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(Co-authored by Tim Scholten & Aaron Schulman)

Many banks struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Those that do, often do not see much of a ROI for their ingenuity, but go back to the drawing board to have to re-invent themselves.

Most ingenuity in banks comes in the form of new products or services that often result in a mediocre market traction.

They may win favor with current customers, but most banks find challenges to attract and keep new customers at a rate that creates solid growth.

Perhaps it’s time to look at your bank’s unique mechanism, or lack thereof.

What is a unique mechanism?

A unique mechanism is a concept that has been used by world class marketers and advertisers for over 100 years to stand out completely from the herd and dominate their market.

What’s great about understanding and utilizing the unique mechanism approach, is that it can be applied to a product, service, or an entire organization’s brand to get control and beat the competition in your market.

A unique mechanism, in short, gives your prospects the hope that they will experience what they have been missing in all of their banking experiences, even if they are unable to pinpoint what it is they believe they are missing.

In fact, studies by Ryan Levesque, founder of the world renown “ASK” method, have shown that most prospects and customers who are (or are not) completely satisfied (with their bank) are unable to voice exactly what it is they want.

They are able to identify it on a list of concepts if it is given to them to choose or identify, but they are unable to voice it on their own.

Sure, they may be able to recite incidents or feelings where they were satisfied or dissatisfied with an event or their overall banking experience, but most can not articulate exactly what it is that they want, although they are able to share past experiences that were favorable or unfavorable.

Most prospects and customers need to have their desires revealed or presented to them as a clear choice.

This is why surveys and open ended prospect and customer feedback funnels are necessary to identify the top 3 to 5 pain points that customers have in almost any industry.

Not only do they generally gravitate to 3 to 5 identifiable pain points when surveyed properly, but bankers and their marketing teams can learn to reiterate the solutions back to the masses in a language that deeply resonates with the market in such a way that the market believes they are really understood by the bank and that the bank is truly on their side.

When you are able to articulate the major pain points to your market in a way that they feel seen, understood, and known, they will gravitate toward your brand because of the underlying trust they perceive from your brand.

Not only will your brand speak to them in a way that they feel understood, but your ability to match solutions with their problems will make you the hero in their life story.

This is where a unique mechanism comes into play.

Your unique mechanism, whether it is being used to promote a product, service, or your entire brand, must be truly unique among all of your competitors, while also showing you have the empathy and authority to help your clients solve all of their pain points as it relates to banking.

Not only that, but your unique mechanism should be profoundly simple and elegant in presentation, while showing your customers and prospects that you are the best guide for their life story, because you not only empathize with them and have the authority to speak into their pain points, but you also simplify their journey and create a clear path, roadmap, or strategy that can solve these problems.

In this process, you earn their trust and become their guide while allowing them to be the self-actualized hero of their own story.

In advertising, a unique mechanism comes in only 3 forms, and these same 3 forms can be used to reinvent the presentation and sales/marketing language for any product, service or brand for your bank.

1 – The Existing Mechanism
2 – The Unspoken Mechanism
3 – The Transubstantiated Mechanism

When you and your team learn how to re-invent your products & services and go to market with a unique mechanism, your bank will:

Go from blending in as a commodity to standing out as truly unique and advantageous to your market.

Transform from an average, stale and boring company to unique, cutting-edge, and exciting.

Accelerate from sustaining a surviving, regular business to driving your business as an industry leader.

The mechanism you use for any product, service or brand is determined by the sophistication of your audience, how your product or service is designed, and what your competitors are and are not saying about their products & services.

Example 1 – The Existing Mechanism (purely unique)

The Existing Mechanism is a purely unique mechanism. That is, you have a product or component of your product or service that no one else offers.

Examples of this in other markets, to make the concept clear to you, could be a proprietary chemical that a lab produces that is patented and helps burn fat better than other fat-burning dietary supplements.

It could also be a unique algorithm which gives an ad platform a distinct advantage at targeting and selling to their unique audience.

It could also be a unique ingredient in a restaurant’s spaghetti sauce that no one else uses.

It can also be a unique process or roadmap that a financial planner develops and trademarks and uses to guide his clients through their financial investment and growth process. Think “franchise”, “roadmap” “patent” or “invention” when you are considering an existing mechanism, because these are purely unique.

Example 2 – The Unspoken Mechanism (used but not talked about)

The Unspoken Mechanism is something that is not purely unique, and other banks may be using it, but no one is highlighting this mechanism in a way that creates a distinct marketing advantage.

One historic example of the unspoken mechanism could be the way that master marketer, Claude Hopkins, used the beer refining process that Schlitz used to move them from 5th place to 1st in the nation for overall sales. What was unique about this filtering process was not unique at all. Every beer manufacturer used the same process but no one talked about it in their marketing. Claude was wise enough to expose the filtering process in a way through their marketing story so that they moved to the #1 beer in the country.

Example 3 – The Transubstantiated Mechanism (changes form)

The transubstantiated mechanism is one that, when applied, changes the form or function of the existing product or service in a way that something new is created.

Some people abuse this and simply “rename” something that already exists and then market it as their own. Misusing this mechanism, in this way, is a thin line away from plagiarism or thievery.

Don’t do that.

Instead, look at a process that is already being used and create a unique twist to it that gives it a fresh new advantage over the way it was done before. You can add or take away from an existing product, service or process in such a way that it becomes more efficient, more profitable, or more beneficial to your customers and prospects.

For practice, take one of your products or services in banking and ask your team to come up with a twist, addition or subtraction to the process that will make it easier for your customers and employees, more affordable, more efficient, or more applicable to a wider array of situations.

Now, for your next team meeting, list 3 products / services that your bank offers.

You can even take a product or service that is working extremely well for one or more of your competitors.

Then list under each product or service, the 3 different Unique Mechanisms.

Then break your team up into smaller teams, and give them 5 minutes for each product / service and have them try to brainstorm possible ways to apply unique mechanisms to these products / services to come up with something:

1- Purely Unique
2- Unspoken and ordinary but brought to light in a favorable way
3- Transubstantiated or changed in such a way as to give it an advantage

You will be surprised at what new avenues your team can travel while exploring these 3 simple yet profound ways to reinvent your products, services, brand appeal and marketing.

The key in this first step is to not worry about red tape and compliance. That will come later in the refinement phase.

You simply want to tap into the creativity of your team, your human capital, through a proven process that has helped companies reinvent themselves for over 100 years and develop new, untapped market segments and profitability.

Once you have a pool of ideas from this process, begin to explore which ones are actually viable and which ones are not.

Then narrow down the pool of ideas to 3 – 5 and assign a team of at least 3 people and a timeline of 1 to 2 weeks to come up with a 1 page summary of how these could be developed and launched.

You could then have each Unique Mechanism product / service run through a 1 page SWOT analysis: that is, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, then add 1 more category for compliance issues that must be addressed.

Once you do this, have your team come back together and begin to poke holes in each idea, not in a mode that seeks to tear every idea down, but in a unified spirit of trying to unveil the potential hurdles and then come up with potential solutions for each hurdle, whether those hurdles are fiscal, manpower, technology, or compliance hurdles.

Here is an example that no one has done to the best of my knowledge:

Switching banks is difficult.

It has always been a barrier to changing checking accounts.

A few creative banks began using a Switch Kit.

It was a simple set of step by step instructions that could be used to guide the customer through making a change.

No one however has really taken this to the next level.

By that I mean, having the banker do 90% of the work for the client.

How can you make that easy?

Having the client take a picture of their Pay Stub and and Utility Bills that are automatically deducted and setting them up through ACH for the client.

Another barrier is switching Payees.

How about taking a screenshot of each of the client’s payees on a Zoom call and add them to their online banking/bill pay account for them?
Portions of these features could be added to the online account enrollment process so that it would be extremely simple for your new client to switch banks.

This is just one simple example of taking current technology or process and further enhancing the client experience in a way that removes barriers, but that also differentiates your onboarding experience from competitors.

In addition, there are great software programs that can either be adopted or developed such as “WalkMe.com”

These kinds of software additions to any platform are an automated “on-boarding” intuitive digital guide that helps people on-board faster, with less confusion and less human interaction.

A hybrid of a type of “Walk Me” technology guides a person step by step while learning to use a new platform or on-boarding process to any new cloud system, including apps and banking.

Want help developing your next market dominating product or service? 

We can help you implement unique mechanisms in your process and stand out from the rest of the competing banks… and stay ahead of them.

We would love to engage with you and see how you can take your brand to new levels.   Set up your free strategy call with our experienced team today.

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