The bank for every individual

The objective

The objective

Most of us simply glaze over when the humdrum bank statements show up in the mailbox. Really, are we supposed to be wowed by news about ways to invest, save for retirement or take out a mortgage?

Well, Scotiabank seems to think so. It’s Relationship Builder direct marketing campaign continues to be fresh and up-to-date, showing the industry that when it comes to direct marketing, bank and boring don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. The most recent wave of the campaign, which has been refreshed every six months over the past four years, proves that highly customized, highly creative DM pieces can be supremely effective.

‘Our goal is to match the best offer to the right customer,’ says Jonathan Huth, VP relationship database marketing at the Toronto-based bank.

The strategy

With in-store banking going the way of the dodo, Scotiabank’s target-specific campaigns are an attempt to bring back a personal touch to banking. Its target audience is the over one-million Scotiabank customers between 25 and 75 who aren’t taking full advantage – or are unaware – of all the products and services the bank offers. Abandoning the one-product-for-one-customer-over-a-predetermined-period-of-time model, the strategy behind the campaign is to bundle the bank’s products based on the customer.

So, 25- to 34-year-olds are Builders and bent on making cash; 35- to 54-year-olds are Accumulators with a focus on mortgages and RSPs; and Preservers are from 55 to 74, and want to maintain their standard of living. Based on information from an extensive database, and depending on the customer’s life stage, a personalized DM piece is sent to the client focusing on lending, investment and day-to-day products.

Huth says this approach provides a single voice from the bank to the client. ‘No one likes to get a bunch of direct mail pieces from a place with which they have a relationship,’ he says. ‘ So if you don’t have a credit card, and we don’t think you need one, we’re not going to send you a [DM piece] offering one. We respect [the client's] time and mailbox.’ The DM pieces are seasonal as well. Just this past November, for example, RSP-focused materials were mailed out.

The creative itself matches the customized and rather inspired strategy. The images on the six-by-six-inch envelopes are bold, bright, and focus on real-life scenarios, without being over-stylized. The teasers on the envelopes are straightforward yet forceful. An envelope for Accumulators, for example, has two young children looking at each other through a magnifying glass. The accompanying copy, in colourful, unfussy font, reads: ‘There’s money there. It’s just hiding. And we can help you find it.’

The results

Relationship Builder is the ‘cornerstone’ of the entire bank’s direct marketing work, says Huth. And the results are similarly impressive. The most recent campaign with tabulated results, which ran from November 2003 to May 2004, generated a response rate 200% above expectations. Thousands of new accounts were opened, about 18.6% over projections. And new balances – money moved from other banks into credit-card balances or mortgages at Scotia – were up 45%. ‘We double our return on the program every year,’ Huth says. Mighty Direct is currently working on the next wave, which is expected in May.

Client: Scotiabank

Agency: Mighty Direct,

Digital + Design, Toronto

CD: Amy Morrison

AD: Andrew Boisvenue

Account Supervisor: Randy Barnes

Ads: Wendy Schmidt, Corey Ginou

Copywriters: Maggie Screaton, Karin Elz