago.
So, this is a bunch of anecdote data. We’ve counted 20 responses from fairly
significant thought leaders in the academic side of business-to-business and
another 20 responses from CMO-level practitioners in our member firms and
this comes through with these three questions that are open ended. So we got
a bunch of anecdotal data and chucked it in the buckets and the number one
on the hit parade clearly this time around had to do with better understanding
and opportunities to really add value to customers.
JFAM: Interesting.
OLIVA: Customers have a devil of a time articulating to you what they really
need. In fact, Pete Pande who authored “The Six Sigma Way” and who is a
Six Sigma specialist spoke at one of our member meetings recently and we’re
looking at Six Sigma and business marketing. He had come up with Pande’s
Law, the ignorant customer. It’s very, very tough to understand opportunities
to really add value at the business-design level. I think with some of the primitive
techniques that we’ve been using, you’ve got to go way, way deep.
All of our member firms want to grow now and they want to grow organically.
They are attempting to innovate so they can grow, but they’re finding
that the tools they have and the methodologies they have to really connect
with customers aren’t serving them. It came back that over half the respondents
had something in their response that related to that. We just have to find
better ways to understand our customers, how they behave, what motivates
them and where our real opportunities to add value are.
That was interesting because I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting the
last time we did this was growth. “We’ve got to grow now, we’ve cut all we
can, we’ve got to grow,” and that was understandable. This one was tougher
to articulate.
JFAM: Did they speak specifically to how this might be executed?
OLIVA: This is some interpretation on my part, but my take on it is that during
the downturn, everybody decided the good thing to do — and I’m going to be
a little cruel here — they have been upset when looking at 60 firms. The
ratings of the firm have been turned over to the CFO with the low-cut cost and
the cutting got ridiculous. What happened is people sort of lost sight of the top
line in the place where we play, way up the value chain where people are
providing everything from raw material to basic services. Everyone was
beating everyone else up on price and they went way too far. They really
started disassembling the opportunities to create real value that comes from
partnerships as opposed to an adversarial relationship with your partners.
(They said) “I don’t want to hear what value you added, just cut the price.”
Well, now they recognized that if they turn their focus to the top line and
say we really need to grow now, we’ve done about all we can with M&A, we
need to grow organically. This approach — a constant adversarial beating up
with your suppliers — was not serving the firm either as they approached
their suppliers or certainly as they began marketing downstream with their
Among other things, this put a barrier between firms that was really
disabling to the fundamental creation of new value. New value was created
primarily when you and your customer firms, the constituents that are stakeholders,
say, “there has got to be a better alternative to what we are doing
now. Let’s work together and create one. Let’s create one that is more effective,
more efficient and cheaper.” The number of transactional opportunities
where the communication is minimal are all used up. In order to create real
value right now, there had to be a better, deeper understanding both from the
sending side and the receiver side of the customer relationship.
JFAM: As you look at it right now, you weren’t surprised when you saw the
data returned, but now when you think about it, it’s almost like a knee jerk
reaction to the way things were several years ago.
OLIVA: In perspective, when I first saw the data, someone had said, “well,
what do you expect to be able to do?” If I did, I had my own hypothesis on
what it would be. I said, “I don’t think it’s going to be that different from two
years ago. Everyone wants to grow.” So, I think we’re just going to get growth,
growth, growth. Well, growth was in there, but we didn’t hear that. We heard
a bunch of stuff on “we’ve got to get better at listening, we got to get better on
understanding, we have to understand the underlying motivations, we need to
understand our customer’s business designs.” It was reflecting maybe an
antecedent or a first derivative of growth, which is where our real opportunities
are and how big are they and can we get connected enough to understand
them? That was number one on the hit parade and I think that would
play very well in the services area.
We were fortunate that at one of our recent member meetings, we heard
from a genius, the guy’s name is Adrian J. Slywotzky who wrote some very
interesting books called “Value Migration,” “The Profit Zone,” “Profit Patterns”
and a little jewel of a book called “How to Grow When Markets Don’t.”
A lot of what he addressed in that book was that there is a lot of growth
that’s available even without the market giving you double-digit growth. You
can get the double digit and better growth if you really find ways to mobilize
the assets of your firm in unique ways that impact your customer’s business
design in fundamental ways. That’s what people are saying, we really need to
get better at that.
JFAM: I went to a Forrester conference not too long ago where the specific
topic was financial services. They were pointing specifically to a major
disconnect between the promise that a lot of the financial institutions are
making and the actual deliverable, meaning that they’re falling short on their
promise. They’re talking about firms making catchy slogan promises in their
advertising and when push came to shove, that really wasn’t the perception
that a lot of the customers and clients were having.
OLIVA: It’s intriguing. My brother is the head of the financial services practice in
Gardner so there is this business of being able to speak to your customers in
terms they understand: not promising in terms of latitudes, but promising in terms
of things that are genuinely resonant with customer needs. I think what happens
in a lot of these cases as you get into financial services communication, the
communication is general and swooshy and not really connected fundamentally
to things customers find immediately relevant and immediately resonant.
The client needs tools to enable people to find out just what those areas are
and how to zero in on them with laser light focus. Media gets more and more
crowded as listeners start changing their fundamental listening model. That’s
part of what I was hearing.
Number two had to do with China and India not as new markets, but as
reshapers of markets. The way China and India are going about becoming
outsource partners, becoming owners of brands, becoming places where if
you’re in b-to-b and you’re selling into a buying center, what happens when
that buying center has now been laid out to China and India and some of the
folks you’re selling to are now sitting in a different place in a different crowd
from competitors with a different business design from you.
There are merging markets and there are opportunities to sell and, yes, there
are straight outsourcing opportunities. I was sharing a lot more about how they
were reshaping the fundamentals of how business markets are operating.
JFAM: It really does change the paradigm when you really don’t even know
where your customer is sitting right now and what the cultural and media
circumstances are.
OLIVA: Research is ongoing, but it’s right at the leading edge. What are people
doing to protect themselves from the onslaught of information? What screens
are they developing? How do we deal with the fact that conventional tools for
measuring the effectiveness of media are really quite old now and do nothing
to tell us about how this particular piece of media will work with the multitask
user where virtually almost all of our users now are multitasking? I’m talking
to you on the phone, I have noise coming in, I’ve got people putting stuff on my
desk and I’ve got my computer on. The phone could be ringing, and everyone
is doing two or three things at once.
JFAM: And it’s even getting more complex because of kids. You and I grew up
when we pretty much had solitary media in front of us, but our kids are
growing up now doing five or six things at once.
OLIVA: You’re absolutely right. My 13-year-old can’t focus if he doesn’t have
something else going on. He’s got the radio on, the computer is going, playing
some “Lord of the Rings” thing, he’s working on his homework. Drives me crazy.
The millennium generation is a multitasking generation where you sell them
something and they will always be doing something else. You’ve nailed it.
Raising a couple of millennials has been really interesting for this boomer. I’m
not even a Gen Xer, but I’ve got millennial kids. It’s tricky.
The TV was totally spellbinding and there was nothing else going on. Now,
my 10-year-old sits in front of the TV and reads. He can be totally engrossed in
a book and if you challenge him on what’s going on in TV, he’s got all of that,
too. It’s remarkable. Again, I think there is a lot more bandwidth than you and
I grew up with, sitting there.
Number three was stronger quantitative skills and analytical tools. Much
more tangible. A lot of business-to-business marketing just hasn’t been done on
a strong quantitative basis. We need better tools that work in b-to-b marketing.
Number four was innovation and rebuilding the engine of growth. A lot of
firms during the downturn killed the innovation engine. Number five dealt with
new organizational models and linkages. How do you organize the marketing
function? How much is central? How much is decentral? The pendulum keeps
swinging back and forth. During a downturn, does everything get decentralized
and fragmented? Now everything seems to be heading toward centralization.
Can we avoid the next flip of the pendulum and decide that maybe it’s a
little bit of both? What are the organizational models?
Number six and number seven are sort of perennial favorites. They always
show up, they’re more or less antes to the game. Can we do a better job of
measuring marketing ROI was number 6. And number 7: can we create and
deploy better tools for demonstrating and documenting the value of our offerings?
So, those are the seven buckets that formed when we took maybe 200
pages of anecdotal data and starting saying, “what are the key terms here?”
JFAM: In this scandal-ridden environment, how is it best for a corporation to
communicate with both analysts and institutional investors? Is it best to just
shut up until this firestorm just sort of blows over? Or is it best to speak up and
claim that we’ve got a clean house and all is good?
OLIVA: I’ve got a fairly strong view on this. I think consistency is the key. I
would not suggest that a firm react to the firestorm by saying we have a clean
house or start claiming any extraordinary integrity. I think it’s a matter of
focusing on what your core value is and communicating that consistently.
We’ve got a very distorted view going on in my view of business. But what
I’ve seen, and this has been reflected in the research, is that this is a time to
crisp up your message and consistently communicate and use it. Don’t
change the message every six months. You will tire of your message way
before the market even recognizes it’s there.
Being inconsistent — one minute we’re this, next minute we’re that, let’s try
this, let’s try that, which sometimes is the way some advertising firms make
their bread and butter, let’s do new creative — this is not the time to do that.
This is time, in my mind, to reflect. I think this correlates highly to the things
you want to hear on your brand with respect to integrity and honesty. If you
keep changing, the inconsistency basically can begin touching your quality
scores and your integrity scores. I feel strongly now is the time to consistently
come to one message, speak that message quietly, but consistently and again
and again and again and again.
JFAM: And even with an institution like AIG, which is really under the microscope
right now, or the New York Stock Exchange, your advice to them would
be to keep it consistent and just keep moving forward?
OLIVA: What is your core value that you have and always will bring to the
marketplace? Again, if you’re in a real crisis situation, I mean if you’re Tylenol,
if there is something really pathological going on then even there I would say
that’s the time to aggressively communicate with the brand and the relationship
your brand has with the customer base and the core of your actions.
What to do and not do in those situations is surprisingly well documented.
In the Tylenol case, this stuff was textbook and you can deal with that. Take
action, take the hit up front, take the action to remove the problem.
Communicate consistently and put this under your own steam.
I actually think the worst thing you can do is shut up. If you shut up, you’re
about to drift on someone else’s ocean. You’re going to be flipped around by
the tide. People will fill in the blanks, folks like yourself will want to write about
it. Where are your sources going to come from? Wouldn’t it be better to talk to
someone straight from the source who came with a consistent message?
JFAM: These are very strange times and there’s a lot of smart brands out
there. I agree with your strategy, but not everyone has chosen that. A lot of
people just stuck their heads in the sand.
OLIVA: Even the big brand crisis. Again the classic case to look at is the Exxon
Valdez, what not to do. Then you look at Tylenol, a worse situation actually in
some ways, although they were clearly victimized. They didn’t have quite the
brand challenge that the Exxon Valdez had, but even there are basic things Exxon
could have done to put this in perspective, handle it better, consistently. Those
are all lessons that have been written up from several decades of practice.
When you get down to it, this side of brand management, the more you
move into the business-to-business world, is still fairly primitive. And this is a
place where, frankly, you need the help of someone who can coach you on the
value of consistent congruent communications around the core value.
Particularly, when you’re in this sort of noise, I think it’s the best way to go.
Not everybody agrees with me. There are people who say, “well, you’ve got
all these problems around the brand, such as raising brand awareness, so
don’t do that at this point in time.” I frankly just don’t agree with that. The noise
is out there. If you let the noise take over and you aren’t communicating your
side of the story with perspective, I think your brand takes a hit that you may
not be able to recover from.
JFAM: We’ve been thinking about an article for JFAM about what financial
advertisers or marketers can learn from celebrities, for example like Janet
Jackson with her wardrobe malfunction. Ashlee Simpson on “Saturday Night
Live” when she was caught lip syncing. Paula Abdul, going on TV the very next
day and coming clean. It’s funny how Hollywood has learned this trick and
maybe there are some lessons financial marketers could learn from Hollywood.
OLIVA: I don’t disagree. I think, if anything, it’s coming forward with a much
better story, even if there is a big, significant problem. If you look at Tylenol and
you look at the tragedy, the first thing — and this is crisis management 101—
is to provide perspective. The classic and incredible crises that have befallen
b-to-b firms, you know, a plant blows up or people are killed. (We can say)
“with all of the millions of hours and trillion of pounds of stuff we manufactured
and the 60 years of our existence, this is the first and most tragic event
you’ve ever seen. So in perspective, this is one isolated incident. (We say) how
sorry we are and here’s what were doing about it.”
There’s a fast food restaurant here, Sheetz Convenience Restaurants, which
is a growing chain in this area. Last summer, they got a delivery of a bad load
of tomatoes which gave a whole bunch of people in the area dysentery. They
handled that crisis by the numbers.
Steve Sheetz, the president of the firm, was very visible. He came out and
apologized. Told them very specifically this is the only event like this they’ve
had. He put it in perspective, told precisely what they have done to solve the
problem, took full responsibility. A supplier sent this van of tomatoes that had
e-coli or something in them. “But that wasn’t their problem, this is my
problem,” he said. “We have removed those. We cleaned everything up. We
guarantee if anyone has been seriously ill, call me personally.”
And then he got in front of the media. He held regular press conferences.
“Everyday,” he said, “I will be available to the media at one o’clock with an
update on this,” until the media finally got the message in two weeks that this
is just not news anymore. And the story just went away. By the time the
students came back on campus, I mentioned the Sheetz crisis and no one
knew anything about it.
JFAM: Mission accomplished.
OLIVA: And again, consistent, congruent communication with perspective. So
that’s another repetitive answer.
JFAM: There are so many lessons that can be learned. It’s really about grassroots
thinking about how to handle this crisis or this situation. They must have
had some kind of financial consultant working with them.
OLIVA: I don’t know. Steve Sheetz is a very smart man. Harvard trained. He uses
top level resources. This is a firm that is very, very innovative in terms of the
convenience store at the gas station. It’s really sort of leading edge practice there.
We really keep an eye on him and he is rewriting the rules on how this sort
of merchandising will happen. He might have had a crisis communication
consultancy. I suspect a lot of it came from Steve himself, just knowing that
this is the right thing to do and that he was going to take the responsibility:
“This is my brand on the line and that brand happens to be my name so, I am
going to do the right thing.” I think he listened to his communication director.
He says, “we’re going to put this under our own steam, we’re going to have
a press conference every day until the press is convinced there’s no more
news there.”
JFAM: What about Sarbanes-Oxley, which is about assigning accountability.
I hear about marketers locking horns with compliance at some institutions. I
know some institutions where compliance drives marketing. I know others
where the opposite is true. In what direction is the relationship going between
compliance and marketing?
OLIVA: I don’t know, it’s tough to answer that question one way or another. I
think it’s something in between. My view is that marketing at the end of the day
and markets, in particular, had better find a way to come to an equilibrium
around the truth well told.
McCann Erickson was one of my key agencies when I was at TI. I learned
a lot from them. They are not without their flaws, but they are a great agency.
So, you get inside that and peel it back, it has to be a truth that’s resonant with
your marketplace and carries a message that supports commerce. If you’re
guilty of overpromising consumers (both the b-to-b and b-to-c are very smart
right now), if you underdeliver the promise, that will hurt your brand.
Building a brand is about finding those things that are resonant with your
customers and consistently delivering those things through all media. It’s
everything you do. It’s not just the communications you do. Sarbanes-Oxley
reacts to elements of practice where there is fundamentally needed realignment
inside business.
A CEO needs to be responsible fundamentally for the brand and if that is
handed off to someone who hands it off to someone who hands it off to
another department and the brand is integrated all the way up to the CEO, this
is what our brand stands for. That is a fundamental business problem. I think
if the CEO for b-to-b and b-to-c understands the brand fundamentally, they
may not understand or candidly care much about the particulars of what
media we are going to buy this month to deliver this new product launch.
I have experts who are really good at this doing that for me. Show me the
message you are sending. Show me the employees that are going to deliver it.
Do they all understand what our brand means and what it doesn’t mean? Most
CEOs I know take responsibility for that and for those CEOs, I don’t think
Sarbanes-Oxley or compliance officers are going to have a lot of discussion.
For CEOs who basically delegated this way down the line and are only
remotely involved, it will mean some real corporate realignment and maybe
pushing them in areas they are not that comfortable with. So, I don’t know that
for some firms this is going to be a speed bump that will go away. Some firms
might not even notice it.
There are some additional things they will have to do to be sure they are
compliant. Candidly, to them it’s basically, “I see this and I know I’m naive in
this space, just checking up on what has been and what will be business as
usual.” Fundamentally, we haven’t changed the way we’ve done business
very much. Fundamentally, we’ve just added another thing here to be sure that
we’re complying with the rules, the regulations and the accountability provisions
of Sarbanes-Oxley.
JFAM: Many financial instutions today really do things by the book, meaning
they have a real tough compliance department. Is this another good example
of a heated battle between marketers and compliance officers. Will this cause
the face of financial marketing to change?
OLIVA: Perhaps, and I think the pendulum will swing. Visualize it as a pendulum
if the way of business and the way you handled your communications and the
way you handled your business would basically put you at incredible odds with
Sarbanes-Oxley. The pendulum is going to start swinging back in the other the
direction and it will probably overswing all the way to the other side. All of a
sudden, you find that these organizations have incredible inertias.
So if you start that pendulum swinging, we’d better be veraciously compliant,
because we’re being watched like hawks. Then I think the marketers there
might find themselves bridled for quite a few years and the compliance officers
will win out. On the other hand, if you have been running your business basi-
cally squeaky clean, really running your business in a way that would naturally
be Sarbanes-Oxley-compliant, then the pendulum doesn’t have to swing too far
to swing into compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley.
JFAM: Do you think accountability’s going to heat up a little bit more?
OLIVA: I figured in the short term you might want to quote Woody Allen, “the
lion will lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won’t get much sleep.” In the
short term, I think compliance officers view all sorts of things that are probably
going to happen. They’re going to have the year of the CEO and what
might get the upper hand, eventually that is going to hurt the ability for people
to market well.
JFAM: And the equilibrium will be reached?
OLIVA: The equilibrium will be coming. It’s going to take some firms longer
than others.
JFAM: I wanted to ask you about the notion of a media marketplace in the
future. What I’m referring to firstly is the role of the advertising agency in the
mix. How might its role evolve over time? Then, secondarily, do you foresee
any notion of an electronic marketplace for the buying and selling of media in
the future?
OLIVA: One of the interesting things that market communications people are
faced with now is that no matter what market your addressing, a person’s
personal relationship to the Internet, b-to-b or b-to-c is a constant flux.
Three weeks ago, I wanted to know about how to buy this particular product
on the Internet, but I wanted to go out and take a look and get information from
the Internet and buy it the same old way. Fast forward six months, I’ve become
a much more mature Internet buyer. I’m going to do a lot more buying on the
Internet. Wait a minute, now there is a whole other way to buy this stuff on the
Internet. That changes the rules of the game. Now I will buy on the Internet.
So, putting yourself in the position of the marketer, there are going to need to
be tools in place and maybe agencies or consultancies or some elements of
the media will take the lead in this.
What tools will be available to a marketer to enable them to identify and
impinge on their target audience in more creative ways that acknowledges
the role of the multitasking user. Who is going to take the lead in that? And I
honestly don’t have the answer to that. I know the jury is out.
This is something that Don Schultz (see page 8) is very concerned about. He
has a view of the receiver of information now, particularly in business-to-business.
He called this model OCR (Observations, Conversations and
Recommendations) where people are making observations. The people are
building networks and closed-loop systems. There are certain places where they
look and make their own observations. There are certain conversations they
have with people who are connected in a lot of different ways, some of that is
electronic, blogs and other things like that. And then there were recommendations.
Who do you look to in your environment to help you cut through the noise?
JFAM: It would take a forward-thinking kind of b-to-b agency that would back
disintermediation because they get threatened by this whole notion. But by
enabling the conversation or the marketplace, it’s a very nice spot to be in.
OLIVA: Again, there’s a tremendous opportunity there for value-added. If you
can really assist your clients in understanding that the nature of the receiver
is changing, it’s changing rapidly. If you’re showing up, and this is what is
showing up in the consumer space, the obvious answer to this is the full-page,
full-color bleed print ad.
Now wait a minute, hold on, that’s the same old thing you’ve been telling us
to do for 50 years and that was fine for the 4Ps marketplace of the ’50s, but
we’re in a whole different kind of marketing now. And I think those agencies
are already on their way out. Procter & Gamble invented the 30-second TV ad.
I think the answer is that there is going to be a new marketplace for media.
I think it’s for leading edge agencies and it’s there’s to form and take. If the
agency’s consistent business model or business design is serving up the same
old media the same old ways, frankly, I think they’re writing their own doom.
JFAM: In the past, the agency business has been able to get away with something.
You never really know what you’re buying or where it’s going. I think in
these times, people aren’t putting up with it any more. I think a more transparent
marketplace is on the horizon.
OLIVA: Along that line, I think there is a incredible opportunity. I think there will
be more transparency in media transactions, for sure, but the idea that the
naive buyer can simply intermediate the agency will only come true if the
agency doesn’t step up to the job of adding the intelligence needed.
It’s always been the case that a really sharp agency can bring you a hell of
a lot more than good or mysterious media buying. It’s a matter of coupling the
knowhow of Don Schultz with electronic media buying kind of mix. You are
really bringing added value. Schultz is one of what I’m hoping will become a
growing family of researchers who begin shedding light on how do we effectively,
efficiently and without creating ill effects, get our messages out into this
noisy multitasking world.
JFAM: Part of the model of the agency is that they get paid on volume. They
get a percentage of the media, you know, it’s like they don’t want to see any
of that go away. Their job is not about the advice, it’s about how much media
can I buy from you. And I think that fundamentally really has to change.
OLIVA: That’s been changing already, I mean particularly in b-to-b. The b-to-b
agencies we work with, I’m sure that’s part of their cash stream.
JFAM: True, it has been changing for a while.
OLIVA: More in b-to-b. I’ve been amazed listening to Jim Stengel, who is chief
marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, on how fast it’s changing in b-to-c. The
quality of the direction, the deep understanding of how to shape the message
and then what media mix in today’s world we put together for you to get that
message across and achieve the results. I think you’re going to see a lot more
fee-based. There already is much, much less media commission kinds of business
design. There are probably a few holdouts who live a long time. But, I
think it’s accelerating. The model is changing.
JFAM: What do you think the standard advertising agency will be doing for
their clients 20 years from now?
OLIVA: I believe they are going to be doing what they are doing now, but in an
entirely different way. I think they are going to be bringing a portfolio service
to their clients that enable their marketplace to work. I don’t think in the next
20 years print media are going away, but they are going to bring an array of
I hope to God they will be doing research into how people are getting their
information, perhaps together with academic researchers. How do we best
serve their needs for information? How do we help our marketers build their
brands and achieve their marketing objectives in this noisy environment?
I think they’re going to be a lot more specialized. I think they are going to
have to get deep in the domains of their customers and really be a lot more of
an extension of their customer’s business. We are already beginning to see
that, although media and technologies change at the speed of imagination,
human beings are still changing at the speed of evolution.
I think marketers need to be anthropologists to really deeply understand the
parts of the human being that aren’t changing. What are those elements that
are timeless that we can capitalize on in terms of getting messages across
and how do we help our agency customers reach these humans as they deal
with this barrage of data? How do we get their attention?
Agencies are going to need to get much, much deeper into the business of

their customers. 

By Alan

The online experience is changing the shopping and buying habits of
consumers. It is also adding a critical chapter to the rule book of marketing.
How we structure, plan, buy and measure media is being challenged by the
direct, interactive and personalized nature found online.
Online is democratizing marketing and enabling relatively small, aggressive companies like Emigrant

Direct, to capture a market share from established brands.

The online experience is changing the shopping and buying habits of
consumers. It is also adding a critical chapter to the rule book of marketing.
How we structure, plan, buy and measure media is being challenged by the
direct, interactive and personalized nature found online.
In many ways, taking full advantage of this emerging opportunity requires a
reassessment of the classic tenets of advertising. Online is democratizing
marketing and enabling relatively small, aggressive companies like Emigrant
Direct, to capture a market share from established brands. They’re deal-driven,
built for speed, and constantly adjusting what and where they advertise.
Taking action
The Internet allows advertisers to deliver a message to a consumer after they
have demonstrated a specific interest. For example, when people visit Google
and enter the search term “online savings bank,” their actions reveal their
intent. When they spend significant time on investment sites, they reveal plenty
about their financial needs. This is the most informative
and productive opening a marketer can hope for and the
results can be spectacular.
This approach should resonate in the financial services
industry where lenders have historically based their evaluation
criteria on behavioral patterns. After all, a key
factor in establishing a consumer’s credit worthiness is previous payment
history. As much as a lender wants to know the current financial status of the
borrower, it is even more important to know how someone paid an earlier
debt. People who have paid their bills on time in the past are more likely to pay
them on time in the future. Action is the leading indicator.
Emigrant Direct has become a player in banking without spending a dollar on
conventional brand advertising. The bank leverages the Internet to make targeted
offers that invite immediate action. The bank’s online campaign is continually evaluated
and then optimized on the basis of the cost-per-value of each account.
That said, Emigrant Direct would not have been able to achieve its success
without a high-quality brand. Consumers are cautious with their savings and
they need to trust their bank. The reality is that Emigrant Direct has branded
the bank with every dollar spent. It’s just that the dollars are spent with a
direct-response mindset.
I am not suggesting that large financial institutions abandon pure brand
strategies that are best served in traditional media. But when it comes to interactive
advertising, it’s essential to prompt a direct response. Online is a direct,interactive experience. Every step requires an action on the consumers’ part.
If they aren’t motivated, they won’t click through to the next screen to get
information, let alone request a brochure, open an online account or head to
a branch to conduct business.
Buy people, not pages
It’s tempting to target consumers on the Internet the way a magazine
campaign would be approached. The sites with the highest composition of
target audience need to be found and a predetermined number of ads placed
on those sites. In other words, buy the site.
The leading websites now offer a more sophisticated approach. They
collect data from the majority of their users, which enables them to deliver ads
to specific people based on a combination of their registration profiles, recent
behavior (where they have clicked on the site and what they searched for) and
demographics (age, zip code or gender) or any combination of these. Yahoo
can define an audience of men aged 35-50 with more than $75,000 annual
income who have actively searched for financial advisors in the past month.
Smart online marketing is no longer about the composition of the website’s
audience or fishing for target consumers by putting an ad on a particular page.
It is about locating the right people at the right place at the right time.
Picture a print edition of The New York Timesthat features different ads
based on who is reading it. Macy’s could place ads for woman’s clothes and
perfume in front of female readers and ads for men’s shoes and flat screen
televisions in front of male readers. This approach would
be more effective and efficient than the current print
model. But Macy’s can place ads this way when they
advertise online at
Buying people enables a marketer to bypass some of
the highest-priced pages on a site. Instead of dangling a
message where target consumers might go, offers are delivered where they
actually go — whether it’s the weather page or an op-ed column.
If people read an article on or a blog, they have decided to go there
for a reason. They don’t always want to click on an ad and be taken to another
web site. Instead of interrupting the experience, advertisers need to include
themselves in the experience.
Rich media technology has developed so that advertisers can include video,
forms, coupons, rollovers and other functionality in their ad. This makes a
banner ad an active vehicle. Consumers can get the complete message and
take action without being asked to leave the site. The result is conversion
rates five times higher than normal banner ads.
There are an astounding number of communities operate on the web
existing around subjects such as Elvis, insomnia and baseball. Virtually every
topic is imaginable, even finance. One forum exists solely for the purpose of
helping people open up an Emigrant Direct account. At this writing, the forum
runs 90 pages with 40 to 50 messages per page.
Marketers must harness the power in these forums. If people simply join a
forum and start shilling a product, longtime members will spot this instantly
and more harm than good will come to the brand. Marketers need to be open
participants. To do this, find the leaders of the community
and ask them how you can help them. Become a valuable
member of the community. Offer members a special deal
or a chance to get advice from your chief strategist.
The bottom line is that the Internet is a participatory
medium. That goes for marketers as well as consumers.
The smarter ads online are the ones that generate the highest level of interaction,
not the ones that seem funniest, most artful, most confronting — any
of the designations we typically apply to advertising. Similarly, smarter landing
pages are the ones that yield the most conversions, not the ones that paint the
prettiest picture. There is no magic formula for banners or landing pages, but
there is a formula for each brand. You have to experiment to develop it.
It’s essential to get in the mix every day, constantly shifting creative executions.
Never abandon test mode. This is fundamentally different from traditional
media, particularly broadcast, where we invest tremendous resources to get
the precise execution and then even more money to put it across consumers’
minds’ eyes as often as possible within a defined period of time. If online advertising
is implemented in this way, the needle simply will not move.
Hurry up
Brand planning is a thoughtful, deliberate step-by-step process. The Internet
is more akin to a pinball game, where the marketing is either fluid or it fails.
One of the greatest assets of Emigrant Direct is CEO Howard Millstein’s ability
to continually refine the bank’s offerings. An interest rate change or a low-ball
competitive promotion can shift the savings market within hours. Millstein will
approve a new ad and search terms Friday afternoon based on what is pulled
that morning. The changes are implemented immediately, three to four weeks
before larger organizations can react.
As for consumers, their online actions reveal where they are in the purchase
cycle. Consumers who are conducting research might read online reviews.
Consumers who are ready to buy might be looking for store addresses. Each
cycle point requires a specific message, or sequence of messages. People who
are obviously “kicking tires” should get thorough information about a product or
service. It’s time to close the deal when those who are looking for retail loca
tions are likely ready for a direct offer. Smart marketers make sure that their
agencies continually test this variable.
The fluidity of online puts tremendous pressure on agencies and marketing
departments. Getting real-time traffic reports and making changes in the
moment will lead to successful advertising. There’s no time for the approval
process. The experts need to be at the controls and free to act immediately.
As this pressure intensifies, it will force advertisers to create dedicated,
separate but aligned operations to meet online needs. General media teams
can set the strategic parameters, but Net nerds need to do the work. The
delivery is in the details and will continue to be.
Ironically, Internet satellites are the best step toward
online-offline integration. The Internet offers marketers a
24/7 learning lab. When insiders pull the promotional
strings on a daily basis, insights into consumer behavior
and advertising effectiveness constantly emerge. It’s
easier to share these insights back up the chain and
modify overall media strategy around them than it is to force-fit the general
policy into Internet buys.
When an action-oriented team uses autonomy and real-time direction, they
move the market and propel brand development. Brand communication
happens at the subconscious level when people are engaged. When they
click on the image, they enter a relationship with the brand. Make the right
offer and people will engage. 
Alan Pearlstein is CEO of Flying Point Media (, a New York-based online
marketing agency whose clients include Borders Bookstores, Emigrant Direct, Kaplan University

and Tony Robbins. He can be reached at

By Carol

Companies should focus on employees like any other constituency. Don’t
assume that a climate survey is the same thing as market research. The
employees’ degree of happiness with their managers, co-workers and benefits
is certainly a useful indicator of overall morale, but you should dig deeper
to understand how they feel about the products offered and their ability to

deliver on brand promises.

Companies should focus on employees like any other constituency. Don’t
assume that a climate survey is the same thing as market research. The
employees’ degree of happiness with their managers, co-workers and benefits
is certainly a useful indicator of overall morale, but you should dig deeper
to understand how they feel about the products offered and their ability to
deliver on brand promises.
Communicate about the goals of any advertising or branding initiative. In other
words, segment the employee base by understanding the needs of management
as well as staff. Senior managers with a bottom-line orientation need to understand
why and how your marketing dollars are being invested. Turn potential
skepticism into support by educating managers about what you want to achieve,
and the research and analysis that went into your decision-making.
Avoid buzzwords. Most financial services executives don’t have a clue nor do
they care about the relative merit of aided and unaided awareness, for example.
Don’t overempower employees to determine creative direction. As all
marketers know, positioning and advertising can be judged subjectively. So by
all means use employees to inform your approach, but trust all the work being
done as long as long as it is done on strategy.
Avoid surprises. Keep your key constituents informed about the progress of
your initiatives. This is true for employees and management. The worst
possible outcome of a marketing or advertising program is an unprepared sales
force. Give employees time to understand the concepts being promoted, especially
if there is a new product involved or customer service standards and
procedures are changing.
Among the management team, key executives should be kept in the loop
about how and why an advertising or marketing campaign has been developed.
You don’t need to put them to sleep with focus group tapes, but a beautifully
edited five minute video of customer reactions to an ad or product enhancement
can go a long way to establish a groundswell of support for your work.
In conclusion, financial services marketers ignore employees and managers
at their peril. This audience can be a marketer’s best friend — or worst enemy.
As Putnam’s Forrester puts it, “In the financial services world, your brand and
your employees are your biggest assets. The quality, talent and motivation of
your employees can be your biggest differentiator. They are a hugely important


By Carol

Several years ago, a super-regional bank considered an innovator (I’ll call it Bank A) invested heavily to build a capital management business that moved the institution beyond traditional banking. Several years ago, a super-regional bank considered an innovator (I’ll call it Bank A) invested heavily to build a capital management business that moved the institution beyond traditional banking. They developed a product that, at the time, was quite revolutionary: a linked checking and investment account. Other major money centers weren’t close to offering the same quality, comprehensive reporting, ease of use and support. Senior management was eager to maximize the profits realized through sales of this product. The president of Bank A set aggressive revenue goals and committed a significant marketing budget to assist the effort. An ad agency that was highly regarded for its creativity was selected. It was thrilled at the opportunity to create a campaign and put the bank on the map. It embarked on a classic (albeit, hurried) brand positioning exercise, developed and shot commercials for broadcast, and produced similarly themed print ads and collateral material. Excitement built throughout the bank as the campaign launch approached. Again, following a classic communications model, the senior marketing team created a multimedia program to inform employees about the background and rationale for the new advertising. Managers were trained to present the information to their staff. Every detail was planned carefully to ensure smooth and comprehensive employee communications. The day before the launch, employees met in groups with their managers and found a cleverly designed “pizza box” that contained a VHS of the commercials, an explanation of the bank’s “brand lens” (a way of looking at the world from the perspective of a company’s brand) and positioning approach, key messages and a glossy brochure that detailed the benefits of the product. Managers used a script to explain the background of the campaign and the positioning, and then showed the reel of commercials. The campaign failed. Sales of the product increased, but not nearly enough to justify the expense of the campaign. The problem wasn’t the quality of the commercials. They were beautifully conceived and produced. They had attention to detail on the internal roll-out. The product itself was superior. But total sales fell far short of the original goal. The failure resulted from lack of support and buy-in from employees and In the same vein, the advertising community was riveted earlier this year by the story of Bank of America’s $600 million agency review. Although full details of what did or did not go wrong in the relationship between B of A and Interpublic Group (IPG) will probably never be known, an article in Ad Age suggests that “internal politics” at B of A was an important factor. In this case, business unit executives were said to be frustrated by a lack of participation in or control of the creative process, which was centralized and controlled by a corporate marketing unit. There are clear parallels between Bank A and the current branding and advertising challenges that Bank of America faces. Where, exactly, do things go so wrong? I have identified three clear danger spots. First, teams don’t always communicate. Secondly, advertising doesn’t always reflect the culture, and lastly, the role of marketing is sometimes resented. Let’s take a closer look at each of them. Teams don’t communicate. If executives expect a campaign to make the phone ring off the hook while the ad team is taking the first important steps toward building a brand, problems will arise. This, potentially, was the case for B of A. No matter how much a CEO or other top executive claims the goal is to build the brand, the reality is that the company is looking for a tangible result from its investment. Marketers should believe that they are equally focused on a result. Sometimes, though, a meaningful result in the minds of the marketing department simply does not resonate with management. Questions should be asked about the time frames needed to get results and what defines success or failure in the eyes of management. The vocabulary of marketing also establishes inadvertent trip wires. I worked closely with one company president who was frustrated that the ad concepts we showed him didn’t reflect his view of the company, its products or the brand. As the marketing head, I was equally frustrated because every idea we developed was tested against the creative brief. In desperation, I went to the president with a copy of the brief and showed him exactly how the ad met our advertising goals. At this point, the light went on for him. He had no idea what a creative brief was, or how it would be used. It seemed benign enough when he signed off on it, but he was expecting a completely different creative output. Ads don’t always reflect the culture. In the regional bank example, the ad agency focused on its own end product — the ad campaign. They understood the business and they understood the product. What they didn’t know was the degree of internal competition for scarce marketing dollars, and the percepquestions tion that the investment management division was getting “more than their fair share.” They also badly misjudged the response to the launch kit. Employees who had been living in an environment of endless austerity were furious at what they perceived to be a waste of money in the form of the glitzy pizza box packaging. Consider the experience of Len Blaifeder, vice president of advertising at The Bank of New York. “Many years ago, at a bank for which I previously worked, I saw a television ad being introduced to a group of branch employees,” he recalls. “Their reaction was muted at best because they felt it presented a customer experience that they could not support. They felt like they were bound to fail. While management lacked the foresight to engage employees earlier in the advertising process, they were smart enough to pull the ad before it ever aired.” When Putnam Investments was the focus of negative publicity for several months, employee morale suffered. Gordon Forrester, director of marketing for Putnam’s retail business, became highly focused on employees then. “In the eye of the storm, we made sure that our employees knew what was going on and that they understood that the organization was making changes for the right reasons,” he says. Working with a large team of Putnam executives and outside agencies, Forrester developed a new broadcast advertising campaign. Although the reassurance and retention of clients was extremely important, the campaign was designed to show employees that Putnam was going on the offensive with its new controls and regulatory standards. The campaign was supported internally through articles in employee publications and e-mail broadcasts. They also ran the new commercials in cafeterias and other gathering places. As Putnam continues to improve, employees are buoyed by the advertising program as one part of the communications they receive. “It is vital to understand the depth of the employees’ need for information and the impact on them at work and in nonwork settings,” Forrester says. “The communications program must respect employees’ feelings by signaling a realistic approach to change.” Other banks understand the importance of their employees because their crucial role in the delivery of the service makes them just as important, if not more so, than even their customers. Employees are often utilized when the institutions seek philanthropic causes. Some banks even poll their employees about what charities, such as those concerning children and education, should benefit from their initiatives. The role of marketing is resented. Some financial services executives, particularly those who are very traditional or b-to-b focused, still look at marketing as “overhead” or a “cost center” that doesn’t understand their complex products or market realities. This is one of the most dangerous situations for a marketer. Many times, I have seen business unit managers subtly or not so subtly destroy a marketing or advertising campaign because they didn’t believe that their views had been addressed, even when the program is focused on a completely different business than its own. There is no question that marketing leadership in a financial services company is a delicate balance. On the one hand, the role of marketing is to determine brand and marketing strategy and then stand firm and let the strategy run its course, fighting off naysayers along the way. It is equally important, though, to ensure that marketing strategy reflects the culture, reality and resources of the product delivery system. Rich Aneser, director of brand planning and marketing communications for the Global Private Client Group of Merrill Lynch, takes no chances here. Like all strategic marketers, he segments his audience and top grossing financial executives are an important constituency. “Alignment is the key,” he says, adding that Merrill has 14,000 financial advisors. “Ground your aspirations in the best you’ve got.” Aneser consults with FAs about market research findings and how this data will be used to reach clients and prospects in the overall advertising and marketing programs. “Although I don’t ask them to drive the creative approach, the overall messages are congruent with their own experience in the marketplace,” he says. “Then, as we roll out positioning and develop advertising and communications programs, we listen hard to their reactions.” Rita Rodriguez, CEO of Americas for Enterprise IG, a major brand consultancy, believes the burden must be placed with highest level of management. “Commitment has to be at the most senior level of the company, and not just for sake of rhetoric,” she says. Rodriguez is a veteran advisor on brands to several major financial institutions. She was recently brought in to help a large U.S. bank start a new brand after a merger. The management team launched and reinforced the brand across all communications channels, including town halls, the intranet and the distribution of brochures that represented the brand values. In a unique approach, they produced different versions of the brochure, so that every employee didn’t receive the same one, although the themes were the same. As a result, employees compared what they received with each other, and initiated conversations about underlying messages, which kept the program alive for an extended period. “Senior management was intensely interested in learning how to make business and marketing decisions based on what the brand stands for,” Rodriguez continued. She states that there is a strong sense of ownership of the brand program and its inherent values within human resources, finance, corporate communications and marketing.  Carol Parish is marketing director of brand strategy for Enterprise IG in the Americas. Her experiece includes 18 years as a corporate marketing executive and more than six years as a brand strategy and communications consultant. She can be reached at

By Karl

It starts as an innocent flirtation. A long and sometimes complex courtship
evolves. Is this someone we can trust, respect and live with for years? Are
we simply infatuated with the charming personality or is this the real thing?
It starts as an innocent flirtation. A long and sometimes complex courtship
evolves. Is this someone we can trust, respect and live with for years? Are
we simply infatuated with the charming personality or is this the real thing?
Selecting an advertising agency may be less romantic than selecting a mate
for life. However, the presentation process is an excellent time for both the
financial institution and the agency to assess their compatibility, working
styles and expectations. A breakup can be costly and messy. There are ways
to increase the odds of a long lasting and profitable relationship. It requires
effort on the part of the advertiser. The old-time method of saying “bring us a
couple of ideas” just doesn’t cut it today.
When I speak to advertising and marketing groups, my most requested
speech is “How to Keep Clients… Happy!” As the owner of an advertising
agency for 30 years, I was fortunate enough to serve two accounts for 25
years and another for 18. Our largest account was a bank, which I worked
with for 14 years. I tell the audience it wasn’t lunches and golf games that kept
clients around, it was involvement with their businesses and an agency-wide
devotion to increasing their bottom lines. Attitudes and relationships do count.
The challenge is to shift though the clutter of agency pitches in order to come
up with a winner.
Who are these people?
The first order of business is building the financial institution’s review team.
Who is going to be on the team? Why are they here and what will they
contribute? Some may be marketing people who have day-to-day contact with
the agency. Others may have some contact with the
agency and be in periphery services that will be impacted
by advertising. It’s important to determine who will be the
decision maker and who are there simply as a courtesy.
Paul Welsh of the Welsh Group and I have worked
together on several projects and have similar backgrounds.
He and I both helped found our own agencies, have experience with
financial institutions and worked on the client side. He suggests to clients
during the agency search that they should build a model of their perfect advertising
agency. They should candidly discuss what they like and dislike about
their current agency relationship and any past agency relationships. This way
they can prioritize the skills, traits and service approaches needed for the new
agency. It creates a selection criteria which helps people agree on their
needs. This model will help develop requests for proposals (RFP).
An agency response to an RFP can include a lengthy and impressive list of
current and former accounts. Clients should ask agencies to list the people
(such as account executives, creative directors and media directors) who
worked on these accounts they are featuring in case
studies or creative portfolios. They need to identify which
ones are still employed at the agency, if they are part of
the proposed team and what roles they play. Businesses
should not buy an agency. Rather, they should choose
people to fit their needs.
In the RFP, ask the agencies to show two of their best campaigns and
explain why they feel this way. They may focus on strategies — how they put
it together and the results they obtained. They may choose to highlight a great
creative effort. What is important to the agency? How does this fit with the
company’s expectations?
Don’t ask for spec creative
When it comes to the presentation, don’t ask for speculative creative work.
Spec work is a waste of time for both agency and client. Case histories with
creative examples should provide you with enough information to judge an
agency’s strategic and creative skills. In the early days of our agency, presentations
were often creative contests. It probably seemed easier and more
entertaining to judge spec creative than examine more worthwhile information.
For example, Kuhn & Wittenborn Advertising has a long and successful
track record in the financial field. President and CEO Whitey Kuhn, however,
realizes that working on spec is not always beneficial.
“Some people look for a magic bullet with spec creative (and make it) the
answer to the problem,” Kuhn says. “The problem is the agency doesn’t know
enough to make it work. In 27 years, I don’t remember a client using the
creative material from a presentation,”
Kuhn & Wittenborn’s vice president and director of client services Julie
Robinson agrees. “Clients now look at the process and the agency’s problemsolving
abilities. They see this as the step to great creative work,” she says.
Many agencies do spec creative simply because the other agencies are
doing it. If no specs are allowed, agencies will likely breathe a sigh of relief.
Specs are costly and take away from other account work. The best agencies
will see this request as a sign of professionalism.
“An agency can’t give the best recommendations because they will have
incomplete information and not enough time to do their best job,” comments
Welsh of the Welsh Group. “It’s an equal playing field for all the agencies, but
it’s like picking the Super Bowl champ based on how they did in preseason.”
All four of us agree that agencies should not create specific media plans
because it’s too early for specifics, but that some may do media research.
Agencies should be asked to provide media case studies if that’s going to be
part of their responsibility. If they are interested in positioning, ask the agencies
to provide two examples of how they positioned a company, product or
service. These case studies will reveal how the agencies approached positioning
and how well they executed the positioning.
No more than four agencies should be asked to present. It gets confusing if
a financial institution takes the time for a thorough search and interviews
more than four.
Getting to know the agency people takes more than a one-shot meeting in
a conference room. Ask who will be assigned to the account. Visit the agency
and meet one-on-one in the offices of those people from account services,
creative, and media. Even at a large agency, there will be a relatively small
group of people working on it. Seek them out, ask questions and listen. It’s the
only way to know how compatible both parties will be.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What kind of businesses have they worked
with in the past? What are their advertising philosophies? How long have they
been with the agency? What other accounts are they working on and how
important are these accounts to the agency? Ask the people for candid opinions
on the agency’s ability to get good work done on time and their thoughts
on the other members of the proposed account team. These answers can
sometimes surprise you.
What’s on your mind?
Julie Robinson calls this presentation process a trial period. It is a time for
questions and an assessment of compatibility. Based on my experience with
several hundred new business pitches, there are a number of questions that
go through the agencies’ minds. Do these people know
what they want? Who’s in charge? Will it be a good
working relationship? Can we make any money on this
account? Will our primary contact be open to new
creative approaches or will it want to play it safe and
stifle original ideas?
Some agencies actually walk away from new business. It is all part of the
compatibility/chemistry evaluation.
When the agency makes its presentation, expect to hear from the
“pitchers,” not the “workers.” Every agency has talented new business
presenters. Some have acting skills. The people who pitch your business and
then disappear are not important in the decision-making process. The most
important measurement is the quality of the people who will be working with
the financial institution every day.
Welsh tells of a new business pitch done by a presenter who captivated the
audience. She was enthusiastic, smart and professional. Welsh’s search
client was envisioning the opportunities that would
abound with a person like this heading up their account
team. At the end of the presentation, Welsh asked the
presenter one last question: “What other business do you
work on at the agency?” The presenter proudly offered
that she was the lead person on the “XYZ account.” The
agency had already identified “XYZ” as their largest account in that office.
This did not necessarily disqualify the agency, but made it clear that the
talented presenter would not be the primary contact on the business. That’s
why it is imperative to know what the presenter’s roles will be in servicing the
account and who will be working on the business on a daily basis.
Count on the agency to try to identify the big decision maker and playing to
him or her. I recall at the end of an agency pitch looking directly at the CEO of
a bank and asking him “Sir, do you like what you’ve seen well enough to hire
us?” The CEO looked at his squad of vice presidents and said “Fellows, I really
like this. What do you think?” At that moment I knew we had just closed the
biggest account in our agency’s history to date. Agencies can often sense if
there is one person in the room who can make an on-the-spot decision.
The content of the presentation can reveal a great deal about the agency
and its ability to listen and provide professional counsel. We tried to have 75
percent of the presentation devoted to the client and related materials and 25
percent of the pitch about the agency. A dog-and-pony show with generalized
(but beautiful) material touting the agency throughout the presentation does
not bode well for clients interested in the process and case studies.
A pitch featuring spec creative work tends to be best in the dog-and-pony
atmosphere. Remove the spec creative and the focus moves to problem solution
and the agency people who provided the solution.
Agencies want to convince potential clients that they will become partners
in the business. In my “How to Keep Clients” speech, I ask how many people
and their staffs have visited the client and used their services. There’s no
substitute for one-on-one research before and after an agency goes to work
for a client. By combining face-to-face interviews and industry data, better
relationships and creative work are built. By listening to the presentations,
clients can distinguish who has done their footwork and who has just read the
Specialist or generalist
Should a financial institution employ an advertising agency that is a specialist
in the financial business? Some of the best known authorities have stated that
a specialist will outperform a generalist.
Some agencies specialize in any of a wide variety of businesses. By
focusing on one industry, many have built successful businesses. My own
agency benefited greatly though associations with financial institutions. We
worked with banks for 30 years. We weren’t really specialists, but our financial
experience was a great selling point. I continue to work with banks today
as a consultant. However, I have worked with 100 other clients in my career
and I think this breadth of experience is valuable.
“The fact is the clients know their business better than
we do,” Whitey Kuhn comments. “We know how to
communicate. I think broad experience helps. Tactics
unrelated to your financial category can get you out of
the ordinary.”
Welsh agrees: “If you’re looking for fresh thinking and
innovative ideas, an agency with little or no experience in your industry might
be good. If you want someone who knows how to avoid the industry’s trap
doors, you may be better off with a specialist. The key is deciding what you
want up front and not in the middle of the pitches.”
Financial institutions are complex creatures. They have a wide variety of
services. Competition comes from numerous businesses today. As a result, it’s
time for breakthrough creative thinking.
Advertisers often employ agency search consultants. These firms can help
organize and handle details of the search from beginning to end. They can
provide a third party viewpoint that can save time and money, and, hopefully,
help find the best match for your needs.
“Agency search firms tout their ad agency database capabilities,” Welsh
says. “But ad agency databases are highly overrated for one simple reason:
employee turnover. Even the best agencies lose key people every year. And
agencies don’t do the work, people do. The people who actually produced the
work featured in the agency portfolio may not even be at the agency. Unless
a search firm is tracing employees as well as agencies, the value of the database
is devalued. Without employee information, the database can actually
provide deceptive information.”
One advertising agency executive said: “Some search firms are good, some
are bad. I’ve seen agencies with no chance to compete brought in to simply
fill out a roster.”

The bottom line: The right search firm can be a valuable partner. As with

your agency search, be prepared to spend some time in reviewing the experiences,
operations, and credentials of the search firm.
The seven golden rules
I have a list of seven golden rules to help guide financial marketers through an
agency search:
1Divorce isn’t always necessary. Don’t part company with the agency over
petty issues that can be resolved with candid and worthwhile discussions.
2Begin with an introspective approach. Determine the strengths and weaknesses
in the former client/agency relationship. Define wants and needs.
3Be realistic about the search team. Have a small number of people who
are qualified to help make a decision.
4Don’t ask for spec creative work.
5Ask to see case histories and examine them. Ask questions. Find out how
many agency people involved in the case histories are still employed there.
6Give meaning to the word “chemistry.” Meet one-on-one with the
proposed agency team. Have a prepared list of questions and see how the
chemistry develops.
7Ask the agency: “After you have worked with us for one year, what would
be the three things, in order, that you would hope to accomplish with us?”
If the answers are creative excellence, awards and an
increased bottom line, you will know their priorities.
Many years ago, I heard Rosser Reeves of the Ted Bates
Agency give one of his last speeches. Reeves was the USP
(unique selling proposition) man whose in-your-face
campaigns (“M&Ms melt in your mouth and not in your
hand!” and “Get rid of ring around your collar!”) annoyed and sold people
throughout the United States. Reeves said: “Advertising is never, ever going to
be a science. Advertising is, and will remain, a curious fusion between writing,
art, cinema, showmanship, broadcasting and the press with psychology, genius,
intuition and guesswork thrown in.” Reeves did say that while advertising
wasn’t a duplicable science, principles exist that create success.
People buy based on emotion, not logic. However, that emotion must come
from a strong marketing foundation. Selecting an advertising agency is not a
duplicable science. Times and circumstances change. You can increase the
odds for success by researching the agency’s people, attitudes and work.
Investigation and intuition can result in many years of trust, respect and a

lasting relationship. 

Karl Yehle is the owner of Yehle Marketing, a marketing, advertising and consulting firm. The
former president of Smith & Yehle Advertising, he has more than 30 years experience in the

financial services industry and can be reached at

By Steve Gardner

If you don’t receive at least half a dozen articles and e-mails about the need

for new ways to reach consumers, you’re not in marketing.

Who’s Got The Power Now?
By Steve Gardner and Tom Nelson
If you don’t receive at least half a dozen articles and e-mails about the need
for new ways to reach consumers, you’re not in marketing.
You’ll be told that the 30-second TV commercial is dead and that your
website is the new 30-second ad. That it’s time to flog a blog and create some
branded content. Interestingly, precious little is written about why all this is


A confluence of technologies and cultural forces have suddenly and
violently wrenched the buyer-seller relationship in favor of the buyer. It is, in
fact, a buyers’ market, where the consumer has a dazzling array of choice, an
unprecedented ability to find exactly what they want and the ability to negotiate

— even set — the price they want.

How have smart marketers responded?

The most brilliant marketing organizations have seized upon a new set of
practices to seize the enormous opportunity presented in our very new world.
While traditional thinkers attempt to respond in traditional ways, the smart
brands are responding to this buyers’ market with Buyers’ MarketingTM, and

are winning because of it.

With products such as instant messaging, Blackberries, TV on your cell
phone and on-demand digital cable television, the long-promised vision of
convergence is finally here. Individual consumers now have mankind’s reservoir
of information at their fingertips, and simple tools to manipulate it in


People google blind dates, new bosses and their son’s new history teacher.
They find the Corvette they couldn’t afford in 1967 and can’t resist in 2005. Is
today her birthday? Access
But even as today’s buyers are gaining more power,
institutions are seeing theirs dissipate. Across the board,
a collapse in trust in institutions is actively removing

leverage from the seller’s side of the transactions.

Take a look at these facts from 2001. Only 12 percent of
Americans have “a great deal of faith in information provided by companies”
and 70 percent say companies “can’t be trusted to make safe products
without standards.” These numbers come from the time before Enron, Arthur
Andersen, Tyco, mutual funds, Adelphia and WorldCom.
The virtually omnipotent consumer
This erosion of trust in institutions and the radical access to information has
created a highly combustible mix leading to the rise of the empowered,
emboldened consumer. And that’s creating a fundamental change in the relationship

between buyer and seller.

People once hated to haggle prices with car dealers. Now they walk onto
the lot armed with up-to-the-second pricing information that gives them the

upper hand in negotiations.

One cultural revolution unto itself is eBay, where
empowered buyers and individual sellers find perfect
value equations because they have eliminated the intermediary
from the entire traditional distribution infrastructure.
The dark side of consumer empowerment, of
course, is that we now all have 700 television channels and no time to watch.
Time poverty, which was first diagnosed back in the leisurely ’90s is
markedly worse. We all work one more full week a year than ten years ago.
But when we take our blackberries to the kids’ soccer games and wear our
beepers to church, how does the researcher even measure “work” time
anymore? We have all become 24/7 customer service centers for kids,

spouses, bosses, clients, and teacher conferences.

How can marketers respond?

In a world where emboldened, untrusting consumers have all the power but
not enough time to use it, great brands seize the opportunity. They make it easy
to give customers exactly what they want, how they want it, when they want it.
That’s our definition of Buyers’ Marketing, and we have identified six practices
that we think the best ones follow. Along the way, we’ll point out how
these have been brought to bear — or dangerously ignored — in the financial

services industry.

Go for radical ease of use. Apple wrote the book on ease of use, Microsoft
standardized it, AOL took it online and Amazon sells it every day. Great companies
have figured out that in a time-pressured world, the single greatest
service they can provide to their customers is to make it incredibly easy to

find, buy, learn and use their products.

When consumers think of the term “ease of use,” they think, “hey, I already
know how to do that.” Apple’s ingenious desktop is the defining example. You
didn’t have to read the manual to know what the trash can icon was for.
Innovative new products must do three things: be highly intuitive, provide
terrific support when things go wrong, and have extremely clear, simple
instructions. For example, The Container Store offers a stress-free shopping
experience. Purchases can be made with a scanner, not a shopping cart, and

purchases are delivered to your home the next day.

Use automation to enhance personalization. UPS is an example of this. With
88,000 handheld package scanners and 412 terabytes of storage, it handles 10
million tracking requests every day, and is happy to send personalized e-mails
confirming that your package arrived and who signed for it an hour or two after

it is delivered.

Many instances of automation are sold with cost savings as the driving goal
(ATMs, for example). But Buyers’ Marketing means seeing the opportunity to
position such innovations as an enhancement to the consumer’s brand experience.
It is blatantly obvious to the consumer when a company deploys automated
services in order to drive down its own costs, rather than to enhance

and facilitate customer service.

And offering a wide array of choices without an efficient navigation tool to
rapidly sift through options and arrive at the “right choice for me” only adds to

your customer’s headaches.

Improve your mass delivery of service. It used to be a tautology: the bigger
you got, the blander you got. Corporate cultures seemed to weaken in proportion
to size and age until the lowest common denominator ultimately trumped

energy, initiative and passion.

Today, a handful of great companies have shown that a corporate culture of
service at huge scale isn’t just achievable, it’s an extraordinary competitive
advantage. Nordstrom, Starbucks, JetBlue, and Home Depot lead the way with
new service protocols that empower employees to solve problems.
We tell each and every one of our clients a truth that many adopt as mantra:
“In a service economy, the greatest competitive leverage is an employee base

that believes it is on a mission.”

Make customer retention as important as acquisition — if not more. In
American business, nothing is culturally more important than growth. It’s the
first and often only metric by which companies define success.
Long after penetration flatlines and marketing become a zero sum share
battle (in which someone gets a higher percentage of a
declining business), acquisition remains the driving
metric in too many organizations. At this point, major
brands might be far better served by placing greater
emphasis on keeping customers and selling them more.
Inertia marketing, in which people say “this is what we
did last year, and we can predictably forecast what will happen if we do that
again,” is still far more prevalent than most people would want to believe. It can
be seen particularly in risk-averse and siloed financial services organizations.
But the great irony is that the financial services industry has plenty of tools
to identify the “good” customers. Few have such a wide range of products and

services with which to cross-sell.

Make a brand promise, not an ad slogan. Ten or 20 years ago, any discussion
about “great brands” was a discussion about great ad campaigns. Asked to
name the great brands of the era, marketing professionals predictably invoked
names like Coke, General Electric and Miller Lite, largely on the power of their
advertising. They were known by their slogans: “It’s the real thing,” “We bring
good things to life,” and “Tastes great — less filling.” As long as the products
were perceived to deliver on the ad campaign and the typeface choices were

pretty standardized, the branding was pretty much done.

Name today’s great brands and you hear new names: Starbucks, JetBlue,
Target, Google and Home Depot. Some have great advertising. For others,
advertising has played a minor role in their success. What these great brands
have in common is a complete focus on the intimacy of their interactions with
their customers. They realize that a single personal interaction — one
purchase of their coffee, one experience on their airline, one knowledgeable
offer of assistance in their home improvement store — will have 1,000 times
the impact that any ad has. So they build their brands from the customer experience

out, rather than from the advertising in.

In the past, marketers often used their advertising to compensate for the
lack of true change in their products and services. Buyers’ marketers do the
hard work of making changes, and then advertise what is truly different.
Have a passion for your business. If nothing else, a career in advertising lets
you see life close-up in dozens of different industries. And after working on
computers, cameras, beer, robots, package delivery, financial services, and

healthcare, one thing is crystal clear to us.

The company’s unique asset — no matter what it does
or makes — is its culture. In the end, its culture will
determine whether it will succeed or not, because it
creates everything within the realm of the business:
products, services, profits, customers, dividends, and

most importantly, ideas.

To go one step further, the cultures of the different
companies are unique. In the end, their cultures seem to drive whether they
are successful or not more than their products, services, or capabilities.
Today’s great brands are passionate about what they do. Starbucks celebrates
coffee. American Express lauds its card members. Target wants you to
have a nicer looking coffee pot. And that’s just good Buyers’ Marketing. If you
aren’t excited about selling what you’ve got, why should they be excited about

buying it?

A different way of seeing the world

Most of us grew up in a time of unmet needs and unfulfilled demands. It
wasn’t so long ago that ordinary people didn’t have credit cards, central air
conditioning and imported luxury sedans. The economic
challenge was how to make more of the good things in
life available to a wider market. Once that is done, the job
is complete. Today we live in a world of abundance and
choice. And the hardest part isn’t necessarily making the
product or working the service — it’s making the sale.
Focusing on what the buyer wants to buy is a more productive way of seeing

the world than focusing on what the seller wants to sell.

Steve Gardner and Tom Nelson are the co-founders of Gardner Nelson & Partners, an
independent 4As-member advertising agency in New York City. Gardner can be reached at and Nelson at

By Robert

Anyone walking the streets of New York City recently, will notice an increasingly
common sight — banks on every corner. With rental prices in excess
of $100 a square foot, these banks are aggressively looking for new customers,
particularly small businesses. The marketing campaigns directed to small businesses
have been just as aggressive.There is much wrong with these

marketing approaches, but let’s look at a number of ways around the problems.

Anyone walking the streets of New York City recently, will notice an increasingly
common sight — banks on every corner. With rental prices in excess
of $100 a square foot, these banks are aggressively looking for new customers,

particularly small businesses.

The marketing campaigns directed to small businesses have been just as aggressive. There is much wrong with these
marketing approaches, but let’s look at a number of ways around the problems.
I would like begin with a caveat. I do not have 20 years of marketing experience
or an intimate knowledge of the banking industry. Rather, my credentials
consist of being the editor and publisher of The New York Enterprise Report
which serves the small business market. In addition, I have several years of
experience as a CEO and CFO of different small businesses. Accordingly, I have
been a small business client. The Reportalso recently conducted a survey on

banking issues with our readers.

The message and the focus

To begin with, look at the copy for banks’ marketing and advertising campaigns.
As the banking market has heated up, most of them have offered some form of
free checking and almost all offer free online banking. So much for creating
and promoting a competitive advantage. So why is this a common focus of
marketing initiatives? Why would a bank expect to gain new customers or build

its brand with this offer?

To further this point, 77 percent of small business owners say they don’t mind
paying fees that are comparable with the level of service they receive. Not only
do many banks already promote a commodity-like service, they are promoting
features that do not have a highly perceived value to small business owners.
Most marketers at banks and agencies I have spoken to state that one of
their main goals is new customer acquisition. Few stated that retention is as
important. It seems that many banks have forgotten the
old business adage “treat your customers as if they were
your best prospects.” One bank’s agency told me that
their performance is evaluated purely on the number of
new accounts opened within a particular region. Of

course, this is the client’s directive.

I recently spoke with a branch manager at a bank that is aggressively
networking in order to go after new business accounts. When I asked him
what his biggest challenge is to getting new business customers, he replied
“most business owners believe that there is too much work involved to
switching banks.” While this makes acquisition a little more difficult, it really
doesn’t have the makings of a robust retention effort. According to The
Report’s survey, 68 percent of small businesses would consider switching

banks for their business.

As a small business client myself (I’ve made the banking decisions for four
different companies and seven banks), I can count on one hand the number of
times a banker has called me. My perception has always
been that at least one of the following apply: 1) they are
too busy with administrative and bureaucratic work; 2)
they are too busy finding new prospects to make a quota;
and 3) no one ever told them to call on customers.
I am not alone. Fifty-eight percent of our survey respondents
said that they have never been contacted by someone from their bank, while only 16 percent said they are contacted at least once every quarter. Even more interesting, when I mentioned this to a few marketing professionals at banks, they all seemed to

think this was happening at someone else’s bank.

On a similar note, the comments I hear in passing from small business
owners seem to be different than the perceptions up the corporate ladder. I
can recall a conversation with one executive at a nationwide bank who said
something to the effect that “we are the best bank for small businesses in
New York. Our customers love us and are even buying nonbanking services

such as payroll and insurance from us.”

As if on cue, the same week I spoke with that executive, I talked to two business
owners who slammed the first bank for poor service and ineptitude.
When I asked one of them if they would consider doing their payroll with the
bank, they replied “I couldn’t even get someone at my branch to wire money
to South America. I wouldn’t ever consider giving them my payroll.”
If the bankers in the branches are not calling the clients, how can the executives,
who are far removed from the action, have a clue what is going on? Some
of the most successful business leaders of all time are known for having “gone
into the field” in order to talk to customers. Think of Jack Welch at General
Electric and Sam Walton at Wal-Mart. Even Larry Ellison of Oracle finds time
away from his yacht to attend meetings of General Electric, its biggest client.
This allows executives to discover first hand the level of service provided by the
bank, as well as their needs, so new products and services can be developed.
By getting out into the marketplace, marketing executives will have a much
better idea which buttons to push for their marketing initiatives and will not have

to rely on second- and third-party research (including this article).

Developing a retention strategy

It is much more expensive to gain a new client than to keep an existing one.
However, many banks seem to be totally focused on new client development.
Since the banking market seems way too crowded (especially in New York),
many players, particularly regional banks, are in a race to open as many
branches and sign up as many new accounts as possible. That way they can
position themselves for an inevitable industry consolidation. But remember to
look at retention as well as new customer growth in the due diligence process.
More resources should be dedicated to retaining clients and increasing
revenue from existing clients by providing other needed banking services. Banks
should have a formal policy for their executives to touch base with their business
clients on a regular basis. The frequency of contact could depend on many
things such as what resources are available and the characteristics of each
client. These characteristics include size, industry, number of banking products
and services they are currently using, and opportunities to sell other services.
Give the bankers a template of questions to ask clients for each call. Ask
them how their business is. It’s my favorite question — an open ended, easy
starter that can uncover a lot of opportunities. Also discover what else the
bank could do for them, whether they are happy with the bank’s services and

if any new initiatives are planned by the business.

This is an easy way for the bank to start building the critical relationships it
has been preaching about in its ads. These initiatives will not only lead to
retention, but will find new opportunities for additional
services, such as loans and credit cards. As these initiatives
start to create their desired effect, the opportunity
for what is considered the best form of marketing —

referrals — starts to take place.

There are other marketing initiatives that can help the
retention process, such as sponsoring events and seminars for clients and
prospects. For example, The Reportproduces events that feature small business
experts and networking. By participating in these events as a sponsor,
the bank shows clients and prospects that it is interested in more than selling
banking services, although the networking portion of the event provides a
great selling opportunity for new business. Events can also be easily produced
in the branch with a short presentation by a business expert on critical small
business topics such as sales, marketing or human resources. Of course,
these events are also a great reason for bankers to reach out to their clients

and prospects.

Some of our bank advertisers also distribute copies of our magazine to their
business clients and prospects. Again, because The Report’s focus is on
“how-to” articles to help small businesses, this gift shows the business owner that the bank is interested in more than selling banking products. The magazine

is certainly more useful than a pen with the bank’s logo.

Messages outside the box

As is often the case, the message in advertising should be tied to how a bank’s
core competencies will help the business owner. Since most banking services
are now being viewed as a commodity, it is even more important to show how
the bank is different. The bank needs to show how that is

tied to the needs of the small business owner.

One local bank in New York has promoted its $150,000
unsecured credit line with a 24-hour decision — a great
way to get the attention of a business owner. This bank
has decided to do a direct mail campaign using copies of
The Report with a tip-on glued to the outside of the magazine as a direct mail
piece. Another local bank sends someone to pick up deposits from business
clients. Larger banks can focus on advantages like the number of branches

and breadth of services.

If a bank does not have a product or service that is out of the ordinary, at
least its advertising should be. Banks, by their very nature, have always had
the perception of being conservative and somewhat boring. But times have
changed. Not only has the marketplace become more cluttered, some of the
most staid institutions are getting bolder. Business owners are among the
busiest people in the world. To get their attention, advertisers should convey
that they will help make the business more profitable and make the owner’s

life easier.

In these ultra-competitive times, banks that target small businesses need to
be out-of-the-box with their marketing efforts. From the advertising strategy
and copy to the methods they use to attract prospects, banks need to break
out from the traditional “features and benefits” methods. In addition, they
need to start treating their clients like their best prospects. It will not only stem
attrition, but also lead to cross-selling opportunities.
Some of the points and recommendations in this article involve more than
advertising. They also involve strategy, product management and training. But
in order for the banks to make an impact with this hard-to-reach market, a

comprehensive effort will be needed. 

Robert Levin is the editor and publisher of The New York Enterprise Report,a magazine that
features “how-to” articles for small business owners and executives. A CPA, Levin has also held

CEO and CFO titles at several small businesses. He can be reached at

By Bill

We recently posed 10 questions to Georgie Shields, market development
manager for Bank of America. In that position, she manages corporate

philanthropy, sponsorships and local market integration for the bank.

We recently posed 10 questions to Georgie Shields, market development
manager for Bank of America. In that position, she manages corporate
philanthropy, sponsorships and local market integration for the bank. She has
also served as its marketing manager and media relations manager.
Shields has been chosen to participate in the David Rockefeller Fellow
Program and she serves on the board of directors of the New York City

Partnership Foundation.

Before joining Bank of America in 2000, she held a similar position for BoE
Bank in South Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English

from the University of Natal, South Africa.

1Your area of responsibility at Bank of America is a little different from what
most people think of when they think of bank marketing. How would explain

what you do?

I) look at corporate philanthropy as a way for Bank of America to have both
brand and social impact in the communities in which we do business. One of
my roles at the bank is to ensure that we are demonstrating excellence
through our charitable investment strategy in our chosen focus areas, which

include community development, education, and arts and culture.

2) One could say that, in the past, marketing and philanthropy had been unrelated
entities in the financial services business. Many now agree that this
phenomenon has changed and that these two concepts can be very interrelated.

Do you agree? If so, why?

Our customers, shareholders and associates tell us our corporate citizenship
and philanthropy are very important to them. We believe that strong,
healthy neighborhoods are good places to do business and as a result, we
view philanthropy as “enlightened self-interest.” Our philanthropic strategy
aims to contribute to the health and strength of the neighborhoods in which
we live and work, and I think it’s important to articulate that strategy to our


3) In this era of omnipresent media and multitasking, target audiences have
become harder to target. As such, the importance of relevancy to financial
marketers becomes more pronounced for banks to communicate with their
would-be customers. How do you feel that philanthropy-as-marketing can help

financial marketers communicate in more relevant ways than other media?

People care about local issues and the impact on their own community and
neighborhood. Our ability to make our customers aware of how Bank of
America is contributing to the economic strength and fabric of communities
provides us with another way to reach our audience, and enables us to tell a

larger story about our organization and what we stand for.

4) What do you feel the future holds for philanthropic marketing (strategic
philanthropy) in financial services. Do you feel that this is a growing area

of marketing in financial services?

It is certainly an increasingly important part of our work, not just in terms of
dollars spent, but also how we spend them and how we work with the community.
For example, our signature charitable investment program, the Neighborhood
Excellence Initiative, has not only provided $30 million in operating support to
nonprofits demonstrating excellence, it also provides leadership development
and capacity building for those organizations as well as recognition of local
heroes and student leaders in 38 markets across the U.S. The Abyssinian
Development Corporation and Cypress Hills Development Corporation were two
of last year’s winners for the important work they do in the communities of

Harlem and Brooklyn, respectively.

5) What makes event marketing so powerful? Under what circumstances is it
best for a financial institution to tap the power of events to achieve

marketing objectives?

“Experiential” marketing provides an opportunity to get a real sense of what
a company and its people are all about. It allows our audience to experience
our culture, our vigorous commitment to excellence and an opportunity to get
to know the people who make the Bank of America the strong and successful

company it is.

6) From a marketing point of view, what are some of the key elements that a
successful sponsorship opportunity will hold for a financial institution?
Beyond a worthy cause, what do you look for in a sponsorship opportunity?
Some key things we look for include the ability to distinguish ourselves from
other sponsors (such as an “uncluttered stage”), a way to build upon and
expand support in our chosen focus areas, the opportunity to align with an
organization or program that epitomizes excellence, the opportunity to activate
the partnership in a variety of different ways to reach our many audiences,
and bringing the sponsorship to life through customer promotions and

community events.

7) How should philanthropic marketing interrelate with other marketing
efforts (such as advertising, public relations, internal relations) at a financial


I think there should be a strong connection. Philanthropy is an important part
of corporate identity and what a company stands for. As such, I think it should

be aligned with the company’s other communication and marketing efforts.

8) There are agencies that specialize in what some call “strategic philanthropy.”
What are some of the pros and cons for financial institutions to

engage such agencies for assistance on this levels?

Agencies can certainly lend solid expertise and experience in a specific
arena, such as sports and arts sponsorship, and very often help with a “big
picture” view of the sponsorship landscape across industries. Agencies can

also provide much needed support on the ground to assist with execution.

9) In relation to other countries, how important is it to U.S. citizens that their

bank be supportive of philanthropic and charitable causes?

I think it’s unwise to generalize, but our research indicates that people do
want their bank to be philanthropic and support local institutions and programs.
They feel a sense of pride and even ownership that, for example, “my bank”

made a significant contribution to the local library or Little League team.

10) At the end of the day, what would you say is the best part of your


It’s a real privilege to see and experience the work being done by the
nonprofit sector in the fields of community and economic development, education,
and arts and culture, and witness the real impact it has on people’s lives.
My job also provides me with insight into the bank’s activities across all

lines of business and its impact across the New York market. 

By Nader

Ask any media buyer or planner about the most important aspect of a buy,
and you’re likely to hear the word “frequency.”


Ask any media buyer or planner about the most important aspect of a buy,
and you’re likely to hear the word “frequency.” Frequency refers to the
potential number of times people are likely to be exposed to your advertising
message across a given period of time. You may also hear the concept of
“frequency distribution,” meaning the varying percentages of an audience
being reached. These metrics help media buyers analyze alternatives and
strategies for maximum effectiveness. They also help us shine a light on
perhaps one of the most accepted axioms of marketing: repetition is a good
thing in advertising.
This is the structure by which all media companies live and thrive.
Broadcast television networks, newspapers, radio stations, magazines,
Internet sites and all the other possible vehicles that carry advertising
messages are happy to have multiple advertisers, but they are ecstatic when
each of those advertisers is compelled to run spots repeatedly. For these
media companies, it means big dollars are wrapped up in contracted schedules,
and that programming and editorial can continue to evolve around these
revenues. For agencies, it continues to mean box seats and concert tickets for
buyers with big budgets.
If repetition in advertising is positive (and there are a thousand studies that
prove it is), it would follow that ad agencies only have to create one good spot
or ad for each marketer and then run it ad nauseam. But it appears there is
more to it than that.
Repetition has an evil twin named Redundancy. These two have similar
complexions, and many marketers and their agencies have a difficult time
distinguishing the two. But there are significant differences between repetition
and redundancy that must be closely monitored or
you might lose your share and perhaps your shirt in the
competitive financial marketing arena.
Why does repetition work in advertising? One might
argue that advertising is a method of conditioning human buying behavior on
Pavlovian principles. Conditioning, after all, is the method of eliciting a desired
response based on controllable stimuli. It’s not outrageous to suggest that if
marketers were able to attach a conditioned buy response to a controllable
advertise stimulus, they would.
Another might argue that simple advertising repetition is a key to commercial

learning. After all, as youngsters, we mastered our times tables by

repeating them to ourselves while walking home from school. As teenagers,
we memorized lyrics to our favorite songs by listening to them over and over.
Even as adults, we become more familiar with the rules of a particular game,
such as football, by watching the games every week and noticing the patterns
until we’re able to predict what’s coming next.
On the marketing level, repetition can have a positive
effect on consumers beyond basic learning, based on
powerful assumptions, predispositions and the information
processing capacities of the mind. Today’s
consumers have the uncanny ability to distinguish
patterns and even preferences out of the commercial
chaos. Every day, they are bombarded with hundreds of
messages, thousands of icons, signs, jingles and slogans. Despite this,
customers are able to sift through all that white noise for the messages that
matter. Further, they guess that the brands that repeat messages on a consistent
basis must be trustworthy, because they know that advertising is expensive.
A brand that can spend enough money to repeat those messages must be
a solid company, a stable producer and perhaps be worthy of their patronage.
So in an interesting twist, when it comes to financial marketing where the
deliverable is trust, it can be conveyed through repetition. But there is a limit.
In fact, there is a point where repetition can lead to diminishing returns. The
same consumer who begins to trust the brand that repeats its messages will
have a proclivity to doubt the marketer who repeats too much. At a certain
point in the frequency continuum, the consumer may get bored. Or irritated. Or
worse, suspicious. It’s possible that excessive advertising repetition can lead
the consumer to a belief that the brand is in trouble. An educated consumer
may no longer be a company’s best customer, but rather its harshest critic.
Redundancy has become a significant problem in American advertising,
and in financial advertising in particular. We are simply saying the same
things, over and over, to the same people. This kind of droning happens on all
levels, throughout all tactics, and affects people on many levels. In some
ways, marketers and advertising agencies are responsible for the language
American consumers use.
Consider the 2004 presidential elections when the term “flip-flop” was used.
Regardless of your political leanings, the term became the buzzword for the
ideological schism. Since language is where the marketing conversation
becomes manifest, manipulating the language became a brilliant strategic
marketing initiative for one campaign.
If we examine language in common usage, we see hundreds of examples of
redundancy. How many times have you heard the term “general public?” Or

heard a “prerecorded message?” Or found out when something was “origi

nally created?” All these are examples of redundancy, and although they
seem innocuous, they are time wasters, energy wasters and intellect wasters.
Can there be a specific public? Certainly not.
But in the commercial realm, language like this runs rampant and runs right
into the audience. The last thing we want to do is waste the audience’s time.
After all, we’ve already interrupted these 12 steamy minutes of “Desperate
Housewives” to bring them this important commercial message. Is this the
time to use misguided language? Consider the automotive
advertising that boasts an “ABS system” or the
educational tools that will help you improve your
performance on your next “SAT test.”
In financial marketing, beware the products designed
to help with any “future plans” or an “all new” episode of
your favorite financial programming. Financial acronym
redundancies are also difficult to avoid, such as “ATM
machine” and “PIN number.” Perhaps this seems like nitpicking, but when it
comes to reaching and affecting your potential customers, do you want to
take a slow boat or get there by supersonic jet?
Beyond language, redundancies are appearing in advertising all over the
financial marketing spectrum. This is the area with which marketers and
agencies need to be particularly concerned. Advertising is not inexpensive, so
it’s understandable that many marketers try to get the most out of their advertising
and agency investments. Sometimes this means preparing one or two
strong executions and spending the remainder of the ad budget on the buys.
Other times, some spots test well and the marketer invests in similar future
executions. It’s critical, though, to avoid being redundant.
Consider Capital One’s “No” campaign, originally created by McCann in
New York and now handled by DDB Chicago. You know these spots. They
feature actor David Spade mentoring his accident-prone sidekick on the many
ways to say “no” to consumers trying to redeem rewards at a rival credit card
company. “No” is the answer to virtually every question. The ads highlight
how easy it is to redeem Capital One’s “No Hassle” rewards. They’re funny
commercials. They must be successful because the spots continue to air, and
new executions appear almost monthly. The campaign even lasted through an
agency switch in midstream.
After almost $300 million dollars in airtime buys in 2004, what else is this
campaign saying? This is a question. Even its “Vikings” campaign, which was
interesting, is disappearing into cutesy executions, with the Vikings (who
represent high fees and hidden charges) are now “out of work,” since they
can’t storm unsuspecting credit card users any longer.

Today, Capital One has extremely high recall rates, but it’s not necessarily

because anyone cares about the brand or can recount the card’s attributes.
To be clear, parodying rival credit card companies for their propensity to say
“no” was a good strategy. But it has become so singular that the average
consumer already knows what’s coming next, so there’s less reason to pay
attention any longer. If Capital One wants to introduce one or two or seven
new attributes to its “No Hassle” rewards card or program, they will likely
have to spend significantly more than what they spend now just to get people
to notice them again. Perhaps the arc has swung back around on Capital One?
Has it been tuned out to some degree by today’s consumer?
On the other hand, Citigroup has succeeded in repetition over the past
several years with their “live richly” work, a campaign aimed at reminding
consumers of the higher aspirations in life besides money. This campaign, by
Fallon Minneapolis, has been everywhere, especially concentrated in outdoor
executions. People living in big cities have seen this campaign on billboards,
bus stops, subways and more. The ads constantly remind us to rethink our
position on money as simply a means to an end. If we follow the tagline’s
suggestion, we can have a richer life.
Some of their ads read:
“It’s a financial statement, not a scorecard.”
“If you gave up your morning coffee for a year, you could make an extra
mortgage payment. But man, you’d be grumpy.”
“The best blue chips to buy are the ones you dip in salsa.”
“The best table in the city is the one with your family around it.”
There have been scores of these ads in print and outdoor, but each is
making a different point. Each strikes a different chord. Each speaks to one
segment of their audience more than another. Repetition of these messages
gives the reader a broad view of what Citibank is trying to communicate, as
opposed to hammering one single message over and over again.
Citigroup furthered their affection with consumers with the brilliant “identity
theft solution” TV spots and print ads. Each execution brilliantly
illustrated the problem of identity theft by showing
unsuspecting victims mouthing the words of their identity
thieves. One ad shows a middle-aged, suburban man in
his lounge chair, wearing a robe and slippers. As he opens
his mouth to speak, we hear the voice of a youngish Valley
Girl describing how she emptied this man’s account for frivolous purchases.
“$1,500 for a leather bustiere? I didn’t care… it lifts and separates! And
besides, it’s not like I’m actually paying for it.”
These spots were repetitive, but each execution highlighted a different
aspect of identity theft. For instance, the people mouthing the words were

male, female, young and old and had several ethnic and racial backgrounds.

It underscored the point that identity theft is color blind. Further, the identity
thieves were equally diverse and were also exposed in terms of why they stole
identities. In most cases, it was indulgent purchases for personal affirmation
or gain. “Wait’ll they see me at the prom,” warned one identity thief, a teenage
boy on the hunt for attention.
The Citigroup work proves that you can be repetitive without being redundant.
But soon it will take bulwarks to maintain. Eventually, our savvy
consumer is going to wake up one day and say, “hey, wait a minute. All this
talk about not worrying about money is coming from… a bank.” This campaign
has to be careful of seeming subversive or, worse, misleading. So while it may
be brilliant advertising, it remains to be seen if the campaign will stand up to
growing consumer intuition.
Redundancy starts in the marketing plan and finds its way into the creative
brainstorming sessions. So every strategy has to be evaluated on these terms.
How you go about the business of marketing your financial brand must avoid
redundant solutions. Ask yourself a few honest questions. Are you using tried
and true, above-board methods? Or are you trying new things, new media,
new customer-retention strategies, developing new products, executing
localized promotions and employing fresh design techniques?
Are you developing intuitive strategies to meet
your consumers on their level? Are you listening?
Creatively, then, it remains critical to push the envelope.
Try something witty. Poke a little fun at yourself. You’re not
going to hit a home run every time, but it’s important to
keep swinging. Stay fresh. Look at your brand from different angles. Put yourself
in your consumer’s shoes and then ask, “what moves me?” Then come at
it from every angle you can. The best creativity comes out when you start to
bend the rules.
Don’t just say, “We’re Blue, We’re Blue, We’re Blue.” Try “We’re Not
Green.” And “Add a Little Yellow, and We’re Green, Too.” And “Got the
Blues?” And “We’re a Lot Like the Sky, Blue and Big.” And “Blue is Cool. And
So Are You.” Heck, run them all. Allow your agency to take you to undiscovered
places with a repeating concept. Agencies are full of inspired and interesting
people who can help your brand, company or service be expressed in
ways you never imagined.
Be aware that for all the advertising coolness in the world, there is a
company that must be represented accurately in the minds of consumers.
There is a brand waiting to emerge, or about to sink in some cases. If your
advertising is tired or if your agency is delivering spots and ads that blur into

one redundant message, be sure to ask if it’s the brand. Maybe the brand needs

work. Maybe the product needs to be redefined. Or expanded. Or scrapped
It’s OK to say the same things to consumers, as long as they are said in new
and different ways. In fact, the more creatively you can repeat yourself, the
longer you can extend a mutually beneficial conversation with clients and
prospects alike.
Just be careful when you start to say the same things
the same way. Beware the cloned spots. Beware the new
packaging without any new product developments. Keep
in mind that a redundant conversation is far less enjoyable than one that’s
fresh. And watch out for redundancies such as “free gifts,” and “safe havens”
and anything that might be “sufficient enough.” It’s like saying the same thing
over and over. It’s like saying the same thing over and over. 
Nader Ashway is president and creative director of The Ashway Group. He also recently served
two terms as president of the BMA of New York City. He can be contacted at

By Bill

In this issue of The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing, we turn our
attention to a direction we have not traveled before academics.
Don Schultz is professor of integrated marketing communications at
Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., but he came to the position with a
wealth of professional experience. The native Oklahoman studied at the
University of Oklahoma and then traveled south to Dallas to join Tracy Locke
before it was acquired by BBDO. During his 10 years there, he became senior
vice president and management supervisor and had the responsibility of
managing branch offices in cities across the United States, such as New York,
Denver and San Francisco. But he felt the job was pulling him too far away
from the advertising business, so he returned to college where he earned
graduate degrees (master’s in advertising and Ph.D. in mass media) at
Michigan State University.
He joined the faculty at Northwestern in 1977 and has been there ever since.
Much of his work has been involved with advertising sales promotion analysis
and database marketing. Since then, he served as chair of the graduate
department and was the founding editor of the Journal of Direct Marketing.
Under his leadership, the department underwent a major overhaul and became
an integrated marketing communication department in 1990. From there, he
turned his attention to the study of branding and return on investment.
Much of his time in recent years has been spent working with several
colleges in China, where, among other things, he is involved with an executive
MBA program, certainly a progressive idea for a communist country.
Schultz recently spoke with Bill Wreaks, chief analyst for The Journal of
Financial Advertising & Marketing. He had a lot to say about working with the
JFAM: Given the massive amount of development that we’re seeing in
Chinese business right now, what are some of the challenges they have from
a marketing point of view?
SCHULTZ: By and large, what we’re doing and what we do in all these seminars
and conferences are with Chinese companies. There are really two things
they need to do. Number One, they need to improve their marketing skills to
offset the multinationals who all believe China is the new gold rush. And by the

same token, they have to learn what kinds of skills and capabilities they need

JFAM: You know, Wal-Mart here in this country has launched a corporate
advertising campaign about the benefits that Wal-Mart brings to different
communities. Just as Wal-Mart has had a public relations for overshadowing
small businesses, do you think China has a bad rap right now where U.S. businesses
are a little bit afraid, as evidenced by the whole Cnooc Unocal deal
that’s suddenly gone south. Do you think they have a marketing problem and
that they’re too threatening to us?
SCHULTZ: I don’t think (the Chinese) have a marketing problem. I think we’ve
got a survival problem. I’ll give you an example. I teach a course in the fall on
global marketing (at Northwestern) and this is with a group of working professionals.
I gave them an assignment last September. I said, “what I want you to
do this quarter is to look at (the phrase) ‘Made in China.’ What is the value and
impact of ‘Made in China’ and I want you to come back and tell me, does it
have a bad image or a good image?” If it does have a bad image, in what area?
And could the Chinese do what the Japanese essentially did, that is to make
“Made in China” stand for high quality products at a reasonable price?
Twenty-five working professionals came back and, at the end of the quarter,
they were scared to death. They said, “we didn’t realize what was happening.
We’re going a billion dollars a month in debt to the Chinese through trade
deficits. That’s our balance of payment. In essence, what they’re doing is
taking our currency, turning it around and buying U.S. treasury bonds and they
are going to end up owning us.” And I said, “this is not good.” And they said,
“we never see or hear what’s really going on until you really start to dig down
into it, we didn’t realize how much trouble we’re in.” And their premise essentially
was: “will the U.S. end up being simply a nation of consumers and will
we simply consume ourselves to death?”
JFAM: It’s an interesting situation.
SCHULTZ: You don’t hear very many people talk about that. I mean, what we
get is from the press and from the government: “our trade deficit is going up.”
That’s really good (to them). We can buy more stuff and at some point, somebody
is going to say, what if they want to cash in their chips and that essentially
is what is happening with the Unocal thing, and on and on and on and on.
What I think we’ve seen with Unocal is a reaction that essentially is the first
time that private industry and the government agreed that somebody has got
to do something to protect the interest of the country. And I think we’re going
to see more and more of that because the Chinese essentially are aligned. No

matter what you read in the press, the Communist party still runs that place.

What you’ve got is an alliance. Almost every organization in China essentially
is owned partly by the Communist party. As a result, they’re going to do
whatever they want to do and they come into it with a singular purpose and
that’s what is going to happen.
I’m working as an expert witness on a case. A fellow who is the attorney for
the company that I am involved with tells me he is in the process of filing a
restraint of trade lawsuit against four Chinese companies who control 80
percent of the manufacture of all vitamin C products everywhere in the world.
Now what they are doing is they’re saying, “OK, now that we control production,
we are going to raise prices, not cut prices and if you don’t like it, there
aren’t any other alternatives.”
So, guess what, pharmaceutical companies? What are you going to do?
That impacts the food businesses and everybody else.
JFAM: Do you feel that our government will take more protective measures,
or do you feel the good sense of the American way will take hold to protect
our interest?
SCHULTZ: Neither one.
JFAM: It’s just going to happen.
SCHULTZ:Well, I don’t think our people in Washington have a clue as to what’s
going on over there.
JFAM: Jeremy Siegel, a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania,
has said that we will become a nation of consumers of Chinese goods, but
they will also become our customers, as well, as we put our finishing touches
on different goods. Do you find any truth in that notion?
SCHULTZ: That’s a wonderfully optimistic view because, let’s face it, if I can
put five engineers on a task, five engineers will outsmart one engineer. I don’t
care how smart you are. What they’re doing is they’re graduating thousands
of very, very, very capable engineers and scientific people, far more than we
are and they are willing to work for a very, very small portion of what we have
to pay people. So, they will simply throw five, 10, 15 engineers against a
project, while we will try to bridge up and get one.
We keep talking about innovation. Historically, the Chinese have not been
innovators, but when you’ve got the kind of scientific talent they’ve got going
forward, it’s hard to believe that they’re not going to become very innovative.
JFAM: It’s tough to compete when the essential value of human life and human
standards is so different from the way we consider things here in this country.

SCHULTZ: Today, we don’t make anything. The only value we create is

creating icons like rap stars, and I’m not sure at what point we can keep
merchandising rap stars.
We did a seminar for a group called the Higher Education Press, which is
licensed by the Chinese government to produce or to control all the scientific
journals and magazines. We were talking about expansion and they said, “we
really want to consider going overseas and we want to expand our horizons
and our opportunities.” And they said, “what would you think about us buying
McGraw-Hill?” And they might also turn that around and think about the fact
that it would be relatively easy for the Chinese to buy Wal-Mart. They’ve got
all the cash.
JFAM: I want to talk a little bit about media, if we can. What are your impressions
of how the media has changed in the last five or 10 years?
SCHULTZ: Have you seen any of the work we’ve done on simultaneous media
exposure? For the last three years, I’ve been working with an organization in
Columbus, Ohio, called Prosper International (an online market research
What we’ve been looking at is consumers’ simultaneous use of various
media forms and really trying to understand the idea of what we’ve got today
is a consumer who is watching television, reading magazines, going online
and talking on the cell phone all at the same time.
We’re finding somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of all the people are
multitasking at any given time with multiple forms of media. That raises some
real questions about how they are using the information and how they are
using that material. It raises some questions about what is an audience.
If I’m watching TV online, flicking through a magazine or talking on the cell
phone, what audience am I in? That raises some real questions because
everything we’ve done historically has been to treat media as separate and
independent activities, so what we’ve been working on is a media consumption
model rather than a media distribution model. Everything is based on
distribution. I go buy a television commercial, then I send out a bunch of
commercials, then I send out a bunch of newspapers ads and I send out a
bunch of direct mail, but we’ve done little looking at how people consume this
stuff. So, that’s where we are.
We presented papers last year and then this year to the ESOMAR, which is
the European marketing research group. The first paper essentially was
proposing this kind of consumption model and then we presented a paper this
last year in Montreal. We had populated that model and what we found was
some radically different ways of looking at how people consume media and

what they do with it and the kind of media they consume.

JFAM: Why do you think people are fundamentally absorbing their media
differently? What has changed?
SCHULTZ: Number one, I think to a great extent, news and information has
become much more prevalent and much easier to obtain. I think people feel
overwhelmed by the things that are going on and it is an attempt to ask how
do I keep up? How do I hear about things? How do I understand things? How
do I understand what is going on in the world?
I think to a greater extent, what they’re doing is they radically changed the
way they process information. There are lots and lots of people who are skimming
the surface. They’re, for all intents and purposes, browsers. They got a
little bit of this and a little bit of that and don’t know a whole lot about anything.
That’s certainly true in the classrooms. Students have knowledge that is
about as broad as you can find, but less than a quarter of an inch deep. They
know things are going on, but they don’t really understand them. Sort of the
things we were talking about with the China issue. They recognize that China
is a big deal. Yeah, yeah, we’re paying a lot of attention to China, but why are
we doing that? Well, I don’t really know. And I think what we’ve got now is a
bunch of grazers and browsers and that has radically changed the way people
use media and how they consume the media.
JFAM: Would you advise a marketer to make sure that it surrounds the
SCHULTZ: That goes back to this whole idea of integration, which we started
a dozen years ago. The challenge that integration has had is that we have
created individual disciplines. If you go into a financial organization, you’ll find
some people who deal with advertising, with promotion. You got a group of
people who are direct marketing experts. You got a bunch of people who are
dealing with events and sponsorships. They’re essentially struggling internally
to get more budget and more attention. If they can zap the guy next to them by
saying, “well, they are not as good as we are,” then they get power and prestige.
So we have internal struggles that have practically nothing to do with
consumers or customers. They’re only based on internal activities where individual
managers are trying to move themselves up the ladder. And that’s what
creates most of the problem.
Every organization is organized vertically and it reports up. There is no way
for them to ever work horizontally. That is, how do I start to think about
customers, because customers don’t deal with just one part of the organization.
They deal with the entire organization. That’s what frustrates customers.
Customers are saying, “I call your customer service people, they say something.

I go in to the bank and they say something else. Can’t you guys get your

act together?” And the answer is no. And that’s part of the issue.
JFAM: Is there a disconnect between promises made in marketing communications
and the promises that are kept or not kept in real life?
SCHULTZ: Because they never talk to each other.
JFAM: That’s exactly right.
SCHULTZ: A separate group of researchers at IMC is doing a lot of work with
internal marketing right now. Internal marketing, internal branding and so on.
The big struggle is what is internal marketing and who is responsible for it? In
some organizations, it’s corporate communications. In some organizations, it’s
HR. In some organizations, it’s marketing and in an awful lot of organizations,
it’s nobody.
So what you got is a disconnect between what the marketing people are
out running around promoting and what the employees know, understand
and can support.
I’ll give you one example. A large insurance company, whose name I will not
reveal, went out and spent somewhere near $3-4 million doing a brand study,
going through all the process and talking to customers and finding out what
they wanted, what they need and all that sort of thing. The brand people came
back and said: “OK, here is what we are going to do. Here’s what customers
want. Here’s the promises we are going to make to them. Here’s how we are
going to develop the process. Here’s how we’re going to develop the information.
Here’s the ads.” They took it back and showed it to the employees and the
employees said, “hell, we can’t do that.” They never even talked to the
employees. It was focused entirely on the outside.
What do the people outside want without ever saying “can we deliver what
they want?” And so, one of the things we’re doing is trying to figure out how
you measure those two. What customers want and what you are capable of
delivering — those are, in many cases, not the same thing.
JFAM: So, in essence, what you are saying is that the marketing message
really has got to arise from within the organization.
SCHULTZ: Yeah, and what we really do with our approach essentially is that
the brand starts inside. It doesn’t start outside.
JFAM: There’s a lot of consultants who made a lot of money by coming in and
promising to solve all the problems with a big idea. The problem is that it might
be a good idea, but it just can’t be done.

SCHULTZ: It can’t and that’s the biggest problem. As the employees say, “we

can’t do that.” I’m seeing the same thing with a couple of other insurance
companies where the employees say, “we can’t deliver.” This organization
will not allow us to deliver that, so you guys go out there and promise this, but
we know we can’t do it.
JFAM: Many will argue that in recent years financial services has become
much more democratic, meaning that the little guy has become much more
empowered in the decision-making process to manage his own money. Do
you agree with this? What do you feel financial brands should be doing differently
at this point, other than to market and communicate with this new breed
of self-empowered financial decision makers?
SCHULTZ: Well, the first issue is that financial organizations need to know how
to listen and stop focusing on talking. Most organizations have real difficulty
listening because they are all designed to talk. Part of the issue goes back to
the kind of research we’re doing and the kind of research that’s being done.
I’ve raised kind of a ruckus this year when I wrote a column in Marketing
Newsthat essentially said marketing is failing because marketing research is
so lousy. The premise of that was marketing research programs have essentially
become technique driven, not information driven. So, what they do is
they say, “we do focus groups.”
We don’t know what your problem is, but you need a focus group because
that’s what we do. And people got all upset about that, except it’s true. And the
research business has become an economy of scale business. I do con-joint
analysis and the more con-joints I do, the better I do. Therefore, I have to go
out and sell the technique, not sell the information I develop. Along that same
line, there have been huge knowledge breakthroughs in terms of how to get
the brand working.
If you’ve looked at anything that Jerry Zultman up at Harvard has done, his
focus is cognitive psychology and how the brain actually works and that sort
of thing. People accumulate information over time. They don’t replace. They
don’t separate. And the whole idea of stimulus response is not necessarily
the way the world works. What we have are research systems that essentially
are still based on behavioral psychology that was invented in the 1880s
and the 1890s.
We haven’t changed it. And we’re still trying to capture information. We’re
still trying to run business organizations on information that is, in many cases,
irrelevant, useless and not terribly helpful. The financial people have gotten
even more enthralled because what they have is all this data that they’ve
captured over time. They know what all the behaviors are. The problem is they
haven’t used the behaviors to improve the customer service. They’ve used it

primarily to try to cross-sell.

JFAM: I understand where you’re going.
SCHULTZ: The consumer has learned “I don’t want to give you this information,
I don’t want you to know this because I know what you’re going to do,
you’re going to come back and try to sell me something else.” I think, to a great
extent, what we get now is an increasingly difficult marketplace in which to
capture information and an increasingly different, reluctant consumer who
won't tell you anything. That creates all kinds of problems for financial organizations
and it creates all kinds of problems for any kind of marketing organization.
So, I think we’ve got a broken research system. I think we’ve got a process
that essentially seeks not to improve customer service or improve customer
relationships. It essentially is designed to cross-sell and customers have
learned about that. And I think one of the things that we are increasingly going
to see is the difficulty of capturing any information from customers other than
the behaviors they exhibit. Do you know what the most successful new
product in the history United States has been?
JFAM: What?
SCHULTZ: The “do not call list.” Practically no promotion other than the fact
that people wanted it. Sixty million people signed up for “do not call.” And that
had been in a period of about 12 to 18 months. No other product has ever been
that successful. It just shows you what the consumer demanded. To a great
extent, organizations today are at risk because I think the knowledge and the
ability to capture information is going to dry up and that’s going to create some
real problems for them.
JFAM: Almost ironically, we’ve become victims of our own success from a
technological point of view where we’ve become so proficient in gathering
data and using it that now the barriers go up. Now it seems the only real way
to get to know someone is back to the old relationship.
SCHULTZ: I want to get you to change one word you said. That is not “use” the
data, it’s “misuse” the data. That, I think, is the biggest issue. Having spent an
awful lot of time in the direct marketing business, the misuse, the failure of the
relationships and everybody bought into CRM — CRM is nothing more than
the belief that I can put in some kind of technological solution that will create
a relationship with the customer — that’s not going to happen. You don’t
create relationships with customers by having them in a database. You create
relationships with the customers by having interactions with them and
listening to them and responding to them.

JFAM: As you know, the baby boom population is aging and it’s soon moving

from the income earners to retirees and somebody else is going to have to toe
the line. How should financial services adjust to this and what will this mean
from a marketing point of view in the way financial institutions communicate
with aging baby boomers, as well as new generations?
SCHULTZ: Well, clearly, our president doesn’t have the answer.
JFAM: Clearly.
SCHULTZ: He sort of backed away from it.
JFAM: Perhaps he’s smarter than he seems?
SCHULTZ: Sort of backed away from this saying “go play in the market.” You
know, take your money and go get into the market. I think the real challenge
here is that it’s clear that one of the major issues is: how are we going to fund
and finance the aging population? I don’t think anybody has really thought that
through yet.
We have built a huge, huge system that is going to require more and more
support. And what we see is private industry trying to back away from it. We have
a perfect example here with our friends out at United who simply said, “OK, we
are going to walk away from our pension promise.” Let’s shift that to the federal
government. You can only shift so much to the federal government. Somehow,
some way, somebody is going to have to pay the costs on these things.
I think one of the issues that the financial community has not faced up to yet
is trying to develop any kind of reasonable, rational and relevant way that
people can develop and understand what they are going to have to do to take
care of themselves. Those are not things that make huge amounts of money.
Those are essentially social issues.
I think what I am concerned about is the lack of corporate social responsibility
that I see financial institutions doing in that particular area. I just don’t
see any of them standing up and saying, “hey, this is going to be a problem and
we need to figure out how we are going to solve it and we need to create
some kind of solution.” Whether it’s one organization or a consortium, I just
don’t seen any of that developing.
I don’t know how you get to that because as soon as you get some of the
financial institutions coming together, there is going to be a government and
public outcry about collusion and restraint of trade and all kinds of stuff like
that. But I don’t know any way to solve those social problems that are really
facing us and those aren’t that far away.
JFAM: What about product placement? As we become more and more
exposed to different kinds of media and are surrounded at the same time by

them, I’m wondering if we’re developing a bit of media fatigue. Are we

becoming more cynical about the messages we receive? Does product placement
offer a more authentic voice?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think one of the things about product placement right now is
it’s very interesting. It’s very exciting. It’s very innovative. But let’s face it, it’s
not going to take long for people to say, “what the hell do they have that for?”
I think you’re going to get a certain backlash and rejection just like you’ve
gotten in lots of other things. People look at sponsorships today and say, “well,
the reason they are there is because they want to do this and want to do that,
they want to do something else.” So we keep inventing these new techniques
thinking that these are going to be the solutions that are going to be long term.
I think increasingly, they are going to be very short term. They will be hot for a
while, then they will disappear.
Today, one of the big hot topics is “word-of-mouth.” I’m not sure how long
word-of-mouth is going to be there. We have buzz and viral marketing and all
these other things and they’re simply ways that the marketers are trying to get
out of the traditional system. I think what you have today is a very sophisticated
consumer group. They know what’s going on and you’re not going to
fool them for very long. So I don’t get terribly enthusiastic about all of this
product placement, all of the other things that are going on. I mean at some
point, people are even going to get tired of NASCAR, if you can believe that.
JFAM: As consumers become more empowered with technology like TIVO, do
you think one of the only alternatives they have to the 30- to 60-second spot is
trying to place it somewhere within the context of the programming?
SCHULTZ: No, I think critically you’ve got to say something important to
people. If you say something important to people, they will go and find it. That’s
true all around the world. The reason that the Internet has grown and the
reason blogging has grown so rapidly is they’re saying things that people find
interesting, things that might be useful.
I think one of the things we haven’t done very well is understand what
consumers are interested in. What they want, what they need, what they
desire and what they would be willing to invest their time and resources in.
What you really have to do is start to figure out what kind of problems the
customers have. What kind of solutions are there? And then bring solutions to
problems, and not say, “well, I made this thing, now you ought to buy one.”
JFAM: In essence, the notion of relevancy.
SCHULTZ: Absolutely. I think there is relevance and I think the other thing is

JFAM: How so?

SCHULTZ: Reciprocity to the extent of what’s the value of the brand to me as
a customer? and what’s the value of me as a customer to your brand? And
when you get those in balance, you will have long-term relationships. When
they get out of balance, either the brand will get rid of the customer or the
customer will get rid of the brand.
I don’t think we’ve thought very much about reciprocity and how that
impacts and how that relates. We have gotten all of our alliances and all of our
systems out of balance because what we are trying to do is take advantage of
the customer because of the short-term focus we have on these things. I’ve
got to rip you off and move on and that doesn’t build long-term relationships.
Companies succeed by having long-term customers, not by being able to sell
lots of things to people on a short term.
JFAM: The notion of ROI is fairly new. It’s been around for a long time, but in
terms of a snappy little buzzword, ROI seems to be on everyone’s tongue. I see
that people tend to place ROI at one side of the continuum and branding on
the other when they’re talking about the objectives of a marketing or advertising
campaign. They are not necessarily on opposite sides of the continuum,
but rather integrated. Could you speak a little bit about the relationship
between ROI and branding and can a financial marketer have both?
SCHULTZ: I think the real issue is that ROI essentially is short term. What did I
get back? What did I spend? Brand is long term. You don’t get anything back
in the short term from the brand. The brand is something that creates longterm
value for the organization and it tends to provide returns to the organization
over time.
I think we totally lost focus on the reason for the calculation and the reason
for interpretation of returns. You never get any return on any marketing
activity. You only get returns from customers. What you really have to think
about is if I invest this much in customers and get these returns from those
customers, it begins to get you away from this issue of return on investment,
and try to say, “what did advertising do and what did PR do?”
The real question is did we acquire a new customer? Did we retain a
customer? Did we grow a customer? Did we migrate them through a product
portfolio which is the primary reason the organization is spending money? And
what they tend to do is those four basic goals. Instead, we tend to get that all
tangled up with should we run more ads? Should we have more PR? Should
we have more of this? Should we have more of that? You can’t solve that
problem until you get back to who is the customer, what’s the customer interested
in and making investments in the customer, not making investments in

the activities.

JFAM: Do you feel that branding can be measured?
SCHULTZ: It depends what you want to call branding. There are two things
about brands and branding. Number one, did it return value? In other words,
did it create increased cash flows for the organization or did it increase the
value of the brand? A brand is an asset. Are you looking at it as a cash flow
generator or are you looking at is as a shareholder of an entity? Those are two
radically different things which tend to get all tangled up.
JFAM: What does the future of financial marketing and advertising look 25
years from now?
SCHULTZ: I think in 20, 25 years, we are going to have much more personalized
relationships. I think we will be able to personalize that kind of financial
relationship. I think what we will be able to do is have the organization and its
customers working together, trying to create wealth. That’s what I see
happening and I think there’s some huge challenges going forward. But the
whole focus is how do you create wealth and how do you improve the lives of
the people who are involved here?
To me, that has to do with the reciprocal issue that we talked about just a
few minutes ago. And that is, how do I start to create a balance between the
value of the financial organization and the value of the customer? How do I put
those two things together so they are in balance so I can really try to look
down the road and say, “how can we improve the systems together as
opposed to these little short-term things that ‘the guy down the street did this,
well, I got to do that.’” Because the problem that really exists in the financial
community is that product differentiation lasts about 20 minutes. I think part of
the problem is that financial marketing has to do with people. We keep trying
to borrow stuff based on the consumer packaged goods experience. 
The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketingwishes to thank The Financial Communications
Society and Penn State University for arranging this Verbatim interview with Don E. Schultz as
well as the One-on-One interview with Ralph Oliva (page 55 of this journal). Both of these
esteemed professors were integral parts of The FCS Financial Marketing Summit that took place
in New York in October. These interviews were conducted in connection with this conference.
For more information about this annual conference or the FCS, contact

By Bill

How relevant is your financial media plan to your target audience? I cannot
tell you without spending some one-on-one time with you. However, take this

quick benchmark test to get an idea:

How relevant is your financial media plan to your target audience? I cannot
tell you without spending some one-on-one time with you. However, take this
quick benchmark test to get an idea:
Answer the following ten questions for a snapshot opinion of your financial
media’s relevancy. Rate each one on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the
most important or synergistic.
1 Contextual relevancy: How contextually relevant are your media placements?
2 Time relevancy: How much does your media planning take into account
specific times of day that your target audience is likely to come into contact
with your marketing? ________
3 Geographic relevancy: How well does your media plan consider the
geographic nuances of your target audience? ________
4 Location-based relevancy: How effectively has your media plan taken into
account the local travel and location habits of your target audience?______
5 Event-triggered relevancy: How well do you believe that your financial
marketing takes advantage of specific customer “events” to trigger your
future communications with this audience? ________
6 Interest-triggered relevancy: Are you ready for your target audience when
they want you? How well represented is your financial product or service
when top key words are keyed in on Google, Yahoo, or MSN? ________
7 Background relevancy: Do your below-the-line marketing efforts support
your more active efforts. Rank how well you feel your PR, events, culture, etc.
support your marketing promises. ________
8 Media-messaging integration: How closely do your media strategist and your
creative director work together? ________
9 Media integration: With 10 the most synergistic, how much of your media
buying is based on the synergistic “telling of a story” across more than one
media touch point? ________
10 Marketing’s role: Is marketing for your financial product or service viewed
by management as a) a necessary expense [0 points], or b) an investment [10
points]. ________
Ready to see how you did? Add up your scores. Now divide your score by 10.
If your score is 9 or 10, congratulations! In my opinion, you are leading the
pack in terms of the relevancy in which your financial media reaches your
target audience. Kudos to you — and your media strategist.
If your financial marketing scored 7 or 8, you’re doing OK. Chances are that
you could be doing more to ensure that yours (rather than your competitors’) are among the point-one-percent of commercial messages positively
resonating with your target audience.
If you scored between 4-6, you have some work to do on the relevancy front.
My advice would be to sit down with your media strategist to examine what
channels you can tap to deliver relevant messaging to your target audience.
If you scored 0-3, my advice is to regroup and consider revamping your
media strategy and related tactics. The media landscape (as well as the financial
services industry) is far too complex to simply buy impressions without
any real effort to make your message relevant to your audience. It might have
worked twenty years ago — but not today. Chances are, you’re spending your
budget buyingimpressions, not makingimpressions.
Of course, this assessment is designed to serve as a barometer for your
media plan, not as the final word. There are instances, I’m sure, where this
“Financial Media Relevancy Test” could not hold true. As always, I welcome
your questions and feedback. Feel free to contact me at bill@financialadvertising.


By Sean

Printed journals, by definition, are missing something. They miss the exchange of
knowledge through personal interaction. Sure, online journals are interactive and
valuable. Much can be said, for example, for JFAM’s own online version, financialadvertising.


Printed journals, by definition, are missing something. They miss the exchange of
knowledge through personal interaction. Sure, online journals are interactive and
valuable. Much can be said, for example, for JFAM’s own online version, financialadvertising.
com. Still, they miss personal “face time.” The printed word is a powerful
tool, but it only represents — not replicates — the power of a face-to-face forum.
A client recently observed me at a JFAMevent and said it looked like I wasn’t
working at all. It looked like I was simply having fun. He was absolutely right. How
fortunate I am to be in a central role of an industry I truly enjoy being with. As far as I
am concerned, I have the best job in the world. I’m a lucky guy.
Of course, the intellectual pursuit of the best strategies and practices of our industry
is noble and rewarding. I thoroughly enjoy this aspect of my work, as well. But the
people of the financial marketing community make my job seem like something other
than a job.
We hold our JFAMcommunity very close to our hearts. In fact, we value personal
forums so much that we recently brought the pages of The Journal of Financial
Advertising & Marketingto life.
JFAM:Live! took place at the new office facilities of Bloomberg this fall. JFAMand
Bloomberg teamed up to bring JFAM sponsors, subscribers, writers and friends
together for six separate events that reflected the journal’s unique focus and format.
The first event was a cocktail celebration to kick off JFAM:Live! It celebrated financial
marketing and offered predictions of what might be on the horizon for financial
marketers in the 12 months ahead. At the same time, we used this opportunity to
announce five JFAM:Live financial marketing breakfast seminars:
• “Philanthropy, Sponsorship and Financial Marketing” was a breakfast event with
marketing sponsorship consultant Alice Sachs Zimet;
• “What Financial Marketers (Really) Want From Their Agencies” was a presentation
and discussion with agency search consultant Alan Krinsky and former Citigroup
SVP Steve Marcus;
• Tom Jago, an executive recruiter with The Ward Group, focused participants on
“Executive Search: What Financial Institutions Want in a Marketer”;
• Sandy French, CEO of Northern Lights Direct Response TV, presented “Financial
Services and Direct Response TV”; and
• Chris Philip, senior vice president and director of media for Doremus Advertising
presented “Approaching Financial Media: Hypothetical Circumstances — Real
JFAM:Live! was a tremendous success because it reflected the thoughts and minds
of the people driving the financial marketing industry. It underscored the fact that The
Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketingis, more than anything else, about people.
It’s about us.
Specifically, I thank our readers, our writers and the JFAMstaff. I also thank our
sponsors for joining together to back The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing.
The Platinum Sponsor is: New York Times/New York Times Digital. Diamond
Sponsors: Financial Timesand Yellow Pages Association. Gold Sponsors: Bloomberg,
The Deal, Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei), Northern Lights Direct Response TV, USA
Today, Wall Street Journal Online. Silver Sponsors: Competitrack, Garrigan Lyman and
Investor’s Business Daily.
It’s a pleasure to serve the people of the financial marketing industry. Indeed, I am

a lucky guy.

By Nader

On a recent commute along a major interstate in New York City, a large
trailer drove alongside my car. I was struck with the audacity of the

massive graphic painted on its side.

On a recent commute along a major interstate in New York City, a large
trailer drove alongside my car. I was struck with the audacity of the
massive graphic painted on its side. A faded pastel turquoise and soft twotone
pink covered the trailer, making me quite curious. What company was big
enough to have a fleet of trucks, but foolish enough to paint them in these
colors? I quickly learned the answer. In the middle of the trailer 25 feet later
was the ubiquitous Pepsi logo. Instead of the royal blue and crimson that
represent this megabrand, the logo had been faded into a pastel garishness
by time and weather.
As an advertising giant, Pepsi spends perhaps tens of millions of dollars
perpetuating and protecting the company trademark. With that kind of investment
to ensure color tone consistency across all media, can a simple act of
nature dilute the image so completely and so easily? If so, why keep spending?
It has become an accepted axiom that a company’s visual system must be
meticulously managed in order to ensure a consistent image in the mind of the
consumer. This is not flawed thinking by any means. It certainly helps if a
company’s logo is cherry red that it does not appear in a consumer magazine
as lime green. It is also a good practice to depict people in your ads that are
representative of your target audience.
However, if your company’s logo is red and the
percentages of color that comprise it are slightly
different, does it mean that ad buy is a waste? Or if the
hair color on the person in the stock photo you
purchased is 10 percent lighter than the average cross
section of your demographic, does it mean it’s lost on
your audience altogether? More importantly, does it
mean your brand is being misrepresented? Clearly, the
answer is no. When an average of 10 percent of men in this country are color
blind, and the average American can hardly tell the difference between
seafoam and Styrofoam, that answer becomes a resounding, emphatic, fourcolor
“NO” with a spot varnish.
This invariably unearths the debate that has been raging on in American
culture for several decades and it has not been confined to the areas of advertising
and marketing. What’s more important and effective as a mode of
communication: image or message?
what’s more
image or


The clear leader
Imaging is clearly the leader in advertising and marketing communications
modes, especially in the consumer market. On the business side, the art direction
boom that was ignited by Helmut Krone roughly 40 years ago has steadily
gained speed in every decade right up through the new millennium. Krone’s
work for Ohrbach’s and the legendary work for Volkswagen in particular
ushered in a new era of emphatic visualization in advertising. Prior to this, art
direction was seated firmly in advertising’s back seat and had been relegated
to formulaic executions of two-thirds page art and one-third page text layouts.
After Krone’s groundbreaking work, big names in the ad world art directed
their ways on to the grand stage and into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame:
Lois, Chiat, Scali, Federico, Clow and many others. Their contributions have
shaped the ways in which we view the world of
consumerism, and consequently, the purchasing decisions
we make or don’t make.
Consider the post-psychedelic typography of the 1970s,
the subliminal seduction conspiracy of the early 1980s, the stunning hypervisual
product photography of the 1990s and the “is it art or is it advertising?”
indie-pop Photoshop culture that currently dominates ad pages throughout
the world. And then there’s the “sex sells” undressing of the advertising pitchwoman
and the visual innuendo of today’s pharmaceutical advertising that
peddles pills for superhuman penile performance.
As if this wasn’t enough evidence that imaging is a priority on the creative
side of the office, art direction expansion has pushed into media, with new and
interesting fractional sizes being explored. Magazine mechanical guidelines
now offer spreads, junior spreads, jumps and bookends, splattering art and
advertising amidst editorial in ways previously unimagined.
Pushing the envelope this way led many to believe that advertising was all
that art and funky typography that could be seen on magazine pages. Young
doodlers were signing up for careers in advertising without knowing a thing
about marketing, consumer behavior or product development. But, boy, could
they do a nifty layout. What was really happening over the decades was a
subtle and subversive shift to style over substance. And it wasn’t that subtle.
There’s a refreshing caveat in all of this art excess. While all the napkin
doodling at four-star restaurants and expensive photo shoots at über-cool locations
were going on, advertising executives were spreading a little internal
secret. The art really didn’t matter as much as the budgets might have suggested.
At most agencies, those moving up the corporate ladder on the creative side
were all writers. Writers became creative directors. Writers met with the clients.
Writers even came up with the ultra-cool title of chief creative officer.
How could such an anomaly exist? How could it be that hundreds of
is it art or is it


millions of dollars were being spent on Hasselblad cameras and stylists when
it didn’t really matter much anyway? Who would invest in such a scheme?
And why? The answer is staggeringly simple. Advertising is, and always was,
about messaging.
Every great ad campaign considered memorable is message-based. We
remember the message of “where’s the beef?” a lot more than we remember
the color of the TV spot. (It was a stark background with a single spotlight.)
Interestingly, it’s not just the lines we remember, but the context in which they
are delivered. Asking the question “where’s the beef” in 1984 was an indictment
of the big burger pushers. Interestingly, it came from Clara Peller, a petite
octogenarian, a casting depiction that had nothing to do with the target demographic
of multi-unit quick-serve restaurants.
We can recall hundreds of ad slogans, from “it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure”
to “plop plop fizz fizz.” But only a few poignant images linger throughout
the years. We remember the tear running down the Indian’s face, the infamous
swoosh, and an Absolut vodka bottle that just won’t be mistaken. However,
those images had to be contextualized before they could stand on their own.
In most cases, putting images in context is very expensive.
The emotional arena
This has been debated for many years. The issue is acutely interesting in the
world of financial advertising and marketing. Consumerism is an emotional
arena. A purchasing decision, even if you’re considering
a fairly cerebral product, is still a decision based on feelings.
And financial products in particular, while intellectual
and even clinical to some degree, can elicit deeprooted
emotional responses. In this journal, you’ve heard 100 times that the
product is never a 20-year interest yield. Rather, it’s trust. And trust is a feeling.
Messages, therefore, have the upper hand when it comes to connecting to
the deeper emotional centers of consumers, especially when we’re considering
financial products and services. They contextualize in the mind of the
consumer and elicit deep responses at specific emotional centers, whereas
images tickle and tease at broad areas, and create mnemonics that can be
easily replaced. The more emotional a connection that is made by the product
or service, the more critical it is that a clear message connects to that energy,
as opposed to an image-based connection. Your consumer will simply
remember it more because it’s important to him or her in some way. Messages
have mental glue — a predisposition to bond with consumers has been
created in a way that images simply cannot accomplish.
In his book “Emotional Branding,” Marc Gobe discusses the key points of
communicating on this deeper level with an ever-evolving consumer base when
writers became

creative directors

he writes that the key to marketing in the future will be “listening carefully to
people in order to be able to connect powerfully with them by bringing pleasurable
life-enhancing solutions to their world. In the future, traditional companies
will not be able to rely on their brand history or dominance in classical distribution
systems, they will have to focus on providing brands
with a powerful emotional content.”
But before you go stripping every visual from your
campaign and firing your art directors, let’s be fair.
Messaging is a dish best served cool. And by cool, we
mean cool-looking. White space is hip if (and only if)
there’s a message in your brand about simplicity. Good art direction and
imaging can help you get halfway to that emotional connection before the
language ever kicks in. That’s when you realize the tandem power of the
advertising craft. When strong messages are delivered in handsome packages
that communicate subtle messages of their own, the advertising is on the
highest level. When those messages and your products or services are tied
first to consumers and address emotional benefits that are relevant to them,
it’s the marketing that’s done on the highest level.
A means to an end
We must not overlook the fact that advertising is simply a means to an end.
And the more effective the means, the more satisfying the end will be for both
parties: the seller (or advertiser) and the buyer (the consumer.) Remember, the
consumer takes great pleasure in all of this commercial engagement. It is
entertaining, educational and exciting to shop around. The savvy advertiser,
particularly the creative leader, knows this. In fact, he or she is participating
in this high art of browsing with the consumer and knows when to make the
product (or service) known, and how to present it in a way that elevates the
entire experience.
Bill Bernbach is widely considered the “true north” of advertising. His incisive
language and no-nonsense approach made him a very successful
adman. His commitment to big ideas made him a legend. In an interview that
appeared in Advertising Age in the mid-1960s, he put the entire picture into a
clear focus: “Anybody in advertising who doesn’t say his purpose is to sell that
piece of merchandise is a phony. And you must be as simple, and as swift, and
as penetrating as possible. And it must stem from knowledge. And you must
relate that knowledge to the consumer’s needs. I don’t say that by being imaginative
that you just go out and be cute. I have very often given the example of
being able to attract people to an ad by standing a man on his head on a page.
But that is not a good ad unless you’re selling a product that keeps things from

falling out of that man’s pockets. Then your inventiveness, and your attrac

tiveness, and your cleverness is furthering, and making memorable, the
advantage of your product… What you must do, by the most economical and
creative means possible, is attract people and sell them. Now, this is difficult.
This is sweat. This is working.”
This brings us back to the most critical element of advertising and marketing.
No matter the sector in which you operate, you absolutely must put the
consumer in the center of everything you do. There must be a human conversation
going on in the midst of commerce. In fact, the
consumer will even tell you how to sell him or her your
wares. When they stop listening, or stop being willing to
listen, there’s a disconnect. The consumer then moves on
to the next offer, and more importantly, the next seller…
the next savings account rate… the next bank.
In financial advertising, then, it’s extremely important to know that the
consumer is evolving. He or she is considering a lot of competing products,
and is a crafty shopper. The consumer may be getting tired of it.
Genworth Financial actually addressed this in an interesting ad featuring
celebrity endorsers. The ad shows married tennis greats Andre Agassi and
Steffi Graf at home reviewing the myriad options for insurance, investing and
financial planning. Andre wants no part of making the financial product or
service decisions. Neither does Steffi, who says, “I do the checkbook.” Andre
counters, “I’ll play you for it.” And they go out to their tennis court for some
hard court family negotiations.
The ad could succeed because it taps in to a common truth. Choosing financial
service providers is not easy. Within that realm is long-term decision
making, parity in the marketplace and risk at every turn. The idea that someone
might go to some length to get out of it, or try to pass it off to his wife is strong
because it’s true. It made me look and listen. It was contextually pointed in my
direction. It immediately connected with me on an emotional level.
But the ad fails, in my opinion, because it lost me intellectually, on the most
basic level. Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf resolve their financial planning
issues on the tennis court, you know, the one in their backyard. They clearly
don’t need to worry about their finances the way the average American does.
If Genworth is trying to sell their products to about 600 people in the entire
country, they (or their buying agency) really wasted a lot of media dollars on a
couple million middle class sports fans. The message was close, but the insatiable
need to be cute killed the spot.
Ones that worked
One company that has been tuned in to its customers is Bank of America with

a spot featuring a Chinese-American banker discussing how he grew up in the

neighborhood and how satisfying it is that he now serves that community. It is
a strong ad. It positions Bank of America as the “cornerstone of the neighborhood”
and communicates it as the bank for just about everyone. That’s
typically a dangerous strategy, but their tactical approach is sound. It
connects soundly because the connection is made on a cultural level, giving
it strong emotional ties.
Champion Mortgage recently ran another spot where the consumer is
talking. He mentions that Champion’s representative “asked all the right questions.”
The fictional consumer in this spot needed a mortgage to buy a fixerupper
house so he could do some improvements, then sell, then use the profit
to make a down payment on a bigger, better house. Sounds familiar, right?
That’s exactly the point. The spot connects with anybody (literally, millions of
us) who has considered doing that same thing.
Morgan Stanley has also stood out recently with its brilliant campaign,
featuring financial advisors interacting on a very intimate level with their
clients. One ad features a woman on a beach dreaming about retiring, and the
man in the frame with her responds that its financials are in order and that
“we could move some things around to make it happen.” He then asks the
woman’s husband, who now appears on the screen, how that sounds to him.
The spot tricks viewers into initially thinking that the Morgan Stanley advisor
is the husband. Then the gag makes sense when you see the husband laying
next to the woman off-screen. Another execution features the Morgan financial
advisor at a daughter’s grad school graduation, and a third shows a company
breaking ground on a new facility, and the Morgan advisor giving an impassioned
speech about how far “we’ve all come together.”
These executions are strong because they not only
show important events unfolding in people’s financial lives,
but also underscore Morgan’s central message of “one
client at a time.” It makes you feel that they get involved in people’s lives and
become trusted advisors. The feeling of trust is the whole ball of wax, no matter
the color or typeface of Morgan’s logo. Or what the lighting was in the spot. Or
who the actor is.
It’s the message that comes pounding through the television set right to the
couch, and into a person’s heart. Thirty seconds after a spot like that, viewers
will forget the image, forget the actor, forget the cute ad tricks, but remember
the message. Thirty years after a great spot, you’ll forget the images, but
remember the message as though it were yesterday.

“Mamma mia, that’s-a one spicy meatball!”

Nader Ashway is president and creative director of The Ashway Group. He also recently served
two terms as president of the BMA of New York city. He can be contacted at

By Bill

Nick Utton is one executive who has successfully made the move from
marketing packaged goods to financial services. A quick look at his
resume will show that he switched from working at companies such as
Unilever in his native South Africa to MasterCard International and, now,
While online brokerage may be easy to use, getting
people to open up an online account has had it challenges. Lots of Internetsavvy
customers have not yet migrated to the world of online brokerage.
Utton is known as the thinker who helped develop the “Priceless” campaign
for MasterCard several years ago. But his resume is much longer than just
that. Before taking his present position with E*TRADE, he was executive vice
president at JPMorgan Chase. There he ran the consumer and business
marketing for Chase Financial Services, the company’s $15 billion consumer
division. He has also worked for such companies as Bristol-Myers Squibb,
Revlon International and Cadbury Schweppes.
Now a U.S. citizen, Utton came to New York City when he was transferred
there by Bristol-Myers. At the time, he ran the marketing for such products as
Ban Clear Deodorant and No-Doz and then with his subsequent companies,
products such as Canada Dry ginger ale, Revlon cosmetics and Almay soap.
After a stint with energy giant Enron, he made the switch to financial services.
“I needed to move to the services industry because packaged goods, as
exciting as it was, was somewhat limiting,” he explains. “So, out of the blue
came a call from an executive who said there’s a job at MasterCard.”
Now he is at E*TRADE where he is the chief marketing officer. His responsibilities
include advertising, direct mail and branding campaigns for the
investing, cash management and credit lines of the business. In all, Utton has
amassed more than 24 years of experience in product management and
consumer brand marketing, during which time he has gained a reputation for
driving sales and profits.
Utton holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Natal in South Africa
and a graduate degree in business economics from the University of South
Africa, Pretoria.
Bill Wreaks, chief analyst for The Journal of Financial Advertising &
Marketing, recently sat down with Utton to discuss financial services and how

best to market them.

JFAM: When you arrived at E*TRADE FINANCIAL in 2004, you came from
companies that were much more established. What are some of the major
differences you noticed immediately in the culture and in the way processes
are handled from a marketing point of view?
UTTON: Well, let me give you some perspective. Most of the packaged goods
companies I worked for and certainly the financial services companies have
a bureaucratic framework that I can work with it, but it does slow things down.
Sometimes, you need a framework.
E*TRADE is a unique company that is still going through another metamorphosis
in terms of the original start of the company in California, specifically
Silicon Valley. Then moving to the late ’90s and the management changeover
with Mitch (Caplan, CEO of E*TRADE) and Jarrett (Lilien, president and chief
operating officer of E*TRADE) arriving (Caplan arrived in Jan. 2000). Cleaning
up the balance sheet.
One big plus is moving the headquarters east, and keeping the technology
platform and importance alive and well. Another is speed of decision making,
thorough but not overly pedantic — knowing that speed is a weapon — and
the third is like-minded people who want to get stuff done quickly and build a
business with an entrepreneurial approach, but with financial discipline that
is kind of almost unprecedented.
For me, I needed to decide should I go to the largest established company
and do what I’ve done before? This is an established company, but still has the
magic and quite frankly, is sort of focused on financial discipline, which makes
life easier. But at the same time, it’s truly dedicated to try to come up with financial
disciplines that are compelling and differentiating, such as walking the talk.
When I met with Mitch and Jarrett and then with the other executive officers,
each time I came back and said consolidation is an issue in this industry.
It occurred to me in JPMorgan Chase. In a company like E*TRADE, while
consolidation is an issue, the upside is far bigger here in terms of what one
can do to try and contribute versus other companies, whereby it’s not going to
be as quick and exciting.
JFAM: Is the culture of your team far different at E*TRADE than it’s been at
other places in the past?
UTTON: In every place I’ve gone to, I’ve hired some great talented people and
most of the talented people stayed. With the start-up at Enron, I hired what I
call a dream team. Clean slate. I wanted the best decision scientists in the
planet, I wanted the best brand builders, I wanted the best marketing practitioners
and we hired, quite frankly, a dream team.

JPMorgan is somewhat different in that I had to start up a new department.

I inherited a lot of people, not necessarily all hand chosen, but some unbelievably
talented people. So, a partial dream team.
At E*TRADE, because we moved headquarters to New York and because
there was no one on the marketing department in New York beside myself, I
hired a dream team. Obviously, it was contained in terms of budget
constraints, but some very talented people and that’s going to be valuable.
JFAM: What is it that has made the “E*xtraordinary” campaign at E*TRADE so
successful? What about the nuts and bolts of the campaign? Who is the target
audience? What’s the essential message and, strategically, how does that fit
into where and what you’re doing right now with E*TRADE?
UTTON: Ultimately, it’s about superior financial solutions. How do you make
sure that they are compelling and differentiating? What are the value propositions?
You’ve got a decision science in terms of how do I scientifically project
consumer behavior.
And then you’ve got the segmentation piece, which is obviously part of your
question. It’s about maximizing revenue so that the target audience is the selfdirected
consumer. About 20 percent of the add-on population traditionally
come to trade with us, if you just want to trade. We tell them “we provide a
better trading platform with a plan.”
In 2002, Mitch looked at the brand, brought a couple of big branding agencies
in, and said “what do we do about the brand?” At E*TRADE, the word
“trade” is limiting in terms of trading. If you want to be a full financial solutions
provider, should you change the name? The good news is that 88 percent of
brand awareness is being Number One. If you add the word “financial,” it
broadens your appeal. And if you start building financial solutions trading
towards investing, cash management and credit solutions, your branding will
allow you to do more things. Quite frankly, it will sell solutions to your current
consumer base that they might not have traditionally thought about for you.
JFAM: What about self-directed investors?
UTTON: Self-directed investors are a primary target audience looking for trading
and investing solutions. Trading is pure trading while investing uses mutual
funds, exchange trading funds or index funds. Platforms help you do that. The
link to that is our brand challenges. We’ve got to build a brand that doesn’t mean
all things to all people, but resonates with our current base of customers so that
they might migrate and use different products for more things.
Knowing that when you look at our annual report, you know that commissions
are a smaller piece of the puzzle than some people might traditionally think.
Banking sweep, money management fees, etc. all add up along with the platform

of retail. You’ve got the capital markets and they all feed into each other.

So, our challenge is that we have multi-dimensional segmentation in terms
of “OK, I’ve got the financial personality of a self director.” I then got income.
I then got demographics. I then got life stage and I’ve got all of those elements
which I then need to play and then you got current customers and new
customers. You then got the situation that they have brought some assets.
Some of them just bring cash which goes to a sweep account or whatever,
and how do we let them maneuver their money and optimize their money?
Our premise was to target by segmentation. If you don’t provide innovative
and superior financial solutions, they will not come, so you better do that. The
foundation is value, customer-driven superiority, often technology-based,
because that is how we started. We have to keep that going and Josh Levine
(chief technology officer at E*TRADE) has done a phenomenal job there. Our
brand is going to take time to have it mean lending, but if we do this really well
for the next couple of years and migrate current customers to a different functionality,
we think based on the research we got, this would help us as a catalyst
for growth in terms of our mandate — being a major player in the space.
JFAM: What does “E*xtraordinary” mean?
UTTON: When we took a step back, we said, “who’s the foil?” American
Express had Visa. MasterCard’s foil was cash and checks. Our foil here is that
with each of these spaces — investing cash management and credit — we
have formidable competitors, so we have to go after each one of these individually.
It could be a very lengthy exercise and you better have compelling
financial products.
So, we said, “What did we do unbelievably well in ’96?” (when E*TRADE
went public and launched We challenged the ordinary in
trading. We came up with unbelievable technology, compelling value propositions
and great value and did it there. Our setup was to challenge the ordinary.
Not to say ordinary is bad. Some consumers find ordinary perfectly acceptable.
JFAM: It doesn’t go hand in hand with investing. To make money, you have to
do things differently, not the same.
UTTON: Exactly. So, what we’re doing is we want to push the status quo. We
want to be the activist, but we also want to be realistic in terms of who we are
and build off our heritage. So, the objective is to challenge the ordinary and be
extraordinary. By using the solutions we provide, you could be better at doing
what you want to do. The capsulization is the extraordinary.
JFAM: You mentioned earlier about the similarity between how the asterisk
could be used and how Nike uses its swoosh. Do you think we’re at that point

right now where you see your asterisk and it automatically says E*TRADE?

UTTON: Well, it’s going to take some time. The age-old story is that Nike spent
many years doing it and the company is an icon for all of us in marketing. But
it’s easier said then done. I arrived and looked at the results and said 70
percent of all the banks and financial institutions have the colors red and blue
in them. We’re definitely not red and blue.
We are different and if you look at us carefully, there are two converging
arrows (in the logo) but not everybody sees that. Our view is that we want to
make this a fully integrated part of our branding message knowing that 10
years down the line, it would be nice to be able to do what Nike does. All you
do is put this up and say, “Think of a great financial institution and solutions
provider and they’ll come onto us.”
JFAM: Why is the “Be E*traordinary” campaign the right message for
E*TRADE at this time?
UTTON: Well, the good news is that we had 17 options. The bad news is that
not every option connected with consumers in terms about how important,
how persuasive and how differentiated it is. When you break it all down, we’ve
had numerous campaigns — five, six different campaigns — such as “It’s
Your Money.” Out of all the campaigns we tested head-to-head versus the
competitors, this campaign resonated the most.
Now, is there something better out there? We don’t know that, but you have
got to have a line in the sand that says when you get the results we got with
the testing, we go with it.
JFAM: You were also very involved in MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign.
When did you go to MasterCard?
UTTON: In 1996, I embarked upon a journey to restage the MasterCard brand.
Hired a group of really talented people mostly from packaged goods and we
all went to bank school. The people that were there were asked to come to
marketing school with us because we weren’t necessarily of the same
To cut a long story short, part of the plan was to figure how to upgrade the
brand. We embarked on a very similar journey that we embarked upon for
E*TRADE, whereby we want to get the best advertising brand positioning in
America. We gave five agencies the opportunity to pitch and out of 34
campaigns, “Priceless” ended up being the winner.
We tested it extensively and “Priceless” was born, which allowed 360-
degree marketing integration to occur. After a couple of key deals with other
banks, I had, quite frankly, the dream job of all dream jobs and was very happy.

I got promoted to chief marketing officer.

JFAM: Then you went to Enron.
UTTON: (At Enron) we raised $552 million in an IPO and a market cap of $3
billion. We hired some very talented marketing people and then started
marketing gas and electricity to consumers, while Enron was gaming the
system, apparently. Eventually, we (Enron) had to file for bankruptcy. I left and
traveled the world for a couple of months and came back and joined
JPMorgan Chase on the retail side, working for an incredible man, Don Letin,
and we embarked upon a journey to try to build a Chase franchise and brand
across banking, credit cards and lending.
JFAM: When did you join E*TRADE?
UTTON: I met Mitch and Jarrett — in fact, I met 10 out of 11 officers during the
interview process and became convinced I should join. The day I left
JPMorgan was the day I joined E*TRADE and that was June 15 last year.
JFAM: What was BBDO’s role at E*TRADE? How did you choose BBDO?
UTTON: In this business, it’s quite tough to come up with truly outstanding
home run advertising. There are many different approaches. The approach
that served me best is to have consumers help you make the decision. It’s not
just basic research, it’s actually testing critical pieces like the importance of
the main message, persuasion and differentiation.
We had four agencies and put down 17 campaigns as options. Obviously,
you can eliminate a couple. Then you have to say, “Where do you come
from?” “Where was E*TRADE and where does E*TRADE want to go?” With
some of those campaigns, firstly, it doesn’t build on the heritage and secondly,
it’s not exactly where you want to go in the end. We had one other option
which was a great option, but it wasn’t as differentiating and there was a
trademark linked to the communication which would make it more difficult to
own it. Unfortunately, some great campaigns get killed.
JFAM: Because of the details . . .
UTTON: . . . because of the details. Great idea, can’t execute it. Legally or whatever.
So, BBDO put together a phenomenal plan where it was full 360. They said,
“OK, here’s the advertising piece, let’s get next door and look online, let’s look
at outdoors, let’s look at what we would do on your website and here’s a look
at some promotions.” And not many agencies, quite frankly, are prepared to
put those kind of resources down, because it’s expensive. The whole pitch
game is an issue in itself in that you’re getting all this free strategy advice from
all of these companies and only one of them wins. They had a great E*TRADE

idea to help us continue the momentum we were building. We weren’t

convinced it was a home run because the research came back and said it’s
good, but it’s not outstanding.
What we did then was to use a couple of options. We asked, “Do we
continue this pitch and just extend it forever or until we crack it or do we make
a decision?” As soon as we got some very encouraging research on “Be
E*traordinary,” we made a decision that we should give it to BBDO, but they
didn’t have to finish it.
As you probably know, in the advertising industry, many of the campaigns
that are tested don’t necessarily end up on air. At MasterCard, we were fortunate
enough that the “Priceless” ad that we tested actually ended up on air.
We tested this, but we said, “It’s not there yet.” So they worked on it for a
couple more months to perfect it. And I said, “We’re only launching when it’s
right.” And it took us a couple of months from January and that’s why we’re
launching it now.
JFAM: Was there any symbolism in your move from Goodby?
UTTON: You know what, my view on the industry is that a big idea is tough to
develop. It has to be based on an unbelievably strong strategic platform. If
Goodby had come up with this campaign, we would have gone to them. It was
no question now. Would they have been able to do 360 degrees? I don’t know, but
all I know is they’re a phenomenal agency and they helped E*TRADE and they
are a part of the reason we are where we are today. But there’s no symbolism.
JFAM: How did E*TRADE’s move from the west coast to the east coast work
UTTON: I will say, in practical terms, it is easier if you’re based in New York,
having a New York or an east coast based agency, but we’re a virtual
company, we have a huge operation. If someone else came up with the same
idea, they’d have the business.
JFAM: You mentioned the “360 approach.” Is media integration a strategic
priority on your part?
UTTON: Well, I think about marketing mix optimization before I think about
media. There’s only a finite number of self-directed consumers out there,
which then says, “OK, our storefront is our website.” That’s an international
storefront instead of having thousands of branches.
So you’ve got this website and you have to ask “how do I get to customers, how
do I acquire, retain, cross-sell, engage and improve the customer experience?”
Our view on the media front is that media is a piece of the puzzle. But if you look
at all of the pieces, ask if we have full integration. Are we using direct mail effectively?

Are we using e-mail effectively? Are we using online effectively?

Quite frankly, the conclusion is that when you look at the total market mix, it
wasn’t being optimized. The good news is that we were very focused on cable,
very talented on print and some select online, but the mix wasn’t necessarily
right. And you’ve got to do two things. Number one is to share a voice. Number
two is in terms of return on investments, you know, acquisitions, retention, etc.
What we’ve done is that we’ve hired Starcom to guide us and help us on the
media component knowing that online has been quadrupled in spending and
it’s purely ROI-driven. And it’s all metrics driven, so that was the building block.
JFAM: Who is doing that for you? Is it Atmosphere?
UTTON: Atmosphere is doing the creative and Starcom is doing the media. We
hired a very talented lady from Verizon who helped guide it before I got here.
Bottom line, we’re wondering if we should be in the online space. So, we
wrapped that up. On top of that, we looked at our cable deals — Fox, CNBC,
CNN, etc. — and made some tweaks there. And then we looked at our print
and said do we have to have a media agency to buy? Could we buy direct? We
basically got a combination of buying some direct. We use Starcom to guide
us and it’s all about return on investment. We buy direct response TV, which
obviously has a different price held to it. We’re doing lots of tests.
JFAM: Are you also measuring your brand awareness as part of that metric?
UTTON: Right now, no. Because when you got 88 percent brand awareness for
investing, for trading, you say: “Hold up, can I get that 89 because of awareness,
interest, desire and action?” What we are measuring is to say, how
these other measures in terms of trading, banking and lending associate with
us. That’s going to take us some time. We got some benchmark scores that
we’re trying to develop and measure ourselves on an annual basis. It’s going
to take us years to become known for all of this but we want to migrate
trading, investing and integration. So we’ve got brand measures, but they
include awareness as a sub-piece.
The critical drive, quite frankly, is customers and asset acquisitions.
Retention and optimization, meaning that some customers you want to keep
and some customers, it’s OK if they disappear. Then there’s the cross-sell
engagement piece. We’ve got some very strict measures there.
JFAM: So, while branding and brand awareness is not a decision criteria for
your media buy, do you expect, for example, if you go on any major site, that
you can get your ROI, but beyond that you also get branding?
UTTON: Branding is an important piece of the puzzle. We’ve had a number of
vendors come up and say we want you to do sponsorship for X and our view

is unless I can translate that brand awareness into an action, I don’t have the

resources to go and invest in that. But we’ll never turn down a valuable
branding opportunity if it’s there. You know, our branches have strong
branding but the whole thing is how much money are you being charged for
branding and will it translate into a sale?
JFAM: And you’re going with the safe bet?
UTTON: Absolutely. If we had 10 percent brand awareness, it would make a
difference. In the early days, they got to the brand awareness level extraordinarily
quickly, but obviously they spent hundreds of millions of dollars.
Knowing that you run a spot on national television and only 20 percent of the
population in general is self-directed, you have an 80 percent waste factor
before you start, so you better make sure the 20 percent responds.
JFAM: There is a notion of trust that keeps popping up in financial services,
particularly with the importance of brand. As you pointed out, this is serious
stuff. This is your money. So, I guess your thought there, though, is that if a
company already has a brand awareness, we don’t need any more branding.
UTTON: We always like brand awareness, but we want brand meaning or
brand relevance. Brand awareness, we have. Brand relevance, we need to
earn. Brand elasticity, we have to grow. What comes with all of that trust and
reassurance is that this is the best place for more of your money.
JFAM: Are elements of your advertising campaign going to be integrated into
some of your other marketing communications? For example, will the
elements go into your public relations and strategic philanthropy that you
might be doing? Is “Be E*traordinary” bigger than just advertising?
UTTON: We have a campaign we call “360 degrees” which says my first
contact with a customer lasts to my last contact with a customer until the next
month. So, the first is all of your communication. Media, brochures, etc., all of
that is being migrated towards this new campaign.
Now, let’s look at the back end from statements, back to the website, public
relations, point of sale. At some point in time, you can overdo it. Do you have
to have the line “Be E*traordinary” every time? No. Do you have to have the
branding element? Absolutely. So, what we got is, we got a set of sacred rules
and we got a set of flexible rules. We asked all the employees to have a
message on their voice mail, “E*TRADE challenges the ordinary to help you be
Is that appropriate for a business-to-business relationship? It’s not perfect
everywhere, but we just launched it with all of the employees. I think we got a
good rallying cry. But, it’s about the execution and seeing the consistency, so if

you come to the office, we have internal messaging that is fanatical about satis-

fying our customers. For example, there is a sign that reads, “Be committed to
providing superior financial solutions.”
An even more amusing one for some reads, “Be pleased that you don’t work
for an ordinary company.” We’re trying to separate ourselves, but we’re also
trying to get internal brand pride.
JFAM: This is part of the appeal you unveiled to me, this makes a lot of sense
because it’s so much better than advertising. It’s cultural.
UTTON: This is all of us together, trying to maximize synergy but with some key
rallying cries. You know, compelling, differentiating, customer service,
customer satisfaction, things a lot of people say, but we’ve got to walk the talk.
Hopefully, this will be like “Priceless” was at MasterCard, a rallying cry for
thousands of passionate employees to say it’s about giving that customer the
better service. It’s about giving the better solution, better value and it’s walking
the talk.
JFAM: Beyond the exchange of good solid value for the price you charge,
explain the competitive landscape right now and how it guides your marketing
UTTON: Before you get to competitive, look at the categories. So, where’s the
category migrating?
The good news for us is that if you look at the projections not done by us in
the industry alone, but done by outside economists, look at productivity, cost
containment, value, the underpinnings. We look at those in terms of saying
where’s the investing solution going? We know it’s going south. We also know
that when you look at the cost structure, we know that’s going to come down.
It has to. And it’s not just perpetuated by the attorneys general and the exposures
done by the media.
Consumers are demanding more value and quite frankly, smaller competitors
are coming in and are able to duplicate solutions far quicker than they’ve
been able to do before. So, that’s macro. Micro depends on which landscape
you’re talking about across the spectrum. Let’s assume there are four major
players. These players are huge individually. Here the competitive landscape,
versus that in ’96, has got unbelievably competitive trading solutions. It’s not
just the full service people that got shocked into changing the way they were
providing value to their customers.
Its apparent inference at Fidelity is that you start off with an investmentsolutions
base. Now it’s into trading. You then got banks moving to the area.
Then you got Ameritrade, Scottrade. This competitive landscape is alive and
well and new players are coming in.

My personal belief is, as I learn more about these businesses, at some point

in time, consolidations are going to have to occur because this becomes a
game of scale. In this investing solutions space, this is an interesting one in
that banks are trying to get into investing and investing companies are trying
to get into banking. It’s a hell of a lot easier going downhill from investing to
banking then going from banking to investing. So, there are going to be some
interesting plays here.
Then you’ve got the big giants, Smith Barney, Fidelity and Schwab, who have
assets and try to grow so this space here is going to migrate some of the assets
here and some of it is going to consolidate, but there has to be consolidation
there. We know banking consolidation probably hasn’t even started yet, but it’s
going to continue. So, we’re focusing here with a view to provide these, but
we’re not trying to be equally as large in every one of these because the
competition and our point of difference will not be that easy to attain short term.
JFAM: What about your physical branch locations? I know the one on
Madison and 55th Street closed about a year ago, but now you’re opening a
couple more here in Manhattan. Maybe you can tell me what you’re doing
strategically and tactically and how that fits into your plans?
UTTON: Let me just address the Madison Avenue branch. Under the previous
management, the belief was that those branches were going to be much
larger asset-gathering venues. Unfortunately, the results were not encouraging.
When Mitch and Jarrett and the team sat down and asked how do you
migrate from a self-directed customer and get to asset accumulation across
the spectrum over this person’s life stage? We hired some people from the
industry who opened up branches knowing that face-to-face contact with
large sums of money is kind of essential for some consumers who are selfdirected
for trading, but for their investing need some hand holding.
So we tested a couple propositions. You’ve seen the target test, etc. The
thing about us is that if it works great or if it doesn’t, stop it quickly. Our
branches have a couple of things going for them. First of all, these aren’t huge
high-cost branches. They are brand and asset-collection tools. They utilize
branding with asset collection as a major mandate.
Secondly, most of the branches are within 20 miles of our customer base.
So, you will not find us in some remote destination.
Thirdly, this is not massive growth from one to 100. This is growth from 13 to
20. People know that right now we provide free portfolio reviews at four of our
branches. By the end of June 2005, we’ll provide them at all of our branches.
They know that if you’re an E*TRADE customer, you get a free portfolio review
that someone else might charge you a large sum of money for, you’re more
likely to consider us for other solutions versus pure trading.

The migration part says that these branches are branding as a collection

and advice linked to trading. We’re going to build this out very slowly and
cautiously on an ROI basis.
JFAM: Do you see this as becoming a new medium for financial brands? I just
heard that a mutual fund company is opening up a branch even though they
barely do any retail business. It’s about this trust thing and this notion that
we’re here. It shows that there are people behind the name.
UTTON: It’s a tough question that I don’t have definitive research to answer the
specific question. Let me give you sort of a broad-based question. When
consumers open up a bank account, we know that they traditionally want it
close to the office and close to the home with ATM access. Once they open
up the account, they never go into the branch, they go online and to the ATM.
Now, fast forward that to investing to say, “OK, I’ve got money and I’m
trading incredibly well with you and now there’s an opportunity to buy a
mutual fund with rebates, etc. Who’s behind the screen?” That says there’s
definitely a place for personal service, which doesn’t have to be face to face.
Phone and face-to-face contact help reassure customers that they can trust
you with money. The greater the money, the less likely you’re going to wire it
to a no-name brand that you never heard of, even if they have a 10 percent
money market rate in California.
JFAM: I think it’s a very prudent strategy myself. I think with online, trust is
essential and you want to know who is behind it. What does the future hold
for the financial services category?
UTTON: I’ve got the advantage of having worked for McKinsey for a couple of
years and I’ve seen some projections from some other major consulting firms
that make a living out of projections. My personal belief is that consolidation
is guaranteed. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of how quickly and how
many get consolidated by whom. So, that’s guaranteed.
When you look at the average customer of a big bank branch, when ATMs
opened up, people were nervous about opening up ATMs. If you don’t have an
ATM in your city, you might join a different bank. So, my belief is that in a
couple of years’ time, if you look at the projections, the branches that exist on
the corners of a lot of streets in New York will diminish. Hotel banking, Internet
banking, online banking will progress. Costs have to go down. It’s going to be
a cost- containment issue.
JFAM: Do you think in the future people like me will be online banking all the
time and not even going into a branch?
UTTON: My view is, I think we self-solicit when we want to be purely selfdirected.

Some consumers — a smaller number — will only do online banking.

I still think people are going to choose the occasion when they want to
interact with people like a teller. Will investor devices exist? Absolutely. But,
with technology advancing, you can have a video conference face to face
with your investment advisor who’s based in New Orleans.
JFAM: And you think we’ll potentially see more of that 10 years from now?
UTTON: If you look at the projections, I see technology, technology enhancements,
broadband acceleration and cost containment. At one point in time,
some of the banks were charging three bucks for a transaction face to face.
They very quickly stopped that. You then have the online companies saying if
you want to go online, you need to pay $9.99 a month. As soon as they dropped
that $9.99, online usage of banking went up. So, I think there’s going to be a
mix. More and more people will do more transactions and online transactions
are going to go up through the roof, but there’s definitely going to be a need
for face to face. It’s a bit like checking. It’s going to diminish, like checking
versus cash and checks. Plastic is increasing because it’s easier.
JFAM: What changes and developments do you see happening in the media
and advertising world in 2015?
UTTON: Look, we’ve all been bombarded and partially terrified that the 30-
second TV commercial is dead. We all have to put a lot of money elsewhere.
Guaranteed, in 10 years the marketing mix optimization model for any
company will change. The question is how it’s going to evolve because there’s
only a certain number of effective ways to get to the consumer. Online, a piece
of paper, multimedia or outdoor. So, my belief is that successful brands are
going to find a way to balance and reach frequency with different media. Right
now, the latest rage is product placement within reality shows. Products are
embedded in the actual programming.
JFAM: Do you think we’ll see more of that as time goes by?
UTTON: I think today’s evolution will evolve. Now, you got these companies
charging for placement of a product in a reality show. I think we’re going to
have numerous ideas continue. It will evolve from where it is to another form.
Electronics is going to change with DVRs and Tivos. In fact, Tivos have a thing
right now, you probably know about it. When you fast forward, there’s a way
to get your branding in the fast forward component. I was brought up in a way
where a TV commercial and a print commercial is everything. Online didn’t
exist. As Steven Ballmer said a couple of years ago, the first dollar that
Microsoft spends is online and that last dollar is TV. What a difference a

decade makes. So, it’s a tough question.

JFAM: Do you see a bright future for online media?
UTTON: For certain categories, absolutely. I went to a summit there (at Procter
& Gamble) many years ago and said here are the projections for online and a
lot of skeptics existed. During the Internet boom and bust, when metrics
weren’t the key component of ROI, I think things got out of control. I think right
now, you got the Microsofts, the Yahoos, the AOLs of the world focused,
knowing that if they deliver return on investment, they will grow. They’re
helping us with metrics, whereby a couple of years ago, you had no idea.
I think online is definitely going to grow, but it’s not for everyone. Google has
transformed an industry. If I was the yellow pages guys, I would be very
nervous about huge books sitting in my cupboards versus a click or a button.
I think we haven’t even started yet.
JFAM: Where do you see E*TRADE in 10 years? Do you see this dream
UTTON: I joined E*TRADE on the basis that Mitch and Jarrett’s vision of being
a full-service solutions provider specializing in certain areas could be realized.
The critical piece of the puzzle is that we have to be a growth company
regardless. Which then says if you come up with compelling differentiating
solutions with great value, you will get customers. If you don’t, you will not.
I think, quite frankly, we have all the elements ready: the competitive landscape,
the economic environment, and most importantly ourselves, in terms of
how we manage it or dictate where the dream is made. But I came here on the
basis that says, “absolutely, but let’s see what happens.”
JFAM: Final question, what’s the best part of your day? What gets you excited
about coming to work in the morning? What’s the best part of your job?
UTTON: Best part of the job is, quite frankly, playing a role in helping transform
and challenge the industry by convincing customers that you’ve got better
solutions. There’s satisfaction of doing it quicker, faster and better than people
out there who have much bigger armies than us and bigger budgets. That
makes it fun. That’s the fun piece.
JFAM: There’s a real importance to your work.
UTTON: It’s real important. It’s not just one percent market share, a new
cosmetic or a new shampoo. It’s helping make consumers’ lives easier, but
actually seeing real tangible benefit. There are two pieces: one is the
customer, second is revenue. Can you grow it? This is a phenomenal brand
that we haven’t even started fully capitalizing on. Thank God, with the brandbuilding

efforts, some incredible seeds were sown.

By Bill

“Call Us Today — We’re the Leader in Financial Services” Sounds inviting. We all like to follow a leader. It makes us feel safe. This is especially true in financial services where the stakes are so high — and safety matters more. Leadership (who leads, who follows and why) is a fascinating subject. I can speak to that from firsthand knowledge. Several years ago I moved out of New York City for a brief spell and relocated to Darien, Conn. The idea was that I would take the train into the city every morning to work. This stint lasted all of about six months. One of my first mornings as a Connecticut commuter was a cold one in January. I arrived at the train station about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. To warm up, commuters would enter the station to keep warm. The room eventually became uncomfortably crowded. There were simply too many people in that small space. As many as 100 commuters huddled for warmth in a room built for 30. I gave a glance out the window to assess my options and rather deliberately left the warmth of the station to go stand by the track. The train was nowhere in sight. It was still a good five minutes before it was supposed to arrive. Lo and behold, as soon as I left, everyone in the building followed me right out the door and into the cold — one by one. The more people that followed me, the more quickly the rest of them poured out the doors. The warming house quickly emptied. The platform was now crowded, as well as cold. Some of the world’s most powerful executives that meet on that Darien platform every morning followed me out into the sub-freezing weather. There was no reason other than that I looked like I knew something they didn’t. What a lesson in leadership. People will follow a leader, even if he is an accidental leader. But I need to be careful with the way I use the word “leader.” The advertising business in the U.S. has received a bit of a bad rap for overstating the way things are. In many European countries, for example, terms such as “the best” or “the leader” cannot be used in advertising because such claims are not literally true. Even if they are, they can’t be proven. In the U.S., we give a little more credit to media consumers for being rational and informed decision-makers, so exaggeration has come to be expected in advertising claims. Americanstyle financial advertising places much faith in the innate wisdom of the consumer. As a result, we hear that term so much that, frankly, not enough care is given to understand what the term really means. Sure, people will follow a leader. It seems that brands (like politicians or strangers on a platform) can claim to be leaders without doing much to stand behind that claim. My question is that to be a leader, shouldn’t one, well . . . lead? Leaders who cannot stand behind their promises eventually fade into oblivion. Beyond their individual claims, what does it mean to be a true financial services leader in today’s marketplace? Of course, we can characterize leadership with terms like “biggest market cap,” “greatest total assets,” “biggest marketing budget,” or “most innovative,” but what does that really mean to the customer? First and foremost, a firm that leads must earn the trust of those it asks to follow. A financial services firm can only earn this trust by standing behind its promises. Sometimes, standing behind these promises can be a tricky (and expensive) business. But the long-term benefits of business leadership are priceless to a brand. I recently attended Forrester’s Financial Services Forum. I was intrigued to learn recently that there is a disconnect between the claims made by financial firms and the actual experiences many customers encounter. There is a gap between the two. In short, financial firms may advertise that they provide intimate, servicedriven, individualized relationships, but can they really deliver a close and personal relationship? Some do. Many do not. Of course, those that don’t ultimately suffer in the end with lost revenues. As Forrester points out, there is a serious breach of customer loyalty within financial services. Customers may be content to maintain an existing account with a particular firm, but when it is time for a customer to purchase additional products, there’s no compelling reason for them to stay put. Net, net, many end up shopping elsewhere for new financial products. In order to have customer loyalty, companies need to realize that there is more to it than just hanging on to the existing customer, according to Forrester’s report: n Less than half of the customers of average insurance companies will consider those firms for their next insurance purchases. n Forty-four percent of the typical brokerage’s customers will consider the same firm for their next investment purchases. n Only 28 percent of the average bank’s customers will consider it for their next banking product purchase. So what is the problem here? Is it loyalty? If customers are not loyal, there must be a reason at the root. Does it stem from the breakdown between promise and delivery? Do today’s financial brand “leaders” actually fit that title because they simply claim to be leaders, or does the industry leadership speak through its actions? Customers do not trust financial institutions because these firms are not seen as true “customer advocates,” according to Forrester. Plain and simple, customers do not feel that financial institutions have the customer’s best interests at heart. Unfortunately, some don’t. For individuals to line up behind a financial firm and show real loyalty, the firm must have earned the trust of the customer. Customers must believe that the institution’s primary motivation is the customers’ best interest. The firm must do more than make leadership claims. The claims can only spring from actions. Trust is the most fundamental component in the financial services industry and it can only be earned. EDITORIAL keep your promises So who are the true leaders in financial services marketing? These are the institutions that stand behind their claims. These are the ones whose best interest is truly the customer. These are the institutions that lead the industry by example. These are the firms that bridge the gap between promise and delivery. “Trust is the bedrock of the financial brand,” I wrote in a previous editorial. Our industry leaders are compensated well to advise customers. Special attention should be paid to following through on promotional promises. Otherwise this bedrock of trust may crumble to dust. Real leaders lead by example. Imposters (like that guy on the train platform) are soon found out. My advice to the leading financial brands of the world: keep your promises and you’ll keep your leadership position. imposters are soon found out

Click here to view JFAM'S
directory of leading professionals in financial

services advertising and marketing.

The Journal of Financial Advertising &
Marketing is pleased to offer readers this
directory of leading professionals in financial
services advertising and marketing.

These leading professionals have helped to make The Journal of Financial Advertising & Marketing all that it is today!

***Lee Albertson, Bloomberg Radio (WBBR),
Bloomberg Media Ad Sales Management,
499 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
***Eric Alexander, Chief Operating Officer,
Wall Street Access, 17 Battery Place,
New York, NY 10004, V: 212.709.9805,
F: 212.709.9555,,
***Carl Anderson, President, CEO,
Doremus Advertising, 200 Varick Street,
New York, NY 10014, V: 212.366.3000,
***Nader Ashway, President, Creative Director,
The Ashway Group, 720 Monroe Street,
Suite E.513, Hoboken, NJ 07030,
***Doug Bachelis, Senior Marketing Manager,
USA TODAY, 535 Madison Avenue, 31st Floor,
New York, NY 10022, V: 212.715.2187,
F: 212.715.2129,
***Scott Bailey, Executive Vice President/
Strategic Business Analysis, Targetbase,
7850 North Belt Line Road, Irving, Texas 75063,
***Lisa Balter, Vice President - Associate
Publisher, The Deal LLC, 105 Madison Avenue,
New York, NY 10016, V: 212.313.9326,
F: 212.481.7794,
***Barbara Bender, Senior Marketing Director,
The Yellow Pages Association, 2 Connell Drive,
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 908.286.2396
***Dana Berger, Advertising Sales Manager,
The Wall Street Journal Online,
1155 Avenue of The Americas,
New York, NY 10036.6710,
V: 212.597.5775, F: 212.597.5776,
***Daryl G. Bloodsaw Managing Director,
Financial B2B/Insurance Advertising
The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-3959 212-556.8013
***Martha Brown, Director, Corporate
Communications, The Deal LLC,
105 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016,
V: 212.313.9218 F: 212.313.9293
***Edmund Carey Managing Director,
Financial Services Advertising
The New York Times 229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-3959 212-556-4328
***Chad Chadwick, Managing Partner,
Chadwick Communications, 49 West 27th
Street, NY, NY 10001, V: 212.251.0555,
F: 212.251.0533,,
***Terri Chiodo, Vice President, National
Advertising Director, Investor's Business Daily,
12655 Beatrice Street, Los Angeles, CA 90066,
V: 310.448.6700, F: 310.577.7301,,
***Michael Conant, Vice President, Sales,
The Deal LLC, 105 Madison Avenue,
New York, NY 10016, V: 212.313.9225,
F: 212.481.7794,,
***Mike Connors Sales Director
500 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10018
***Maureen Consavage, Director of Advertising,
USA TODAY, 535 Madison Avenue, 29th Floor,
New York, NY 10022, V: 212.715.5322,
F: 212.371.0241,
***Liz Cronin Managing Director,
Bank & Credit Card Advertising
The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-3959, 212.556.7585
***Dean P. Crutchfield, Vice President,
Marketing, Wolff Olins,
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
V. 917.239.3303 F. 212 505 8791
***Sean Cunningham President & CEO
Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau
830 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor New York,
NY 10022, 212.508.1200
***Mark DeCollibus, Senior Strategist,
Art Plus Technology, 186 Lincoln Street,
Boston, MA, 617.646.4000,
Direct: 617.646.4278,,
***Mariann Deluca, Bloomberg Radio (Network),
Bloomberg Media Ad Sales Management,
499 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
***Ken Detlet, Regional Manager,
Eastern Advertising Sales,
The Wall Street Journal Online,
1155 Avenue of The Americas, New York,
NY 10036.6710, V: 212.597.5970,
F: 212.597.5776,
***Mark DiMassimo, Advocate, CEO
DiMassimo Brand Advocates
20 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003
V. 212.253.7500, F. 646.602.9439
***Bill Dimodugno,
Bloomberg Wealth Manager Magazine,
Bloomberg Media Ad Sales Management,
499 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
212.893.3998, wdimodugno@
***Ted Dolan, Bloomberg Markets Magazine,
Bloomberg Media Ad Sales Management,
499 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
***Jerry Draper, Managing Director,
OMUSA, Inc.,
200 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014,
***Karen Dubinsky, President,
Marketing Insights, Inc.,
250 East 78th St. New York, New York 10021,
V: 212.439.9826, F: 212.439.9855,,
***William Duke, Duke International Media,
295 Madison Avenue, 33rd Floor,
New York, NY 10017, 212.986.6098,,
***Evelyn Ehrlich, Ph.D.
EC Communications
***Mike Ellison, Executive Vice President of
Corporate Insight, 150 East 58th Street,
17th Floor, New York, NY 10155, 212.832.2002,,
***Lori Erdos, Vice President, Advertising Sales,
USA TODAY, 535 Madison Avenue, 29th Floor,
New York, NY 10022, V: 212.715.2036,
F: 212.371.0241,
***Steven J. Farella, President, CEO
TargetCast tcm, Inc. 800 Third Avenue,
9th Floor, New York, New York 10022,
V: 212.500.6901, F: 212.500.6885,
***Chris Geiser, General Manager, The Garrigan
Lyman Group, 55 Broad Street, 17th Floor,
New York, NY10004, V: 212.232.0270,
F: 212.232.0272,,
***Emily Griste, Vice President, The Deal LLC,
105 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016,
V: 212.313.9252, F: 212.313.9338,
***Lori L. Hamilton, President/CEO, Prosperity
Productions, Inc. 77 W. 24th Street, #22B
New York, NY 10010 V: 646.414.1528,
F: 888.703.7405
***Daniel Harley, VP, Marketing,
HSBC Bank USA, 452 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10018
***Tim Hart, Financial Advertising Director,
Financial Times, 1330 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10019, 212.641.6554,
***Michael J. Henry, Director of Sales,
The Wall Street Journal Online,
1155 Avenue of The Americas,
New York, NY 10036.6710,
V: 212.597.5939, F: 212.597.5776,
***Stephen Howe, VP of Advertising,
Americas, Financial Times,
1330 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10019, 212.641.6615,
***Hiroyuki Imada, Vice President, Advertising
Dept., Nihon Keizai Shimbun America, Inc.,
1325 Avenue of the Americas, #2500,
New York, NY 10019, V:212.261.6225,
***Jeff Inman, Albert Wesley Frey Professor of
Marketing, Katz School at the University of
Pittsburgh, Mervis Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260,
***Alicia Ivans, Director Strategic Sales &
Services, Financial Times,
1330 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10019, 212.641.6440,
***Tom Jago, Managing Director,
The Ward Group, 345 Route 17 South,
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 201.934.4220,,
***John Jelilian, Senior Vice President,
Competitrack, Inc., 36.36 33rd Street,
Long Island City, NY 11106, 718.482.4204,
***Michael Jordan, Managing Partner,
Group Creative Director, Gotham, Inc.,
100 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011,
V: 212.414.7000,,
***Lenore Kantor-Hendrick, Director of
Marketing, BNY Brokerage, 1633 Broadway,
48th Floor, New York, NY 10019,
V: 212.468.7546 / 800.828.5454,
F: 917.510.2997,
***Jacki Kelley, Senior Vice President,
Advertising Sales, USA TODAY,
7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108,
V: 703.854.5385, F: 703.854.2049,
***Randy Kilgore, Vice President, Advertising,
The Wall Street Journal Online,
1155 Avenue of The Americas, New York, NY
10036.6710, V: 212.597.5773, F: 212.597.5776,
***Richard J. Kosinski, Category Development
Officer, Business & Finance, Yahoo!, Inc.,
1065 Avenue of The Americas,
New York, NY 10018
***Jason Krebs Vice President,
Sales & Marketing,
500 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10018, 212.698.8145
***Alan Krinsky, President, Alan Krinsky
Associates, 301 E. 48th St. Ste. 8F, New York,
NY 10017, V: 212.752.0539, F:212.755.5359,,
***Yasuhiro Kunitomo, Manager, Advertising
Dept., Nihon Keizai Shimbun America, Inc.,
1325 Avenue of the Americas, #2500,
New York, NY 10019, V: 212.261.6223,
F: 212.261.6208,
***Susan Leiterstein, Senior Sales Director,
The Deal LLC, 105 Madison Avenue, New York,
NY 10016, V: 212.313.9283, F: 212.481.7794
***Mike Lombardi,,
Bloomberg Media Ad Sales Management,
499 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
***Mike Lotito, CEO, Media IQ, 63 Greene Street,
Suite 605, New York, NY 10012, 212.941.7342,,
***Steve Marcus, Strategic Partner, Alan Krinsky
Associates, 22 Indian Hill Road, New Rochelle,
NY 10804, V: 914.393.54404, F: 501.325.9147,
***Anne Miller Chiron Associates, Inc.
Box 624 New York, NY 10163, 212.876.1875,
***Bob Moss, President, Competitrack, Inc.,
36.36 33rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11106,
***Andrea Nierenberg, Principal,
The Nierenberg Group, Inc.,
420 East 51st Street #12D,
New York, NY 10022, V: 212.980.0930,
F: 212.980.4185, M: 917.626.8494,,
***Noreen Ross, EVP, Marketing & Advertising,
Dreyfus, 200 Park Ave., V: 212.922.8232,
F: 212.922.8230,,
***Steve Patrizi, Director of Advertising Sales,
Western Region, The Wall Street Journal
Online, 201 California Street, Suite 1300,
San Francisco, CA 94111, V: 415.765.8290,
M: 415.203.4665,
***Fred Pfaff, Fred Pfaff Inc.,
575 Lexington Avenue, 4th floor,
New York, NY 10022, V: 212.572.8353,
M: 917.902.6883, F: 212.686.1009
***Christopher Wm. Philip, SVP, Media Director,
Doremus Advertising, 200 Varick Street,
New York, NY 10014, 212.366.3056,
***Hope Picker, Director of Research, Doremus
200 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
V: 212.366.3671 F: 212.366.3020
***Paul Piscitelli, Writer
New York, NY V: 212.867.2289
***Andrew Porter, Chief Executive, Masius
Warwick Building, Kensington Village,
Avonmore Road London W14 8HQ V: +44 (0)20 7551 1664
F: +44 (0)20 7384 3857
***Ichiro Sakaguchi, Senior Manager,
Advertising Dept, Nihon Keizai Shimbun
America, Inc., 725 South Figueroa Street,
#1515, Los Angeles, CA 90017,
V: 213.955.7471, F: 213.955.7478,
***David Scholes, President and CEO,
Targetbase, 7850 North Belt Line Road,
Irving, Texas 75063, 972.506.3912,
***Roger Schwoerer, Group Director, Financial
Services Advertising The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street New York, NY 10036-
3959 212.556.1314,
***John Sieling, Western Region Advertising
Director, Financial Times, 251 Post Street,
Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94108,
***Claude Singer Partner Lippincott Mercer
499 Park Avenue New York, NY 10022
V: 212.521.0000, F: 212.308.8952
David Sklaver, President/New York, KSL
Media, 387 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10016,
V: 212.352.5852,,
***Russ Stein, Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg
Media Ad Sales Management,
499 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
***Gary Stromberg, CEO, Stromberg Consulting
1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10019
V:646.935.4301 F: 646.935.4368
***Eileen Sutton Principle, E.F. Sutton Creative
620 East 6th Street, Suite 18
New York, NY 10009 V/F: 212.995.5798
***Hugh Sutton, General Manager, Europe,
The Deal LLC . London Bureau,
106 Leadenhall Street, London,
England EC3A 4AA,
Main: 44.20.7648.2880,
Direct: 44.20.7648.2884,
***Melanie Szlucha, Vice President,
Competitrack, Inc., 36.36 33rd Street,
Long Island City, NY 11106,
***Tsukuru Urano, Senior Manager, Advertising
Dept., Nihon Keizai Shimbun America, Inc.,
1325 Avenue of the Americas, #2500,
New York, NY 10019, V: 212.261.6221,
F: 212.261.6208,
***Julian Walker, Director,
Gainsborough Communications Consultancy,
88 Kings Way, London WC2B 6AA,
United Kingdom, V: +44 (0)20 7841 1020,
F: +44 (0)20 7841 1030,
***Ray Warhola, Eastern Regional Manager,
Investor's Business Daily, 19 W. 44th Street,
Ste. 804, NY, NY 10036, V: 212.626.7676,
F: 212.626.7532,
***Benjamin Wheeler, Wheeler & Co.,
66 Madison Avenue, Studio 10J, New York,
NY 10016, 212.679.2926,,
***Kevin Windorf, Director, Marketing & Client
Strategy, Harris Nesbitt, 3 Times Square,
New York, NY 10036, 212.885.4111,,
***Kevin Worth, CEO and President,
The Deal LLC, 105 Madison Avenue, New York,
NY 10016, V: 212.313.9329, F: 212.313.9338,
***Bill Wreaks, President + CEO,
The Wreaks Media Group,
275 Madison Avenue, 6th Floor,
New York, NY 10016, 212.753.5131,,
***Ahmed Yearwood, Y Interact, Incorporated,
232 East 82nd Street, Suite 2A,
New York, NY 10028, 212.794.9288,,
Karl J. Yehle, Principal, RelationTips,
P.O. 480157, Kansas City, MO 64148,
V: 913.491.1543, F: 913.491.4189,,
***Rick Yeske, Midwest and Northwestern
Regional Manager, Investor's Business Daily,
200 W. Adams Street, Ste. 2215, Chicago, IL
60606, V: 312.704.2330, F: 312.372.0664,
***Alice Sachs Zimet President
Arts + Business Partnerships LLC
40 E. 88 Street New York, NY 10128
V: 212.427.6700 F: 212.427.9797
***Ray Zipko, Executive Vice President,
Doremus Advertising, 200 Varick Street,
New York, NY 10014, 212.366.3154,

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