Power E*Trade does it smarter and faster

They are fascinated with technology and are ego-driven early adopters who enjoy risk and have an entrepreneurial spirit. They are often highly successful and enjoy the bragging rights that come with their self-controlled success. They are sophisticated investors, typically male, 35-50 - and E*TRADE realized it wasn't giving them enough personalized attention.

They are fascinated with technology and are ego-driven early adopters who enjoy risk and have an entrepreneurial spirit. They are often highly successful and enjoy the bragging rights that come with their self-controlled success. They are sophisticated investors, typically male, 35-50 – and E*TRADE realized it wasn’t giving them enough personalized attention.

And so was born the Power E*Trade product – a virtual VIP ‘club,’ says Jamie McClelland, chief marketing officer for E*Trade Canada, of Toronto. ‘If you are at a bank, you have to have $1 million and trade a heck of a lot to even be considered to get into The President’s Club. Our qualification levels let a lot more people in, and we have more investment tools.’

The priority customer service and specialized tools of Power E*Trade are geared toward the active trader (with three+ trades per month) and the serious investor (with a minimum of $50,000 in investment assets).

‘All of these [consumers] were at the bank – and our objective was to take them away from the banks. The key consumer insight was that people were tired of being treated like every other bank customer,’ he says.

‘Ultimately, the ‘Trade Smarter Faster’ campaign came out of that consumer insight.’ (In the past, E*TRADE had focused their acquisition efforts on a mass audience and addressed communication to all online investors.)

E*Trade’s ‘Trade Smarter Faster’ online campaign, created by GreyInteractive and launched in the fall of 2001, takes home top prize in Strategy Direct+Interactive’s Top Ten Interactive Campaigns 2002 competition. The strategy was to promote Power E*TRADE as the number-one product for active traders and serious investors by focusing on its leading-edge technology, professional tools and lower prices. (The primary business objective was to encourage online traders to visit the E*TRADE Canada Web site and view the Power E*TRADE demo. A secondary objective was to convert demo prospects to Power E*TRADE customers.)

The interactive campaign included interstitials, large format ads, banners, skyscrapers, html e-mail – in both French and English – targeted at prospects in the two aforementioned groups via sites like globeinvestor.com, MSN Money, Telus and Nasdaq.com.

The message, a direct attack on the banks, informed target groups that they could trade smarter and faster by using the more accessible, professional Power E*Trade trading suite. Clickthroughs directed people to a flash demo site of the Power E*Trade product, which also featured the offer of 25 free trades and a variety of other rebates and incentives to all new customers. (Offline media was also used to support the program, including print, radio and PR.)

‘The print and radio executions were much more irreverent. In online, we are a tad irreverent, but the focus is really on the offer,’ says McClelland.

‘The creative is so intrusive and really outside what the category normally does,’ says Robin Whalen, account director for E*Trade, at GreyInteractive. ‘It was not necessarily related specifically to the product so it stood out, it was intriguing…. Their target market actually appreciates the irreverence, and is arrogant enough to want to see that.’

The campaign, which took less than two weeks to create, and industry-leading product garnered E*TRADE Canada a number-one ranking for serious investors and active traders according to the Gomez 2002 survey.

‘We’ve probably grown the total customer base by 75%,’ says McClelland. ‘And Power E*Trade now represents a big portion of our business – with a little less than 25% of the customer base, but representing probably three quarters of the trades and two thirds of the assets in the company,’ he says.

Judges’ comments

‘Media banners reflected the key message of being ‘Smarter Faster.’ The offer strategy was clear in the banners and there was a clear link to a demo, which was very informative and reinforced the message strategy – there was clear communication, the use of audio and flash media influenced the feel of the demo and reflected the functionality that the user would experience.

When the demo was complete the user was left with all the information that was necessary to get online and register.’

‘It’s nice to see sound strategic and creative thinking applied to interactive work. This is an indication that we’re finally maturing as an industry, and the E*Trade ‘Smarter Faster’ campaign is a good example of this. Simple yet strong copy, excellent integration with other brand messages, and flawless design and execution.’

‘All the ingredients for a successful campaign:

* Strong creative and branding throughout the campaign

* Good offer/message

* Strategic media placement with targeted audience on leading Canadian portals’