If you’re selling direct mail services, you probably know that financial services companies rely heavily on this format to attract new clients. But, did you know that banks and credit card companies follow a seasonal pattern as they release their mailings? Email is also playing a bigger role in the industry according to data compiled Mintel Comperemedia.
Analysts report that bank marketers have been following a cyclical pattern in ad campaigns over the past several years. At the start of each calendar year, banks tend to mail out more checking and savings offers to consumers in the hopes of acquiring new customers. The strategy makes sense as many consumers tend to review their financial situation at the start of each calendar year. The overall direct mail volume at the start of 2014 jumped 18%. Nearly 60% of the activity was related to checking account offers, about 35% to savings offers, and a much smaller number went to promotions for CDs and money market accounts.
However, banks use a slightly different tactic for email. Last year, 53% of Q1 emails promoted savings accounts. That number climbed in the second quarter to 57% and to 61% in the third quarter. By the fourth quarter, the email focus shifted to checking account promotions, perhaps because banks realize consumers are not in a savings state of mind during the busy holiday season. In 2013, 61% of Q4 bank emails promoted checking accounts. In another interesting twist, 10% of 2013 Q2 email promotions were pitching debit cards, perhaps in an attempt to encourage consumers to spend their freshly-received tax return funds. Analysts note that the direct mail and email offers typically include cash incentives to induce consumers to switch bank providers.
While the first quarter may be the most active period for new account promotions, banks send out the most general promotions during the third quarter. Banks are actively encouraging existing customers to use mobile services like remote check deposit and 24-hour account access. These features can be especially important to customers as they prepare for the busy holiday shopping season.
This report focused on large banks but you might want to share these results with your local financial services clients. Ad campaigns matched to season could help them compete with larger institutions.