Comscore’s annual State of Online and Mobile Banking for 2011 was recently highlighted by Ron Shevlin’s Snarketing Blog. The report had some interesting things to say about Personal Financial Management (PFM) programs. PNC Bank, a growing super regional bank has excelled in this area. I was involved in marketing PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet product, a Personal Financial Management (PFM) application offering online and mobile tools and services for money tracking, budgeting, and advice.

PNC Leads the Pack

Generally, PFM use and interest is weak, but few banks have worked very hard to market it. While just half of BofA and Wells Fargo customers are aware of their banks’ PFM tools. 60% of PNC customers know about Virtual Wallet, and 63% of USAA members know about the Money Manager tool.
PNC’s success owes partly to integrated features  that go beyond just budgeting and expense categorization, including alerts for when outgoing payments may not be covered, and the ability to transfer sums between accounts – from a reserve account to a savings and to a growth account – by moving a scrolling bar.PNC also owes its success to devoting a major, integrated effort to promote Virtual Wallet, combining TV, radio, media, check inserts, email blasts, online banners, you name it. The ads are attention catching and highlight features in a way that stimulates interest in the capabilities of Virtual Wallet, using the product as a differentiator. We marketed it to all segments in all markets, including diverse markets.The result: PNC is far outpacing all the major banks. The bank’s satisfaction level jumped from 57% in the first quarter of 2010 to 79% in the first quarter of 2011, 79% since 2009, which is 9 percentage points higher than Chase or Wells Fargo, 16 points higher than Citi, and 17 points higher than BofA.

Online Bill Pay Lags

Other concerns raised by the report concern bill pay – few use it. The figures again show that awareness is low, as is penetration among those who are aware. Yet, satisfaction is high. Again, there is a promotion problem. One much overlooked strategy is emails which, the report says generates a 17% response rate for recipients visiting the site for information on other products, making it highly effective in increasing customer awareness and engagement in other offerings.

Promotion and Brand Integrity

The more your financial institution communicates with you, the more touch points you have to drive home the message, and the more opportunities you have to make the message compelling. Working with Deutsch Inc. as advertising agency of record, PNC presented a bold, consistent, customer focused brand image that differentiated itself in branch merchandizing reflecting a clean, cutting edge new look. Virtual Wallet was seen as a focal point around which to differentiate the bank as responsive and empowering, and community focused, in stark contrast to the stodgy impersonal image of a large bank. Virtual Wallet became a brand focus for the company, driving visibility, adoption and satisfaction.

Snap Principle of driving product adaption:Driving adoption requires consistent, integrated, multi-channel differentiated communication.