August Trends & Highlights Summary
- Back-to-school season was a popular marketing theme this month. Three firms referenced this theme in 529 promotional images while Discover offered free one-day shipping through Amazon on back-to-school items.
- Mobile continues to be a popular topic among financial services firms. Several firms added Remote Deposit Capture in August while Alliance Bernstein released its first iPad app.
- August Site Revamps: American Funds and TD Bank client sites, Prudential advisor site and The Hartford public site.
Financial Services Firms Help Clients Prepare for Autumn
Last month, as parents counted down the days left until their children returned to school, Hartford Life, Fifth Third and Putnam all posted promotional images for 529 plans referencing back-to-school season. Discover currently offers card holders free one-day shipping when they make purchases with their card on select back-to-school items at Amazon.
As that political storm continued to gather strength, an actual one emerged in the form of Hurricane Isaac. A couple of P&C; Insurance firms – Liberty Mutual and Travelers – reacted by posting extended information on hurricane safety.
We also saw the two major U.S. political parties ramp up their campaigns as we head into election season. Fidelity and UBS each promoted commentaries about how the election might affect clients’ investment strategies. iShares posted a streaming audio commentary addressing myths about markets and elections.
Sporting Events a Popular Choice for Promotions
Football players returned to form in training camp and fans geared up for the NFL season, making it the perfect time for Barclays to update its NFL Extra Points page. Account holders can now earn two points per $1 spent at the NFL shop. Also on the gridiron, American Funds promoted a commentary encouraging clients to “move off the sidelines,” and back into the market.
Football wasn’t the only sport used to help promote the financial services industry. The world united, as it does once every four years for the Summer Olympics, and financial services firms went for the gold with Olympic advertisements. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management introduced a strong Olympic marketing campaign, showcasing four clients who were also former Olympic athletes.
Hot Mobile Trend: Remote Deposit Capture
This summer has seen a renewed interest in remote deposit capture, with ING Direct, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch/Edge all adding or expanding access to their capabilities since May. Bank of America, SunTrust and Vanguard all added their own such tools in August. Additionally, AllianceBernstein unveiled a new iPad app, called AB Connect, which allows users to access the firm’s commentaries.
Revamp and Merger Activity
In the revamp department, American Funds and TD Bank overhauled their respective client sites and Prudential revamped its advisor site, with each firm making major navigation changes. The Hartford revamped its public site with a new homepage, redesigned product and claims pages and new insurance overview pages.
Finally, in August, TradeKing and Zecco announced the closing of their merger. The firms explained that when integration is complete (no timetable given), the new company will operate under the TradeKing Group, Inc. name.