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Case Studies

 

Permanent TSB ‘switch accounts’ campaign

Permanent TSB ‘switch accounts’ campaign

Best practice from Jaywing

Background

Permanent TSB is the retail banking division of Irish Life & Permanent plc.  Irish Life and Permanent plc was formed by the merger of Irish Permanent plc and Irish Life plc in April 1999.

The merger brought together the combined strengths of Ireland’s largest home loans provider and largest insurance company, to create a market leading organisation with the primary strategic focus of delivering personal financial services in Ireland. 
 
Permanent TSB is the third largest bank in the Republic of Ireland and the number one mortgage lender in the country.  Core products include personal banking services, life and pensions, savings, investments, residential mortgages and automotive finance.

The group operates a multi-channel distribution strategy through its branch network, direct sales force, agencies, independent intermediaries and direct access via the telephone and internet.

Historically, the charges and processes associated with personal banking in Ireland meant that in contrast to the UK Market, switching bank accounts, to get a more competitive interest rate or better deal, was very difficult for customers.

Until 2004, the majority of current accounts were fee based and customer attitudes to banking commonly reflected the ‘one bank for life’ mind set.  The introduction of the new Code of Banking Practice in Ireland in 2004 was designed to make switching bank accounts easier for consumers. 
 
· Average cost of current account 60-70 euros
· Size of Irish Banking Market = £2.5 adults

Objectives

Historically, the Permanent TSB Product Portfolio consisted mainly of mortgage and savings with a small current account offering.  Permanent TSB aimed to increase its current account customer base through the introduction of a new type of current account to the Irish personal banking market, which would also create a platform through which additional group products and services could be up and cross sold.
 
Permanent TSB looked to one of the UK’s leading data services specialists, Jaywing, a member of the Digital Marketing Group, and an established expert in the UK banking sector, to consult in the development of this bank account.

Jaywing did extensive market research into the Irish current account market and worked with Permanent TSB to develop the concept of ‘free banking’, positioning Permanent TSB as a market leader in free personal banking services, in response to the New Banking Code of Practice. 
 
Creative marketing agency Dig For Fire was also appointed by Permanent TSB, to handle the creative execution of the new account launch.  Dig For Fire, a partner of Jaywing and also a member of the Digital Marketing Group, was chosen because of its extensive experience in the UK personal finance sector, namely working with First Direct on new customer acquisition for the last 10 years.

Dig For Fire set out to use its experience in the UK switcher market and apply it to the development of a successful integrated campaign for Permanent TSB. 
 
Strategy

Jaywing worked closely with Permanent TSB on the research and development of the new free to open ‘Switch Current Account’.  Once the account was ready to launch, Jaywing and Dig For Fire developed a strategy incorporating customer communications, database management and an on and offline direct marketing campaign to promote the benefits of the switcher account to both existing and prospective customers.  
 
Dig For Fire had only limited time to plan and roll out the launch campaign, with only two months to launch.  There were a number of elements to the campaign including:
· Off page press
· TV, Radio advertising
· Commuter / Train & Tube etc posters
· Direct Mail packs
· Inserts
· Banner advertising
 
The strategy rolled out by Jaywing and Dig For Fire included specific processes for handling and converting customer enquiries via inbound telecommunications, branch enquiries and via the internet.  A dedicated ‘Switcher’ team was set up to manage the transfer of new customer bank accounts.

The team handled switch requests direct from customers via inbound calls and online applications and took the hassle out of switching for customers by managing the transfer of all elements of the account from standing orders and direct debits to salary payments.  Branch switch enquiries were also managed via the switcher team. 
 
To facilitate this, Jaywing designed and built a unique application to manage the customer switching process.  The ‘switcher database’ provided the workflow to enable the Switcher Team to do their job effectively.
 
Results

In a market where, traditionally, no customers switched bank accounts, The Switch Current Account dramatically exceeded the first year target of 50,000 new customers.  It has since attracted over 150,000 customers to switch to Permanent TSB within the first two years.

This would be a great performance in the UK market but in the Irish market it is nothing short of spectacular in achieving a 6% market share in such a short period of time.
 
In addition to the significant growth of the current account customer base, the project delivered exceptional results for cross and upsell of additional Permanent TSB Group products including mortgages, credit cards and savings. 

In the two years since its launch, one in ten new customers that opened a Switch account has also taken out a mortgage with Permanent TSB.  Similarly, twenty five percent of customers that opened a switch account also applied for a Permanent TSB credit card.

 

AJR
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