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The Larger Number

Frankly, I feel the credit union’s marketing team is missing a golden opportunity by stressing the smaller number while ignoring the power of the larger number.

Most people see 1% as a very small number:

  • No one gets excited about earning 1% on a one-year CD.
  • A 1%-off sale at your local store is laughable.
  • Gas prices dropping 1% is meaningless to most drivers.
  • Even a 1% drop in the state sales tax from 7.75% to 6.75% would be greeted with a yawn by most residents in California.
  • 1% is a rounding error.

On the other hand, $3.8 million dollars is a huge number that immediately grabs your attention.

Yet, it is being all but ignored by the credit union’s marketing team.

By simply adding the $3.8 million dollar figure along with a sentence or two of copy, the credit union’s current marketing offer would be much stronger.

What got me started on this topic was the following statement insert in my August checking account statement.  It’s promoting the credit union’s Platinum Rewards Visa credit card.  Here’s the front side of the insert.

August 2012 Checking Account Statement Insert

August 2012 Checking Account Statement Insert

Had I been involved in this project, I would have insisted that the choice of perks be shown in big, bold copy on the front.

Now let’s take a look at the back of the statement insert.

Copy Side of August 2012 Checking Account Statement Insert

Copy Side of August 2012 Checking Account Statement Insert

You really have to look closely to determine your choices – a 1% cash rebate or a lower interest rate.  The copywriter did an excellent job of burying the offer in the body copy.

While I’ve been a Golden1 checking and savings customer for about 11 years, my credit card is with USAA.  This insert does nothing to convince me that I should consider moving my card relationship.

I look at the 1% cash rebate amount and yawn.  It just doesn’t seem that attractive.  One percent of a $100 purchase is a measly $1.00.

What could the marketing folks at Golden1 do to get my attention and cause me to rethink my position on switching banks?

Actually, there is something they could easily do.

The credit union pays its rewards card customers their annual cash back rebate by the end of January every year.

Come February or early March, the credit union marketing folks place the following ad several times in the local newspaper.  And, as I recall, they throw in some radio spots.

Take a look at the ad dated March 30, 2011 for the calendar year of 2010.

March 30, 2011 space ad in The Sacramento Bee

March 30, 2011 space ad in The Sacramento Bee

Note the giant headline and subhead – for calendar year 2010 the credit union’s rewards card customers earned a whopping $3.75 million in cash rebates.  This number grew to $3.8 million for 2011.

Now that’s a number that grabs my attention.  Remember, Golden1 customers are restricted to California.  So that’s a lot of rebate spread among a relatively small group of customers.

An offer of a 1% cash rebate only means something to me when accompanied by the mind-boggling figure of $3.8 million.

I immediately think what my share of $3.8 million would be if my wife and I had a joint rewards Visa card with Golden1.

To me, the $3.8 million figure anchors the 1% cash rebate.

It seems to me that every time the marketing folks at Golden1 want to promote its Platinum Rewards Visa credit card, they should include the prior year’s payout in really big, bold copy – perhaps in a starburst or other graphic element.

Standing alone, a 1% cash rebate seems small potatoes.  But, accompanied by a big, bold figure of $3.8 million dollars immediately tells consumers that some serious money is being earned by these rewards card customers.

It’s a quick addition to any statement insert, a newspaper ad, a radio spot, and the online banner ad on the credit union’s homepage.

I’ve often wondered if anyone working at Golden1 reads these blogs.  Needless to say, I’ll be looking for this addition in the months ahead.

Tags1% cash rebateCaliforniachecking account statementcopywriterCredit Cardcredit unioncredit union marketing teamgas prices droppingGolden1 checkinggraphic elementlower interest rateone-year CDPlatinum Rewards Visa credit cardsales taxstarburstswitching banksUSAA