Banks won’t have any young customers in 10 years unless they transform their marketing: Mediacom

Financial institutions risk completely losing their hold on the youth market as their marketing efforts fail to keep pace with evolving market trends, Mediacom’s global ECD and head of Mediacom Beyond Advertising, Gemma Hunter, has warned.

The source of the problem, she said, is poor advice being dished out by partners and agencies, as well as the bureaucratic layers within banks.

Hunter (second from right) says some banks are getting bad advice

“Why aren’t they doing enough? Looking at it from agency world, strategically outside, the processes and systems inside big banks seem to be large and slow,” she said at today’s Mumbrella Finance Marketing Summit. “Change isn’t happening fast enough because there are so many layers to go through to get to change. That’s a major barrier.

“I think also probably there is some bad advice being given by partners, agencies, and whoever is being listened to.”

In particular, she cited Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites initiative, and Westpac-owned St George Bank’s Happy Dragon Club, as examples of outdated marketing initiatives which are falling behind.

“Over the last few days I spent a bit of time Googling the Dollarmites and Happy Dragon Club to see what was going on and nearly fell off my chair with horror in that the Happy Dragon Club, if you Google it – if anyone’s here from this institution by the way, you need a new SEO agency really desperately, because what comes up is three PDFs and what comes up in those PDFs is a game that you can do with your young kids, which is about getting them not to buy chocolate or chips in order to save up enough money over six weeks for an MP3 player,” she said.

“I mean there are so many things wrong with that for fuck’s sake:

“a) Are the kids going out and buying chips and chocolate? No.

“b) They’re not using bloody MP3 players anymore. They’re on YouTube.

“And it’s a PDF that you print, I mean good God.”

The Happy Dragon Club newsletter from 2008 has excellent SEO

Dollarmites advertising, she said, falls down because it relies too much on homogenous images of non-diverse children.

“[With Dollarmites], there is some content, there are some films on YouTube and that’s brilliant, but inside those films…. I was just really disappointed because there were four white kids with dark hair that were all the same height. …..seriously.

“That’s not the world we live in. That’s not the world the kids live in. They’re going to school, they’re interacting, they’re online, they’re seeing differences, so what you’re giving them needs to appeal to what they’re interested in. If you set up a bank inside Minecraft and that bank was about exchanging acts of kindness for credits that you could get in the game, you’d probably get more engagement with your audience.”

The world has fundamentally changed, she said, and marketing needs to wake up and reflect that.

“The world has fundamentally changed. Kids’ and young people’s lives and the way they interact with the world are so completely different from ours that if this industry doesn’t move at pace and considerably differently, I don’t think big banks will have any customers left in 10 years,” she said.

“You absolutely cannot market and behave the same way with the new world as the old world. So you need two totally different strategies and probably two different sets of agencies and partners to work with.

“If you want to talk to that youth audience, you’ve got to be fast, nimble, brave, and prepared to make mistakes, and realise that your competitive set isn’t any longer the big banks. It’s… ZipPay, it’s After Pay, it’s Paypal. All of these emerging bands that are nimble, quick, brave, and prepared to crash a few times.

“So unless you can actually move your organisation to behave in that way, with a set of people who are also prepared to kind of trial and error some stuff with you, you’re kind of pretty doomed.”


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