Marketing Guru Mike Rios shares secrets to successful marketing with rural bankers

After his successful marketing strategies session during the 2010 RBAP-MABS National Roundtable Conference in Manila, marketing guru Mike Rios came back to the Philippines to share effective marketing strategies with the Philippine rural banks.

A former Nike and Coca-Cola creative adman, Mr. Rios believes that marketing has a greater purpose – that if it can sell cigarettes, fast food, and “brown sugar water” to the masses, it can also help motivate people to live healthier, wealthier, and happier lives as well. A big idea writer and strategist, he’s done work for ANZ Bank, Forte Insurance, MTV Exit, PSI, UNICEF, WING and is the Lead Social Marketing Consultant for the US non-profit Microfinance Opportunities (MFO).

On February 15, 19 officers and staffers from eight RBAP member rural banks gathered at the RBAP Building in Manila to learn about successful marketing for their products and services from Mr. Rios. He gave an interesting and interactive training-workshop on how rural banks can market their products and services, and tweak their approach to clients in order to broaden their reach, strengthen their relationship with client, and expand their clientele through creative and effective marketing.

Mr. Rios shared three effective strategies to be used in promoting and motivating clients to change their behaviour: (1) Give people one clear + easy action, (2) Inspire and appeal to emotions, (3) and “breaking down the wall” – try changing the environment, product, or processes and not the client.

According to Mr. Rios, “knowledge alone does not change behaviour.” There are several factors that can be used in order to change client behaviour, including the environment and the approach. Mr. Rios said that making people “feel something” or appealing to emotions can be a more effective way of reaching out to clients than selling by logic. Making the message more fun and interesting will not only attract attention but also foster retention.

He also noted that “changing the environment is easier than changing behaviour.” In one example, he cited how a bank had to deal with the problem of clients who kept on forgeting their bank card in the ATM machine. To address the issue, rather than trying to get clients to change their behaviour by putting reminders on their ATMs for clients not to forget their cards, the bank instead changed the envrionment by changing the ATMs’ settings to prompt users to get the card first before receiving their money.

Mr. Rios also discussed various challenges to introducing new products which are often difficult to understand for new clients. Institutions marketing new financial products should: 1) embrace early adopters and 2) find success in one village – believe it, understand the success factors, and repeat it.

He also reminded banks to stop marketing like a mother to her child and instead adopt a customer marketing approach which is 1) easy to use, 2) easy for clients to understand what is in it for them, and 3) use emotion to get clients interested in the product or service being offered by the bank.

Mr. Rios provided several practical exercises to help participants develop and make use of their creativity to approach marketing from a different angle than they have approached it in the past.

He ended with five important lessons from the book – “Make it Stick”:

  • Keep the message simple – find the core purpose of the message and prioritize it.
  • Utilize a surprise factor – it is in our nature to be interested in the unexpected.
  • Provide concrete clear steps for the clients to follow.
  • Use emotion – make the client fell something – hope, excitement, fun, empathy, etc.
  • Make your marketing more like telling a story.