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Keeping the Royal Mail in Business

The marketing people at my bank have really been busy recently, and certainly doing their bit to keep the Royal Mail going.

Over the course of one week, we received five – yes 5 – mailshots offering us a range of their wonderful value-for-money savings accounts.  We received two on one day, a further one a couple of days later, and then two more before the full calendar week was up.  They were all different letters too, offering different products, but signed by the same person, so must have been campaigns from roughly the same marketing area.

What kind of selection processes do these people employ?  Don’t they mark an account when it has been selected for one mailing, to prevent it being selected again for a period, to prevent bombarding the customer and therefore hacking them off?  When I was a credit card marketer, we used to be very careful about how often we approached customers, and we employed a programme that made sense over many months; we wouldn’t have approached them regarding the same type of product (savings, cards, loan, insurance, etc.) within 3 months of each other, never mind 5 times in a week.  This ‘programme’, such as it is, seems like a cross between shot-blasting and desperation.  Maybe they're trying to mailshot me into submission, but I'm made of sterner stuff than that (I hope!)...

The other thing that struck me about this series of mailshots was the fact that, in none of the letters, nor the inserts that accompanied them, did the bank actually mention the rates I would get for depositing money with them.  All we were told was that we would be getting ‘market-busting’ rates which, when I went searching on their internet site, turned out to be a load of bollocks.  I didn’t think they were allowed to avoid including their rates (maybe it’s just on loans they have to tell us); in any event, I imagine that the fact they didn't come clean with regard to their rates, on the letters, has meant that their response rate has been pitifully small.  If marketers think being evasive about what is the core of their product (the price) is a good marketing strategy, maybe they ought to think again.  Of course, they also laid it on thick about how safe they were, forgetting to mention that most institutions in the UK these days are covered by the deposit protection scheme…

By the way, it’s a couple of months since, but the last mailer I got trying to sell me a loan offered me a rate of 8.8%, which compared interestingly with the 19.9 and 21.9% I got offered a few months earlier.  Funny, I thought rates were supposed to be linked to risk.  I don’t know what I’ve done recently to warrant such better terms, but I must have been a very good boy indeed to cure my credit rating so dramatically.

And then the banks wonder why they are in such a mess.  Bring back the proper lending managers and kick out the marketers, I say…

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