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As Resources Tighten, Financial Institutions Seek New Marketing Efficiencies

Online shopping solutions like WebSmart Marketing™ streamline
the process


Marketing managers these days are being asked to do more with less. Limited resources, coupled with flat or reduced marketing budgets, have made it difficult to develop the kind of customized messaging required to meet a financial institution’s marketing goals.

“Everyone is knocking on the marketing department’s door, asking for help in driving sales,” says Sue Schabert, director of program management for Harland Clarke Marketing Services. “But marketing managers are strapped and need a more efficient way to get things done.”

One of their main frustrations, according to Schabert, is not being able to react to market conditions in a speedy manner. The production process for creating a sales or marketing piece can take weeks, much of it due to the back-and-forth involved with drafting copy, making edits and obtaining approvals. “This can be a stumbling block if you need to mail a highly time-sensitive item,” she explains.

When time is critical, it is important to be able to execute a marketing strategy efficiently and effectively. And there is always a concern about preserving the integrity of the brand. For example, there may be multiple versions of marketing materials, not all of which are current or even appropriate for a particular account holder demographic. Without a standardized vehicle to ensure a consistent message is communicated, it is easy for someone to mistakenly use the wrong version.

An emerging and popular technology known as “marketing automation” is proving that the solution for financial institutions is to essentially move their entire direct mail production process online.

Once the creative templates are in place, the typically laborious production process — which, in the past, might have taken weeks of e-mails, faxes, printer’s proofs and overnight deliveries — is drastically shortened and simplified. For a smaller institution, the marketing director can create ready-to-print mailings from turnkey templates. A larger bank or credit union might choose instead to create customized templates and store them in a centralized online library, which is then made available to branch managers and others across the organization who are responsible for driving sales.

“You can pull together a campaign in as little as 30 minutes and have it in the mail within five days,” says Schabert.

As Easy as Online Shopping
Not surprisingly, marketing automation technology is becoming increasingly popular. According to Winterberry Group LLC, more than 82 percent of developers say customer demand for this sort of technology has increased during the past year. And Teradata reports that marketing automation technology is one of the fastest-growing customer relationship management areas, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 16 percent from 2006 through 2010.

It is easy, then, to understand the appeal of a web-based marketing solution that enables marketers to quickly and efficiently create, manage and execute campaigns online in a matter of minutes. (See below, “WebSmart Marketing™: What Is It?”)

If you have ever shopped online for invitations or personalized gifts, you already understand how easy and intuitive this sort of web-based technology is. Let’s say you want to do a quick brochure mailing on a new limited-time-only offer for an auto loan. You have the ability to browse available templates for any type of mailing you want to do. You simply choose a template and personalize it with your message, using text and images from your financial institution’s online library. An online “shopping cart” keeps track of your pending mailing, and anyone within your bank or credit union who needs to approve the proof can do so online as well. Then, you purchase or upload your mailing list and proceed to check-out. Your printed brochure will be in the mail within a few days.

“It’s a highly flexible solution that puts you in the driver’s seat,” says Schabert. “It enables you to quickly reach the right person with the right message at the right time.”

Today more than ever, financial organizations must be agile enough to react to changing market conditions. “It’s not about huge budgets. It’s about efficiencies, added value and, most importantly, speed to market,” says Schabert. “As the saying goes, timing is everything.

For more information on WebSmart Marketing, contact your Harland Clarke account executive or visit www.harlandclarke.com/websmart.

WEBSMART MARKETING™:
What Is It? Three Facts You Need to Know

The WebSmart Marketing solution from Harland Clarke Marketing Services provides:

1 Creative campaign development
Your project is managed online, eliminating endless printing and faxing of proofs. E-mail notifications keep you on schedule, and the entire process is archived electronically.

2 Digital asset management
All collateral, text, images and video are stored online in a centralized library, making it easy to find what you need and virtually eliminating the chance of using outdated materials and messages. This ensures the consistency of your message and the integrity of
your brand.

3 Execution on demand
Fast and flexible, WebSmart Marketing enables you to easily browse templates, personalize messages, save work in progress, upload mailing lists, view proofs and submit orders. Printed materials are in the mail within days instead of weeks.

Banks and credit unions with smaller marketing budgets can use WebSmart Marketing as a turnkey program, with standardized templates for postcards, brochures, coupons, self-sealers, inserts and letters. Larger institutions, or those with more complicated marketing needs, can use the tailored program, which includes design consultation for highly customized creative materials that reflect your brand.

Use WebSmart Marketing for offers on:
• Auto loans
• Home equity loans
• Deposit accounts, money market accounts, CDs
• General bank communication (for example, branch openings or closings, special events)