The focal point of this mailing is the “product conversion
guide.” This booklet provides the first real platform for the
surviving institution to present its brand and its products.
Well-designed with eye-catching color imagery, the conversion guide must have enough “production value” to make it
worthy of being kept as a resource for new customers—as
well as a sales tool for customer-contact employees.
The data is key
Test files should be acquired well in advance so that all products
are accounted for and have been properly mapped to new
products. Accounts with identical registrations are combined
into one letter so that customers don’t get duplicate mailings.
Before the letters are produced, knowledgeable people
from both banks need to review the data files to make sure
they are accurate. When the letters are ready for production,
a representative sample from across the data file is printed
out to make sure the account information appears properly.
The final step is the assembly stage. All additional inserts
should be verified as being properly inserted. If consumer
and business accounts have different disclosure material,
it should be confirmed customers are receiving the correct
Continuing after conversion
“Once your merger has been completed, you have the op-
portunity to continue to enhance efficiencies, cross sell new
product offerings and grow relationships,” says Mach. “During
this time, reaffirm your commitment to your new employees,
customers, communities and shareholders and demonstrate
your brand promise.”
For example, the new relationship can be cemented with
high-value customers by sending them special offers for
discounts on additional services. Or a survey can be sent out
asking for input on the conversion process, what features they
are looking for, and what their next financial need might be.
In most cases, the acquiring organization is larger and
offers a more extensive menu of services. The messaging
should emphasize the additional benefits available once the
conversion takes place, such as an expanded branch office
network, more up-to-date electronic banking options, enhanced account offerings, etc.
According to Hall, marketers have two audiences to keep
in mind, future customers and associates with the acquiring bank. “Your future customers have a lot of anxiety…so
communicate, communicate and then communicate some
more. Provide as much detail as you can at the time of each
communication, and let them know when they will hear
from you next.
“The acquiring institution’s associates are very important
in that transition—get them on board first and foremost with
as much information as possible…they are likely not only just
future associates but future customers too.”
The bank people trust®
Ocean City Home
Bank (assets: $1
billion), Ocean City,
N.J., used striking
on the front and
back covers of its
Once the conversion is scheduled, the communications plan
should include the ‘major communication,’ which must be
received 30 days prior to the changeover.
Products and Services Guide
The bank people trust®