There is a relatively recent development at some gas stations in the US. At the self- service gas pump, once the flow of gas into your car begins, a sound box on the gas pump begins to shout at you. Hey there, don't you want to come in the store and buy a 72 ounce soft drink and a burger? Get three full weeks of calories for only $1.99! There is a mute button on the box, but it doesn't function of course. In fact, the button is most-often utterly physically destroyed, as people have used tire irons or whatever tool is available in their car to make the thing shut up. The box certainly is durable though, because it keeps on talking until you drive away.
Maybe it is time for banks to install something like this at their drive up windows or to keep employees like the one above awake at their desks. It could be an easy way to increase branch traffic. Imagine a box shouting, "Come in and take out a loan today" or "Don't you need a safe deposit box to protect your valuables." Seems to us that people would flock into the bank, if only to shout at you and that offers a cross sell opportunity! Granted, it might not be the best marketing approach if it prompts people to bring in sharp objects, but it got us thinking. So much so, in fact, that we went online to find the source of this marketing and look at the logic is behind this concept.
All the promotional information from the marketing firms for gas pump advertising refers to having a "captive audience" for 3 to 5 minutes. Well maybe it isn't so crazy to try and advantage of the amount of time you interact with customers. Couldn't bankers apply some of the same logic? After all, there are some similarities. For instance, the customer has already decided to do business with the gas station because they have pulled up to the pump and the same holds true for bank customers. For those who come into the bank, captive time is spent perhaps at the teller window or with another customer service representative. Your staff probably knows how to make people happy and comfortable, so why not try to sell them something (albeit without a shouting box)?
For those who do the majority of their banking online, getting a message of other products across is fairly obvious. Make sure your web site is user-friendly, easy to navigate, communicates your brand, what you do, what you want to promote and where you do business. We have discussed this quite a bit in this publication and all are effective for banks.
For a customer just using your ATM machine, you also have an opportunity to market. Use the attention of that customer and don't overlook that opportunity. Most banks have at least some promotional material as a customer logs in to the ATM, if nothing else than thanking them for doing business with the bank. To generate the most opportunity, make sure the message is positive. Thanking customers, letting them know you serve small business owners and individuals in the community and that you are a community bank so you do things more personally are all good ideas. Be sure to ask customers to tell you how your bank can serve them better and encourage them to come into the branch to see the difference a good banking experience can be.
Unfortunately for the box approach at the gas station, most people don't appreciate it when someone or some thing shouts at them. That doesn't mean banks can afford to let opportunities go by to catch customer attention. After careful thought and artful implementation, your bank can communicate your message and brand in a way that is beneficial to customers and the bank alike. You also can do it without shouting.