Go Where the Money Is (Part One)
Recent Legislation Creates New Business Opportunities


  • The Financial Services Modernization Act will increase the need for financial services companies to inspire trust in and educate consumers and to establish striking images as they consolidate and introduce new lines of business and new products.
  • Radio is perfectly positioned to help institutions meet these needs efficiently and effectively.
  • Educating yourself in order to better meet your prospects’ needs is the surest way to close business in this complicated category.
  • This first of two parts deals with the likely effects of the Act; part two will outline some steps you can take to help your station reap a bigger share of the resulting business.

Note: This article is presented by President/CEO Sheila Kirby and Research Director Debbie Falb, both of NTR consulting firm Morrison and Abraham, Inc. For more information, please call 781-986-2100.

Part 1: Leaving the Past Behind
Listen carefully. Hear it? Yup. That’s the sound of Franklin Delano Roosevelt turning over in his grave.

On November 12, 1999, President Clinton signed the Financial Services Modernization Act. The new legislation removes Depression-era barriers and allows banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to merge and sell each other’s products. As a result, we soon should see major changes in this category that will make new demands on marketers and create lucrative opportunities for savvy Radio sellers.

The Act will have three major effects on the financial services industry:

  • Broadening consolidation activity;
  • Enabling financial services firms to introduce new lines of business and new products; and
  • Allowing consumers to choose one provider to meet all their banking, investment, and insurance needs.

These changes will help financial services institutions to meet three goals:

  • Creating "universal banks" where consumers can shop for all the financial products they need under one corporate roof;
  • Improving efficiency by selling more goods through existing channels and getting more bang for the bucks they pay in and
  • Expanding customer bases, improving the profitability of existing customer relationships, and otherwise "deepening share of wallet" by using increased access to data to build highly targeted cross-selling efforts.

Banks, brokerages and insurance companies face three tough challenges in meeting these goals:

  • The increasing remoteness of growing institutions alienates clients.
  • The complexity of their products and services makes it difficult to communicate changes to customers effectively.
  • The number and variety of financial services players with essentially the same marketing needs will likely saturate the airwaves with essentially the same marketing messages.

Thus, in order to overcome these challenges, meet their goals and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the new law, financial services firms have three basic needs:

  • To build trust in consumers,
  • To educate consumers, and
  • To establish striking images.

How Radio Can Help
The financial services industry needs Radio, because only Radio is positioned to meet these three needs directly and efficiently.

Radio builds trust. "People wake up with us. They to turn to us when its snowing. We lull them to sleep at night," says Sheila Kirby, president and CEO of Morrison and Abraham, Inc. "We’ve spent years providing them with products and services they need." Financial services companies can build upon the legitimate relationship that Radio stations already have with their customers – in effect, to rent some of the share of mind that Radio owns – in order to assure people that they are friendly sheep despite the Big Bad Wolf’s clothing.

Radio also provides services that can bring financial services behemoths into customers’ backyards. Website links, remotes and other events can be instrumental in localizing huge institutions, transforming the faceless insurance agent into a real human being, and turning a bank into a breathing entity, making them all more approachable. Kirby notes that when consumers can turn to a single human being to fulfill their every financial need, "bigger means smaller, but only if that guy at the bank gets to know his customers really well." Radio is perfectly poised to provide the trust and accessibility that he needs to do exactly that.

Radio is the most efficient way to communicate complex messages. What could be more important to people than securing their futures? And what could be more dizzying than the array of financial products available to help consumers do that? In order for the financial services industry to educate the public, it must repeat its messages often and in such a way that people will be moved by them. Once again, Radio meets the need: "Why is every dot-com advertiser seemingly using Radio?" Kirby asks. "Because it is a repetitive, invasive medium that gets people to listen, to learn, and to act."

Radio-centered NTR programs spotlight specific benefits offered by financial services companies, separating them from the crowd. Programs built around financial seminars, on-air features, 60-second vignettes or weekend programming can focus customers on the value of the products and services the advertiser sells. In the long run, this will be far more effective than inundating consumers with indistinguishable brand images.

Passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act provides the perfect opportunity to marry what Radio does best with the needs of one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy (see Radio Sales Today, November 11, 1999 for more details). In Part Two of this article (scheduled for next Thursday’s issue), you will learn the steps you can take to increase your station’s share of the potential profits soon to flow from the financial industry’s coffers.

The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
American Banker
PR Newswire