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Confusion Marketing, a CRM Malfunction, or Just Mad?

...or desperate, or trying to send me a message that is too subtle for my limited imagination...?

They're teaching some pretty weird stuff about managing customer relationships in the marketing classes, these days.  The direct mail I've had from my bank these last 4 months are as follows:

  • an invitation to their premier banking service, which costs shedloads of money and delivers 'benefits' that are no use to me
  • a loan offer of over £25k at 19.9%, which I found an insulting rate to offer.  Why are they offering such a large amount to someone who they view at that high a level of risk?
  • an offer to my wife to deposit money with them at the 'exceptionally good' rate of 0.5% (2 weeks after the above mailing, which made this offer particulary insulting.  How stupid do they think we are?).  Exceptionally good for them, not us.
  • another loan offer, this time at  at 9.9% (I never knew someone's credit rating could improve so quickly!), still higher than the rate they offered me 8 months ago, when Base Rates were higher.
  • an invitation, as a 'highly valued customer' to take out a credit card with them, despite the fact that I already have one
  • a second invitation to their premier banking service which (yes, you've guessed it) delivers shedloads of 'benefits' that are no use to me
  • a balance transfer mailing related to the credit card that they seem to have forgotten I have when offering me another (as above).  This offers me BTs at 0% for 6 months - weird when a couple of months ago they wanted to lend to me at 19.9%...

The definition of 'Confusion Marketing' is "the practice of deliberately sending confusing marketing material in order to hinder consumers' comparisons with other similar offers".  Although the range of offers I've been swamped with has left me somewhat confused as to how they value my relationship (either high risk, low risk, not worth taking my deposits, or a premium customer), their actions fail the 'comparison with similar offers' (which I assume to be offers from the competition) test, so it's not that.

Maybe their CRM systm has malfunctioned.  What are they doing bombarding me with so many offers, and with such a conflicting range of messages about how they value my custom?  I remember back in the early-mid 90's that, in my old bank, we were using a CRM system far more effectively than this, so surely things have improved still further in this department, in terms of analytical power, and processing capability.  So let's not blame the kit.

That leaves mad, or desperate.  Take your pick.  I know I shall (or will it be a shovel?).  Still, there's no point in moving the bank account, as most of the other banks are the same, if reports from friends are anything to go by.

Anyhow, something good may come from this.  I'm saving up the mailshots.  At the rate they're going, I'll be able to wallpaper with them my dining room in a few months...recycling at its best!


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