Despite the US financial crisis and dwindling marketing budgets at some financial institutions, the number of retention-related direct-mail offers sent by banks to current customers in Q3 2008 was 42% higher than in Q2, according to estimates from Mintel Comperemedia.
The research found that banks sent approximately 53 million retention-related offers to their customers during Q3, almost twice the number sent in Q3 2007 (29 million). This sharp increase in retention direct mail demonstrates that banks are relying heavily on direct marketing to communicate with and reassure their customers in uncertain economic times, Mintel said.
While major national banks such as Bank of America and Citibank dramatically increased their banking direct mail volume to current customers in Q3 2008, smaller banks also increased their retention marketing. Regional players such as Parish National Bank and Webster Bank both sent more direct mail to current clients during Q3 than they did during Q2.
“Through Mintel Comperemedia’s direct mail tracking panel, we’ve seen national and local banks alike increase their customer communication,” said said Diana Sheehan, Mintel Compremedia’s director of research. “With messages of security, honesty and understanding, banks are using direct mail to assure clients that their money is safe and protected.”
Additional research findings:
- Retention direct mail increased across banking categories in Q3. The most notable rise was in the savings category, where banks sent nearly 300 times more savings direct mail communications to current customers in Q3 than in Q2.
- Checking direct mail volume for client retention saw a significant 90% rise between quarters.
- Banks increased their direct mail offers to non-customers during Q3 2008 as well. Estimated banking acquisition mail volume rose 8% from Q2 2008.
“As global financial markets shook, we saw many banks increase their direct marketing spend in an effort to hold on to the clients they had,” said Sheehan. “Banks view direct mail as an effective channel for customer communication. So, as the market settles and financial institutions work to rebuild trust and profitability, we expect they’ll continue with heightened direct marketing efforts to current clients, at least into early 2009.”