Product of the Month: A Marketing Waste or Sheer Brilliance?

Banks and Financial institutions have multiple products and services to offer customers. Be  it selling the first product or cross-selling the next, the biggest issue becomes making the customer aware of what the organization has to offer.

In comes a marketing brainchild – Product of the Month (POM). Simply put, spread 12 major products across 12 months in the financial year, at every customer touch point known to the Bank. Be it online, statements, posters, banners, standees at the branch, sms, email everything talks about a single product. All communication at branches, ATMs, your website, social media carry the exact same message.

Impact of Product of the Month (POM)

Other than being an execution nightmare for the marketing coordinator (just kidding) the real question remains – does all the effort translate in to more sales? Does the customer see all the effort as much as we think he does?

The answer is both yes and no. Do sales increase during the month – mostly yes. Is the customer influenced in a major way – maybe not. Because of ongoing clutter, customers tend to treat most traditional marketing communication the way they always have irrespective of POM. They mostly ignore the back of statements, concentrate on their ATM transaction not on your product screen and in any case rarely walk in to a branch for transactions anyways. If they do walk in, they concentrate on getting in and out as fast as possible ignoring the posters and tent cards placed all around.

Then why execute a POM?

So should we do it or not? Is Product of the Month a sheer waste of money? Here’s my take:

POM has very little to do with the customer. It has everything to do with the Sales Team. It is an instrument to bring about sales team focus. A typical Bank sales representative has over 40 products with targets to achieve. Each product has different weightage. With so much on his plate, a relationship manager may end up more confused than clear about what to focus on. POM helps  set  this straight. With a structured POM, the organization gets a chance to communicate what needs attention to everyone at the branches or on the field. When everyone is tuned into the same product and speaking the same language, sales will increase.

Effective Product of the Month

Till now, POM was just about mindless printing and dispatching collateral to branches on a monthly basis. Some ways to make POM more effective include:

  1. Website – Maximum first time information seekers visit your website as the first source of finding a solution. The home page should reflect the Product of the Month.
  2. Email and SMS – low cost and effective communication. Also acts as a conversation starter for sales teams with existing customers. The twist is to have a series of emailers and sms to help both educate and also provide solutions. Not just hardcore selling.
  3. At Bank Branches –  A banner or window glazing speaks volumes and is much more effective compared to posters and tent cards scattered around the branch.
  4. ATM Screen – Only communicate on the transaction screen – we only read when we wait for our money to come out
  5. Social Media – Very, very important. All social media avenues (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) should educate about the product during the period
  6. Mobile Banking Applications – These must promote the POM in a big way
  7. Last but not least always HAVE AN OFFER ON POM. Without an offer sales have nothing to talk about, customer interest cannot be spiked and sales cannot exponentially increase

 

A combination of the above (based on your budgets) will definitely help bring in the numbers.

Which Product at what time?

Always align your products /services based on season of purchase. In Banking the following generally holds true:

April to June – Liabilities (Savings Accounts, Checking Accounts, Term Deposits)

July to September – Services and Convenience Banking (Debit Cards, Mobile Banking, Net Banking, BillPay, Forex Cards)

October to December – Assets (Home Loans, Car Loans, Personal Loans, Credit Cards)

Jan to March – Investments (Tax Planning, Mutual Funds, Insurance)

A well thought, structured Product of the Month calendar will definitely help increase your numbers as well as give direction and focus to your Sales Team.

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