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Swatek Joe 2013-11

Sometimes, Marketing Seems Like Child’s Play

What can credit union and bank marketers learn from a toy company? How to turn an unexpected event into a marketing advantage.

A few weeks ago, a Mitt Romney senior campaign aide made a comment that was picked up by the national media. Eric Fehrnstrom said, “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You kind of shake it up and restart it all over again.”

Opponents and political wits jumped on the statement and it made news across the country.

Instead of ignoring the comment or acting offended, Ohio Arts, maker of the classic toy, used its unexpected national spotlight appearance as a marketing advantage. The company rushed into production a new version of the toy based on the political comment. It also released print ads that build on the political theme.


The toymaker’s 15 minutes of newfound fame continues to be extended as politicians reuse the Etch A Sketch reference in their political rhetoric.

The markets where your branches are located are like the political campaign trail. You’re competing against rivals to win favor with the public. Instead of votes, you want new customers and more opened accounts.

So when something happens in your market to shake up the status quo, what do you do? Ignore it? Or take advantage of the situation like Ohio Arts?

Suppose another financial institution buys one of your competitors? That typically means a higher than usual number of unhappy customers will be looking for a new place to bank. Other disruptions to the marketplace include elimination of popular accounts like free checking or the announcement of new fees.

These and other situations are your marketing advantage. Like Ohio Arts, you should promote a product or service you have that gained the spotlight when your competitor made it a public issue.

These opportunities rarely happen — but happen more often lately. Don’t miss the chance to expand your customer base by sitting by and letting the market tremor fade away. Strike quickly.

You might want to prepare disruptor marketing ideas you can have in a planning stasis that you activate when the situation is right.

There are businesses in all industries that, like the toymaker and its Etch A Sketch, never let a sudden, unexpected marketing opportunity pass by. Your financial institution should have the same attitude and marketing strategy.


There are disruptor marketing programs you can use.

Here are two additional new Etch A Sketch ads. Click on the images to enlarge.



Tagsbankcampaigncredit uniondisruptor marketingfinancial institutionfree checkingmarketersMarketingmarketing opportunitymarketing strategymarketplacenational mediaprint ad