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A Very Unusual Tell-A-Friend Campaign

Nobody sells better than a satisfied customer who isn’t shy and loves to talk.

Marketing folks refer to these people as “brand advocates.”

As a reminder, a brand advocate is a customer who actively promotes your brand or product without being paid to do so.  These customers do this because of their ongoing positive experience with your brand.

A few banks leverage this grass-roots effort by providing customers with handy little sales tools.

A few days ago my spouse brought home a neat little item being used by a local bank to facilitate this “word of mouth” effort.  It was given to her by one of her co-workers who had just returned from visiting her branch during the lunch hour.

The minute she walked through the front door last Thursday, my spouse proudly announced she had a surprise for a future blog.  She knew I would be excited given how often we discuss banking blogging topics on our early morning walks before work.

She was correct – I was giddy about this particular sales tool.  It is most unusual.

So who’s the bank behind this item?

Here’s a hint:  This bank brags about being “The World’s Greatest Bank.”

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, this bank has branches in Northern California, including several in the greater Sacramento area.

Here’s a front view of the bank’s current customer handout.  As you can see by reading the copy, it’s from the innovative folks at Umpqua Bank.

When it comes to retail banking, senior management at Umpqua Bank marches to a much different drummer.  In fact, very little of what they do is similar to what other banks and credit unions do.  Given my long experience with consumer bank marketing, I would say they take a radical approach to banking…and I mean this in a very positive way.

The six-panel sales tool comes with a removable sleeve.

Note the copy on the back side of the sleeve.  Customers are asked to “remove this handy little wrapper” before handing it out to friends, co-workers, and family members.  Fortunately for me, my spouse’s co-worker did not remove the sleeve.

Here’s the front cover of the six-panel sales tool.

No need to open it to discover what’s inside.  Copy on the front tells us we are being treated to 80% chocolate – “a sweet little incentive” to consider switching banks.  This bit of teaser copy ensures 100% of the recipients will open this item.  I guarantee my spouse did as you’ll discover a bit later.

Opening the front cover reveals two panels – the left-most panel of the inside spread and the back of one of the outside panels.

The headline on the left panel immediately acknowledges what most consumers are thinking when it comes to switching banks.  The copy on both panels aims to soften resistance to consider exploring what may turn out to be a much better place to bank.  Click on the image for easier reading

Now for the payoff – the middle inside panel.

Most consumers will see three chocolate coins wrapped in silver and green foil.  Unfortunately, my spouse is a chocoholic and simply couldn’t resist eating two before bringing this home.  She apologized while explaining that one should be sufficient to make the point.  I disagreed but then remembered that you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Again, the brief bit of copy addresses the issue that considering changing banks is difficult.

Next is the right inside panel.

As you can see, it presents what appears to be a three-step process for moving your checking account to Umpqua Bank.  But read carefully and you’ll discover it’s really a two-step process.

There you have it – what I consider to be another innovative marketing strategy from the Umpqua marketing team and its agency.

Most of you readers are probably aware that Umpqua Bank is an industry leader in branch design – having tested and implemented a variety of neighborhood branches over the past 12+ years.

And as you’ll discover if you’ve never taken a tour of the bank’s website here, everything about this bank is different – even the names used for its checking accounts.

They even have the audacity to call themselves “The World’s Greatest Bank.”

They may be right!

Tags80% chocolateBank Marketingblogging topicsBrandbrand advocateschocoholicco-workersfamily membersfriendsindustry leader in branch designinnovative marketing strategyMarketingNorthern CaliforniaPortland OregonSacramento areasales toolsatisfied customerswitching banksThe World's Greatest BankUmpqua Bankword-of-mouth