Marcus by Goldman Sachs Wants People to Be Financially Fit…. and Then Buy Its Products

Taking advantage of the timely New Year’s resolution mentality, Marcus, the online consumer lender from Goldman Sachs, released what it calls Financial Workouts 2019 to help consumers get in better financial health.

Users are required to determine their financial personalities based on a list of characteristics presented on the site. And then based on that type of personality, Marcus will churn out tips and advice on managing debt and creating savings goals.

The idea for dishing financial guidance by having consumers make a BuzzFeed Quiz style personality assessment resulted from a recent survey Marcus conducted in which 64% of respondents said they feel that they are not in the best financial shape they could be and that 74% of people think their financial well-being impacts their overall health.

The survey, which was conducted in December 2018, questioned 1,006 Americans. The survey also found that 50% of the respondents believed it was easier to get into better physical shape than financial shape and 59% considered budgeting to be more stressful than trying a new workout.

In an email to Bank Innovation, Elisabeth Kozack, vice president of product strategy and customer experience at Marcus, said, “Whether someone is looking to trim down their debt, bulk up their savings or shred unwanted subscriptions, the hardest part can be knowing where to start. With these financial fitness workouts, we want to encourage people to take steps toward improving their financial well-being.”

Of course, this is another form of marketing, albeit more subtle than bluntly telling consumers to purchase a certain product. For instance, in the case of this Financial Workout campaign, based on certain answers, a person might be advised to subscribe to certain Marcus products such as its  Marcus Online Savings Account, which offers an APY (annual percentage yield) of 2.25%, however not every advice is tied to a sales pitch.

This falls in line with the overall Marcus marketing mantra, which according to Dustin Cohn, who heads brand marketing at the company, is providing customers — both current and potential — a service, not just a marketing message.

“The key to marketing in financial services today, and certainly the key to our marketing strategy at Marcus, is to educate the consumer,” Cohn had previously told Bank Innovation. “We’re trying to add value above and beyond our products, whether that is communicating our offerings or informing customers about things that are outside Marcus.”

This style of marketing is not unique to Marcus. Fintech players such as AcornsBetterment, PayPal and some challenger banks, all provide advice and proprietary research to customers via their respective content blogs or gamification features that do not necessarily prompt product purchase.

Another trend evident in Marcus’s Financial Workout campaigns is taking advantage of seasonal themes. This style of marketing, although age-old to retailers and other industries, is becoming more common among FIs and banks.

During Thanksgiving in November, Ally Financial started a campaign in which the bank gave away random amounts of money to some of their customers calling into the customer service helpline from $25 gift cards to $55,000.

“It’s our way of showing appreciation to customers,” Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing officer at Ally Financial told Bank Innovation.

It’s even better when that appreciation is reciprocated. And possibly leads to some level of customer loyalty, a quality that’s been dwindling in the financial services industry.

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