I was reading one of our local business magazines recently. I usually flip around rather than read from front to back. Because of my random style of reading, I found myself perusing the back of the magazine where they had small display ads for companies grouped by industry. Actually, they call it a “Resource Directory”.
Glancing through the banking section, one ad caught my eye. I looked at it and kept reading. Then I went back just to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. Sure enough, I saw something worth looking at. Of the nine bank ads in this section, one stood out as memorable. One caught my attention so much that, if I needed a new business banking relationship, this is where I would probably start.
Here’s what their ad said:
“Imagine a bank that actually helps you get what you want. Instead of red tape, loan committees and canned lending formulas, work with a decision-maker who can back you up from start to finish.”
(To give credit where it’s due, this as was from Crown Bank.)
Every other bank ad in that section started with (and focused on) the bank. They were all about who they are and when they were founded. They talked about their mission and goals, their philosophy, what services they offer and how committed they are. Blah, blah, blah!
In other words, it’s all about them. These ads offer no evidence that they have thought about me, their potential new customer. They bore me to tears because they are just like 99.9% of every other ad we see. They give me no reason to think they have even considered my needs. There is nothing compelling about them.
There are two problems with the eight boring ads I saw:
1. They told me nothing I didn’t already know or expect.
As a business person, I know banks have histories. I know they have certain services. I assume they have a mission and goals and a philosophy. I understand they are committed and they build relationships. I would expect them to be responsive. So, telling me these things in your ad does nothing but compel me to ignore it (and you).
2. They are all about the bank, not the customer.
When the subject of your ad is your bank and a bunch of facts and claims about it, you’re showing me your focus is on the bank. When you tell me nothing new or unexpected, you show me you have not taken the time to focus on what’s important to me. You have offered no evidence that you understand or care about what I really want.
People (read: customers) do not care about a bank’s history. They don’t care about your claims of being responsive, flexible and creative. They don’t care that you have a mission or goals or a philosophy. We don’t believe it when companies brag about themselves. Stop bragging. Better to show it. Better to do things that demonstrate your values and your wonderful services.