May 2018 Trends & Highlights: Product Updates, Firm Campaigns and Apple Business Chat

by on Jun 12, 2018


Product Updates and Launches – Across multiple industries, 21 firms made changes to their coverage set by either launching new products or updating existing ones. Matching moves made by the Federal Reserve, Ally Bank, Ameriprise, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, KeyBank, Schwab Bank, TD Ameritrade, USAA and Wells Fargo increased rates on certain products. Citicards and American Express modified the initial spend offers for specific credit cards. Bank of America and U.S. Bank restructured account fees. John Hancock promoted changes to its Accumulation IUL product without clearly stating specifics. MassMutual modified existing products, offering shorter fixed interest rate guarantee period durations for its Stable Voyage annuity, plus new pricing and extended conversion period options for its Vantage Term life insurance.

E*TRADE introduced a bank account that requires a $100 minimum deposit and charges a monthly fee, waivable under certain conditions. Merrill Edge announced the launch of five new Impact Portfolios, ranging from conservative to aggressive. Pacific Life added an annuity-specific rider and John Hancock added a term life insurance rider. Lincoln promoted both a new indexed universal life product and its first indexed variable annuity. Chase launched the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card and no longer promotes the Marriott Rewards Premier card. Citizens Bank and Fifth Third introduced new checking accounts: Student Checking and Free Checking, respectively.

Marketing Campaigns – Nine firms promoted marketing campaigns. MassMutual continued promoting its Live Mutual branding with a new advertising campaign emphasizing interdependence. Amid the recent 401(k) scandal, Wells Fargo announced its recommitment to customer service in a new dedicated sitelet. OppenheimerFunds and Bank of America introduced gamified programs to encourage engagement. Nationwide broadcasted a new commercial promoting its philanthropic efforts. Through a series of hidden camera videos, Ally Invest launched a campaign that promotes savings accounts as a method for earning money. Charles Schwab campaigned toward recent graduates with a new sitelet featuring educational videos and articles. As part of a new advertising campaign, Brighthouse Financial encouraged retirees to pursue their passions in a series of customer testimonial videos. Farmers promoted its annual Dream Big Teacher Challenge, letting teachers apply for a chance to win an educational grant. TD Ameritrade hosted a retirement-focused Investor Education Day, promoted on social media and the public and private sites.


 Discover and TD Ameritrade Adopt Apple’s New Business Chat

With the release of iOS 11.3, Apple rolled out its Business Chat platform—currently in beta—which expedites the process of contacting companies using Spotlight, Maps and Siri. The feature allows iOS users to call or message representatives to ask questions, schedule appointments or make purchases and payments. Currently, Discover and TD Ameritrade are the only two firms in the Mobile Monitor coverage set that offer support for this feature; while Wells Fargo is listed as a participant on Apple’s product description page, we were unable to locate the firm’s Business Chat in our trials.

To contact Discover representatives, users can search “Discover” in Spotlight and elect to either call or message via the Business Chat entry. When tapped, the entry loads a dedicated screen displaying the contact options, likely response time, a link to the website, available hours and a link to report an issue.

Spotlight, New Message, Call and Contact Options Screen

For TD Ameritrade, clients can either search “TD Ameritrade” in Spotlight or search for the firm in the Maps app and access links on the results screen to either call or message the firm directly.

Spotlight, Message and Call

Contact Options Screen and Maps