Project Description

Home Equity campaign starts with data, ends in success.

If you have ever wondered whether targeted marketing is a significant improvement over traditional mass marketing, a home equity campaign conducted by Ephrata National Bank (ENB) in Ephrata, PA offers a definitive answer: YES.

Craig Rodenberger, Vice President and Marketing Director at ENB, traces the current campaign strategy back to a newspaper advertising effort that yielded some interesting results. “Our finance department tracked the new loans,” he recalls, “and we discovered that 85% of the applications were coming from our own customers. We realized there must be a more efficient way to reach them.”

Data takes a leading role.

With an aggressive growth goal and a new home equity product recently rolled out, Rodenberger turned to Marquis’ data resources as a starting point for communications. “We have so much information available through the MCIF,” he says, “and P$ycle and propensity data helped us really narrow our focus.” In addition to identifying customers who were likely to use a home equity product, the additional data sources pinpointed specific expenditures each customer might make. Five categories were developed: home improvement, debt consolidation, lifestyle financing, education financing and refinancing higher-rate home equity debt at other FIs.

The benefits of the new home equity line of credit included an introductory rate of 1.99% and the option to lock in a fixed rate on a new cash advance or a current balance. While these are certainly enticing features, Rodenberger envisioned a “customer nurture” strategy that would combine promotional and informational messages. The campaign ultimately involved direct mail, email, digital communications and social media, leveraging customer input, interaction and information to deliver relevant, personalized messaging.

The strategy takes shape.

The bank’s blog took a central role, with topics based on the five categories posted at different times of the year. The blog post for June, for example, concentrated on lifestyle financing for family vacations, while the Fall post talked about educational expenses. The posts were shared on social media and links were included in emails and postcards, sent to the customer groups most likely to respond to each message. Blog posts were also assembled into a home equity resource library for easy reference.

The email matrix was expanded for maximum impact, with click-through behaviors generating follow-up emails. The first click-through resulted in a promotional offer, and a second response resulted in a personalized email from a branch manager.

Facebook played a dual role, with informational posts supplemented by online polls. The polls would pose a question or ask for customer questions, and a video blog was then developed to provide the answers. The vlog posts were distributed by email and Facebook, adding another dimension to the information-based communications strategy.

The results speak for themselves.

By shifting from expensive mass marketing to a targeted, data-driven approach, the bank spent less while exceeding its goals.  “As of October 31, 2016, we have driven $18.7 million in outstanding balances,” Rodenberger reports. “For all of 2015, we drove outstanding balances of $15.8 million. So, we’ve already surpassed our totals from last year and are on track to bring in about another $3.5 million, while spending approximately $27,000 less than last year. Needless to say, Finance is pretty happy with us.”

Rodenberger has simple advice for other institutions, regardless of size: “If you have an MCIF, use it. The information you need is right there.”