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Monday, July 30, 2007

The heard mentality of financial institutions

You can picture the situation. It is a training course being given by some hot-shot marketer to a bunch of bright eyed and bushy tailed brand managers from a financial services company. The PowerPoint slide is titled “The 3Gs”.

In a hushed voice the marketing guru claims that they are about to see the biggest marketing weeze of 2007. This, he claims, will enable the re-birth of the audience’s mesmerically boring savings and loan accounts.

The slide slowly builds and the two words appear. First the word ‘grey’ then ‘green’.

The guru explains: “All you need to do is to slap ‘50-plus’ or ‘green’ on your existing products”. Why he asks can such an obvious trick work? Slowly the third word appears – Gullible. He sniggers to the audience that the poor old and eco-guilty punters are so dim they will genuinely think there is something special about these products.

Customers, he says, are falling over themselves to buy products with the word green in the product name or that are coloured green. It is the same with making your customers think that being 50-plus confers some right to buy an extra competitive product.

The guru concludes the presentation and moves speedily to the next client and gives exactly the same presentation.

This tale is the only explanation I can think to explain the heard mentality of UK Financial Institutions, 36 of which are offering specialist accounts for the over-50s market. It is slight less for the number providing eco-friendly accounts. As this article explains, in most cases an over-50 can get a better deal buying a product that is available to all ages. Maybe the word ‘gullible’ applies to both the institutions and their target market. Dick Stroud

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