Friday, August 15, 2008

The Little Things

What makes a successful socially driven marketing campaign? Is it the fact that you have a blog, a spokester, or videos on YouTube?


Anybody can do that, all it takes is a suitable Wordpress theme, a camera, and somebody to stand in front of it. What makes a successful campaign is what’s contained within the structure that a blog, YouTube, and the myriad other web tools that exist offer to the campaign.


These things are merely a container, and if you aren’t paying attention to what’s inside the container your going to get a mouthful of something that doesn’t quite taste like lemonade.

Its all about the little things, the things that create the tone, the atmosphere, and the voice you are aiming for.

As an example, take a look at Resource 1 Credit Union’s MyLifeMyMoney minisite. There’s been lots of talk about how it’s a blatant rip-off of Currency Marketing’s Young and Free product (recently launched by Resource 1’s neighbor TDECU). First let me say kudos to R1 for doing something most credit unions would be terrified of. Copycatting aside, it is still a gutsy move for any credit union.

On the site, the first thing that caught my eye was a bright green box on an otherwise gray site. In this box is a welcome message. See if you can spot what is wrong with this message:

Welcome to the MyLifeMyMoney website! MyLifeMyMoney is the perfect package of financial tools and products for adults ages 18-34, aka Generation Y. Surf around, check it out, and see why MyLifeMyMoney is the perfect way to bank for your generation.

The problem with this message isn’t grammar, length, or even the odd age range. The problem is the word “your”.

This campaign is an effort to connect with the Gen-Y crowd. One of the important things to keep in mind when dealing with Gen-Y is that they look for something that is “Theirs” or “ours”, something that isn’t handed down from a gray-haired banker trying to get their cash.

The words “your generation” say to me “hey we’re old, but we made this thing hoping you young whipper-snappers will open an account”. To really engage a Gen-Y demographic with a campaign like this it needs to feel like “we made this for us, this is our site, our blog, our product.”

Even if it happens subconsciously, this small piece of wording can undermine the entire effort, put potential Gen-Yers off, and portray an image contrary to what you're going for.

Its all about the small stuff, the tiny details, the words contained within the structure of a “web 2.0” marketing campaign.

So, to all you credit unions looking to start a Y&F style campaign, just because it’s yellow, doesn’t mean its lemonade.

P.S. Resource one, if you’re reading this, please lose the autoplaying video that pops up every time I visit the MLMM site. It’s not cool, its not helpful, its annoying. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Oh Andy... You kids get worked up over the darndest things.

Andy said...

oh, I know, it seems silly in a way, but that quote is the first thing that caught my eye. The thing that made me say "meh" the most.

Especially when combined with unsigned blog posts, stock photos, and a pretty uncompelling set of services it really has this faceless corporate feeling. The welcome message was the final nail in the coffin for me.

Anonymous said...

Andy - you are SO right. Many folks without your ultra-sharp keen eye and analytical mind won't recognize WHAT exactly about it doesn't feel real or genuine.... but you hit the nail on the head. It's a total giveaway that the CU has an us-versus-them mentality.

@Jeffry, how you can imply that this detail is not important? Words are just as important as strategy, visuals, and execution in any campaign.

Anonymous said...

LMAO you guys. It was a joke. You know, "you kids" bitching about us old farts using an age-revealing term like "your generation."

(Wonders to self: Maybe I should have put "you kids" in quotes in the OP.)

Morriss, you really think I'm an idiot don't you? ;)

JOKING...Just joking.

I'm off to play golf.

Andy, it was a great post. Really.

Andy said...

Thanks for the comment. The whole campaign has that feeling, which is too bad. They have the right idea but their execution is a bit off. Just watch a few of the youtube video's on the site and you'll get a real sense of how "off" the campaign is.

One of them is 2 older guys (pres. and marketing dude) talking about the program and basically trying to say that they understand everything a young person might need and how "tech-savvy" they are.

They come off like the uncle who still tries to sound like he knows what he's talking about when you show him your new laptop.

sorry, rant over.


Haha, I thought that might be how you meant it. I think my sarcasm-detector might be broken :).

Though I'm glad you said it in a way that made me think more about what I'm saying. Thats exactly how a lot of people think, "thats nothing, they wont even notice, why are you worried about that?" and I think that provokes some more useful conversation than "right on, totally correct!"

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeffry, no I absolutely do not think you are an idiot. I have a great deal of respect for you, what you do, and your blog. I thought that you might have meant your message sarcastically, but in re-reading it, I couldn't detect it. My bad for not picking up on it!

Ron Shevlin said...

Interesting -- I just clicked over to the R1 site, and it now says "MyLifeMyMoney is the perfect way for us to bank"

They're listening to you, Andy!

Andy said...

wow, thats too cool. Kudo's to R1 for at least keeping tabs on the blogosphere, now all we need is for them to jump into the conversation :).

Also, Jeffry, your blog rocks. You have mad skills and I really respect and enjoy your view on financial branding.

Jeffry Pilcher said...

Thanks! :)

Tony Mannor said...

Andy, you rocked my socks off this morning.

You have pointed out one of the single yet most obstructive hurdles in credit union marketing.

The folks who try to lure "kids" into the branch with hard candy and promises of fun.

It makes my skin crawl.

You can't be cool and contrived at the same time. It stinks, and they can smell it.

By the way, I think equating crappy youth marketing to pedofiles in white vans with black windows is going to be the bulk of my next post. I like the visuals (old, skeevy bankers leaning out of a "child abduction van" enticing teenagers in with hard candy and missing puppy posters). LOL!

Andy said...

Wow, I think that might be my first ever socks rocking! Thanks Tony.

Thats a pretty creepy, yet accurate, description.

"Hey there I lost my dog, hop in my van and help me find him."

...10 minutes later in a dark alley.

"hey mister when are we going to look for your dog?"

"There never was a dog. Here, sign this. You're now the banks newest customer. Here's your credit card, its like free money, don't mind the fine print."

James said...

Oh and I just noticed your PS.

Funny that.

I thought the one redeeming feature of that website was the hot american girl (I'm from Australia) that kept popping up on my screen...

Andy said...

That mas my initial response too...but then it kept popping up and got a bit obnoxious. Not a bad thing in theory, but in practice it has to be done right to be effective and not interruptive.

ronald said...

Now they have identified their blogger, some dude by the name of "Dylan". He's actually pretty good and seems like he's got a funny head on his shoulders. Kind of feel bad for him if he's lumped in with these other Resource One Credit Union guys who are obviously not getting how to properly target younger segments. Probably some poor dude who was told to post pictures of himself online and claim he was writing them....or else!

james w said...

I still think the one redeeming feature of MLMM is the hot american girl :D... best of luck to them. Maybe they have a killer offline campaign?