Brand Slam Awards: Simmons Bank’s mobile deposit sweepstakes

‘Mobile deposit has a lot of unknowns. That is why it was so important to give customers a risk-free way to see what it’s all about.’

By Craig Colgan

ABA Bank Marketing is profiling throughout the year winners of the ABA Brand Slam Awards, celebrated at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference, recognizing the best in bank marketing. In the Out of the Box Idea category, Simmons Banks of Little Rock, Arkansas won for its Mobile Deposit Sweepstakes, aimed to drive usage for the bank’s mobile deposit feature.

Customers were mailed checks worth one cent and invited to deposit them via the Simmons Bank Mobile app. The sweepstakes was open to non-customers as well (the bank provided an alternative entry options via mail), and the marketing team worked with Simmons’ legal and compliance departments to ensure the project followed all requirements. Each deposited check earned customers an entry into Simmons’ sweepstakes, with weekly prizes from $100-1,000 and an overall grand prize of $10,000.

Penny checks were also available for Simmons’ retail team to give customers who stopped by its branches, allowing associates to demonstrate app features and personally invite customers to join the sweepstakes. Winning customers were encouraged to visit their branch to claim prizes, allowing Simmons to add a personal touch to a digitally focused campaign. The bank integrated its Mobile Deposit Sweepstakes across numerous channels—including direct mail, video, online and mobile messaging— to reach its entire customer base. As a result of the campaign, 80 percent of Mobile Sweepstakes checks given out in branches were used by customers who had never attempted mobile deposit. First-time mobile deposit users also increased by 54 percent, with nearly 30 percent making a second mobile deposit during the campaign period. The campaign also drove 40,800 social media impressions.

Claire McClellan, SVP, director of marketing answered our questions about the campaign:

These results are obviously impressive: 80 percent of Mobile Sweepstakes checks given out in branches were used by customers who had never attempted mobile deposit. Were you surprised at that?

Customers who are accustomed to visiting our branches had previously been low adopters of mobile deposit. Making a deposit is a repetitive transaction for customers. How often are there major changes to the way you can get a check into your account? Making a mobile deposit for the first time can be uncomfortable when you are dealing with actual money. Providing customers a real check to try mobile deposit with takes away a lot of the anxiety that can come with trying something new. Add in a chance to win a prize and there is no reason not to participate!

This on-going accelerated move to digital in many ways is a challenge for banks, who hope to do what your campaign did, engage and introduce customers to new ways for them to bank. How important is that for your bank, overall? What fears or challenges or roadblocks did you see were common with customers who previously did not use mobile banking?

It is very important to us that all our customers are educated about the various ways they can bank with Simmons Bank. Overall, we have experienced a significant adoption of digital banking within our customer base, but that doesn’t mean that customers are using all the features available within our app. Mobile deposit has a lot of unknowns when you’ve never used it before. What do I do with the check after I deposit it? Am I endorsing it correctly? Do I need to tell the bank I’ve made a deposit? When will my deposit be complete? That is why it was so important to give customers a risk-free way to see what it’s all about.

What pieces of this were produced in-house, vs. by an agency?

Simmons Bank partnered with our check printing partner, Deluxe, to print real checks attached to the marketing materials. The creative development process was managed in-house and supported by our agency partners. It takes a village!

This seemed to be a very fun campaign. What were the challenges?

It was fun! The winners loved getting a call from Simmons Bank and learning they had won a prize. With that said, there is a lot of coordination that would not have been possible without the support of many teams within the bank.

What advice would you give to banks attempting a campaign like this?

Work with your legal and compliance departments to design the sweepstakes rules. A campaign like this takes support from departments across the bank, so build your project team early and thank them often.

See our profile of a co-winner in the social media category.


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