Retail-driven, customer-focused

Strategy sat down with Dominic Mercuri, SVP /CMO, and Chris Armstrong, former TD CMO, now vice chair, sales and marketing, TD Waterhouse USA - soon to be TD Ameritrade - to find out where the bank's headed.

Strategy sat down with Dominic Mercuri, SVP /CMO, and Chris Armstrong, former TD CMO, now vice chair, sales and marketing, TD Waterhouse USA – soon to be TD Ameritrade – to find out where the bank’s headed.

Where does TD stand on its anniversary?

Mercuri: TD Bank Financial Group is as strong as it’s ever been. On the TD Waterhouse front, our wealth management area is having record performance as we’ve evolved from being the big discount broker to include the full range of wealth management services.

Any specific new changes?

Mercuri: Recently we installed a new campaign management application to help us with our extensive direct marketing efforts. We have a system to prompt sales staff on potential product or service offers that would be appropriate for the customer they are dealing with. This same system is used to direct leads to our sales staff.

Will increased presence in the U.S. prompt substantial marketing shifts?

Armstrong: Different markets always present different challenges. So even though Dom gets a lot of bang for his buck [in Canada] out of direct marketing, that’s not as powerful a tool [in the U.S.] Broadcast messaging is more effective here, so we spend a lot of time working on our creative and finding an appropriate spokesperson, which we believe we have with Law & Order’s Sam Waterston.

How about TD’s identity in the U.S.?

Armstrong: If you drive south from Canada to Florida, you’ll see the green TD shield logo on 140 locations of TD Ameritrade and on TD Banknorth. That’s how valuable an asset we consider it to be. We’re just about to shoot a TV commercial [for TD Ameritrade] introducing something very similar [to the green chair.] We’ll also be copying Dom’s iPod promotion idea this fall.

Will TD’s overall marketing strategy change?

Mercuri: One of the big things we’ve refocused on, especially at retail, is to make banking more fun. That’s why you see things like the iPod offer [for switching to TD] and some of the new merchandising approaches we’ve used in the branches.

Will the tone of your advertising change?

Mercuri: There’s no doubt that consumers like a little levity in their advertising, but banks can’t go too far in that direction. So the challenge is finding the smile without taking away the seriousness of what we do.

What’s unlikely to change in the future?

Mercuri: It’s interesting when you go

back and you can see that a lot of what we believe today is the same as what we

believed in the past. We just presented it in a different way. TD has always been a true retail-driven and customer-focused organization and I don’t see that ever changing.

Armstrong: Customer behaviour changes at a glacial pace. What they have always wanted is safety, soundness, security and [bank staff] who understand that they’re human beings. So that’s what we’ll continue to deliver. TP