How to build a successful sales funnel without using traditional marketing tools, compete with microfinance organizations in the fight for the client and understand what the target audience really wants. Marina Dutlova, an Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan retail business consultant, an MBA student at Edinburgh Business School, and Alexander Stetsko, an executive director of the Alfa-Bank Kazakhstan retail business, an MBA alumnus of Edinburgh Business School, share their experience.
Banking market realities
Over the past few years, technologies in this sector have
begun to rapidly develop and compete. It became more
difficult for banks to stay afloat during the crisis, as they have to restrain
their own appetites.
During time of such “temporary
backlashes” microfinance organizations (loans) began to enter the market more
aggressively, not being afraid to work with risks. Over time, this allowed loan
providers to safely “eat out” part of the target audience from
banks. There was a clear segmentation: a client with an income above the
average wage takes loans from a bank, a client with a small salary goes to an
At the same time, microfinance organizations began to develop and shape the banking market, accustoming customers to a quick solution – obtaining a two-minute and reliable loan in the cash form. MFOs initially began to play at a speed, then they played at a price, up to the point that the first loans are free. But despite the competition for technology, in the banking market segment there is still a demand for “cash” loans.
To make a unique offer
Somehow we started working with one bank which
is not top of the mind. We had a limited budget for attracting
customers and no chance of a mistake. Our task was to increase sales within a
limited network of bank branches.
We understood that the key to our corporate goal lied through competent marketing. We were able to determine the stage of the market life cycle, the strengths and weaknesses of the product, key players and possible marketing strategies during the “Marketing” course at Edinburgh Business School. Firstly, the bank generated unique messages for potential customers. Secondly, we clearly outlined the target audience: their income, the average check of a painless loan. In turn, the analysis of the target audience portrait helped to determine the loan percentage that the bank can offer potential customers.
Since studies have shown that OOH,
digital, television ads are less and less working in our market segment, we
decided to “hook the client” on a non-standard basis. Instead of mass
TV advertisement buying, we offered to give televisions literally. For
each loan over 30 thousand hrn, taken
by client from our bank, a gift was attached – a TV.
Thus, we have made it clear to the client that, under
equal conditions in the market, “reward” makes our service unique, as well as
our clients – special. Choosing this approach
we increased traffic in all segments of the loan: not
only where the gift was guaranteed, but also in neighboring segments — above 50K and
10-20K hrn loans.
We also made a bet on the first customer experience – and
were not mistaken. The first positive customer experience from receiving a gift
launched a sales funnel, which began to grow at our planned pace.
In addition, we proposed product changes for the customer segment, which was at the junction between the banking sector and the MFO itself. In fact, these were clients whom all other banks had already refused credit and, according to the logic of the market, we should also have refused. But we took the lead and formed a more favorable offer for this category of client base than in various MFOs.
Why not a TV?
It was possible to broadcast TV
advertising. Firstly, it is a very expensive solution. Secondly,
advertising hit across a wide audience throughout the country. And we needed to
attract the target client from specific regions. We could also create inflated
customer expectations, risking not to be able to process
the flow of requests.
When we realized how many customers we needed to attract,
we built a successful sales funnel. And this was another reason why we turned
away from TV advertising – we needed
thousands, not tens of thousands of customers.
No bank has yet decided to repeat our experience. Big
business, applying such a strategy, will make sales more expensive. And for new
players on the market, the model turned out to be non-standard, which nobody
copied yet. Competitors described this campaign in one word –
To win the competition for the attention of the client,
banking marketing today should include: analysis of the target
audience needs, performing creative
offline activities with thoughtful logistics, as well as solving problems of a
specific target group. Banks need to know their audience, form communities from
customers and should be ready to help.