Avoid the lunchtime lineups

To encourage consumers to overcome these barriers and bring their banking to the Web, CIBC enlisted Toronto-based Fuse Marketing to create a direct-mail campaign with an incentive component targeting customers and staff of the bank.

We’ve all waited in those unending lunchtime lineups at our local banks. But while more and more consumers avoid them by doing their banking online, there are still others who see the interactive process as cumbersome, pricey and even intimidating.

To encourage consumers to overcome these barriers and bring their banking to the Web, CIBC enlisted Toronto-based Fuse Marketing to create a direct-mail campaign with an incentive component targeting customers and staff of the bank. (The campaign originated in October 2002 with a team at Mosaic Marketing and Technology. That same team started up Fuse Marketing in February and CIBC went with them.)

The goal: To generate awareness of online banking and ultimately encourage the migration of both customers and staff of CIBC – those who hadn’t registered for online accounts or had inactive accounts (a total of 500,000 people) – from in-branch and telephone banking services to the CIBC site.

The strategy: The communications focused on demonstrating the benefits of online banking, such as its cost-effectiveness and convenience. An incentive was also provided to customers: New registrants received $5 when they paid two bills online, and reactivated users received $2 for every bill payment up to $10.

The execution: While previous direct mail was bogged down by heavy copy, this campaign focused on straightforward ‘tips’ – such as the fact that CIBC Online Banking is a simple, easy-to-use and cost-effective way to bank. The creative positioned CIBC Online Banking as a free service that the consumer in the know could ‘get in on.’ It also communicated how being able to use the online service anywhere, at any time, enables users to take better control of their banking activities.

The results: The program was particularly effective with customers who were already registered: 32% reactivated their accounts after receiving the communication, which was 17% higher than the initial objective. Meanwhile, for customers who had never used online banking, there was a 3.5% response rate – beating expectations by 1.5%. And even though CIBC staff members did not receive the incentive offer, there was a 4.1% overall response.

Stephen Brown, VP client services at Fuse, attributes the success of the campaign, which ran again in spring 2003, to a combination of the groups targeted, the unique creative, and, of course, the incentive offer. ‘We’ve done enough research to know that a cash incentive works best, and that you don’t have to give away a ton to get the desired response.