I got called out. By my buddy, and colleague Jean-Guy Francoeur. He did a great post about how a big bank in Canada, ING Direct, just did an online campaign using classic Internet Marketing Techniques (eg, launch sequencing, squeeze page, social media, etc). And he asked me to do a little commentary on it, so here goes…
** Author’s note**: After publishing this post on Sept 8th, I decided to seek some feedback from ING’s head office. Actually, I went straight to the top: President Peter Aceto, the man featured in their video. I found two accounts for him on Facebook and one on LinkedIn. I messaged all three. About 36 hours later, he sent me this message:
I am very impressed with your very thorough coverage and analysis of our work on the marketing of our new THRiVE Chequing account. You do hit a few nails right on the head and I do agree that there are areas that need improvement which we plan to discuss for next time. This is why I love SM as it allows us to get this type of feedback from so many people. Thank your for taking the time to share your thoughts and all in all quite a complimentary review of the work we are doing.
Now back to the original post:
Firstly, let me preface this with exclaiming that I love that a big bank just used this method. This type of campaign is almost entirely reserved for nimble, responsive, online businesses that are heavily niched. But don’t be fooled, internet marketers have been on the cutting edge of great marketing techniques since the internet started. In fact, you can thank internet marketers for making information on just about everything under the sun free; to get an edge on their competitors they must give away all sorts of great goodies before they even think about charging a dime.
If you haven’t seen the page you can go to http://www.your185.ca/v/ right now or just watch this video, which was about the only thing on the page:
Ok, with that out of the way, let me do this Benjamin Franklin style: a list of pros and cons.
Pros for their campaign:
- -Their president is really great on camera. He comes across very genuine and like a pretty normal dude
- -Further to that the video appeared off the cuff (although I’m sure it was not), one-take, unstaged, and in a regular cab not a limo
- -He mentioned a location that many of us know (especially Torontonians). This is actually hugely important because it gives us context. Every great story has places, people, a premise and dialogue. And the more familiar you are with each, the more you connect with the story. In his case we didn’t know him (but because he was genuine we felt like we could know him), we probably knew the place, we could have connected to the premise (of banks screwing us over), but he lacked dialogue.
- -I like how his tie matched the page (small, but important. Conveys a serious level of professionalism, and thus I trust him. To learn more about what’s going on inside your brain that leads one to draw that conclusion talk to content consumption guru Ryan Garey)
- -They included social media (buttons for facebook/twitter/youtube, but as a side note they only had facebook on their French version)
- -The page is clean and neat and undistracting
- -Like every great launch, there was a date attached to it!
Ok, now let me lambaste this hot-shot big-wig bank executive with some stinging cons!
- -Way, way, way too many ‘ummms’. I like the idea it looking off the cuff, but it became very distracting.
- -I wasn’t really sure what he was selling me. I think the CTA (call to action) was to go to the Eaton Centre if it’s Aug 18th and you’re watching the video. Not a good CTA.
- -There was no info capture form. At the time of writing this post youtube says 7,529 people watched this video. If they had a piddly poor 15% optin ratio (we aim for 30% as our baseline, and have some pages that get upwards of 52%) then they’d have over 1,000 people to contact who had already raised their hands and stepped forwards to say “I am at least moderately interested in what’s going on here”. Maybe they don’t like making money? Now that’s new in banking.
- -Squeeze pages (information capturing pages) are most effective when you give value for FREE. He could have offered an ‘inside look’, ‘sneak peak’, ‘be a beta tester’, ‘an ING t-shirt’ or a million other things to ethically bribe people. His offer instead was to check out our new product. That is very ME focused, and not at all customer focused.
- -I’ve watched the video three times now, and I still don’t really know how the THRiVE Chequing account is different from any other account out there.
Ok ok, that’s enough. I’ll take it easy on the guy. I do have to applaud him and his company for being the first big corporation (that I know of anyway) to take a serious stab at online marketing. And if this is where big business is going, we should all be happy! And here’s why:
- Online marketing means them giving us all sorts of FREE stuff to get our attention.
- The internet is controlled by those who use it (more or less). So if corporations doing launches want to use social media they have to be ready to hear what their customers are really saying. And further to that, then do something about it (yaayyyy! We have a voice!)
- For internet users to become captive you gotta put together something pretty darn interesting (read: fun, funny, insightful, or touching). For some great examples of that look up the recent Old Spice campaign, or the “Who is the hero of the world?” video.
If you want to learn anything from this campaign they did, here’s what I recommend you take from it:
- Just do it. Gerry Robert said it best, “Get it down, then get it right.” Kudos to ING Direct for at least trying, I’m sure they learnt a tonne!
- When making a squeeze video follow this basic formula:
- -Tell them who you are
- -What you’ve got
- -Why they need it
- -What to do next
- Then CAPTURE their info and send them some cool goodies (this is called “Stacking the Cool”).
Final, final thought.
Did I miss anything? If you can spot three pros and three cons that I missed, I’ll send you my guide on how to write good copy for online marketing. Comment below!