January 24, 2001

How Prudential Increased Banner Profitability; SmartMoney.com's Secrets

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FinancialMarketingBiz from MarketingSherpa.com
January 23, 2000 - Vol. II, Issue 4
Please forward without cutting. Thank you!

1) NEWS: Citibank, Strategy.com, PitneyEscrow

2) More MarketingSherpa.com Headlines

3) CASE STUDY: Prudential Securities Increases Profits Per
Banner Click Through "By an Order of Magnitude"

4) EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: How SmartMoney.com Surpassed its
Print Parent and Broadened Revenue Streams to Ensure Survival

Free subscriptions at: http://www.financialmarketingbiz.com

* Citibank Launches $100 Million Ad Campaign

LIVING RICHLY: In its first major campaign since “The Citi
Never Sleeps,” which ended in the early 1990s, Citibank is
spending an estimated $100 million on a new campaign to
promote its brand, its bank-branch network, and its credit
card company. This also comes with a new look for Citibank
branches, which will soon carry the “Citi” logo with the red
umbrella (a carry-over from Travelers, a division of the
parent company, Citigroup), and the compass symbol will
disappear. The quirky new ads created by agency Fallon
Minneapolis carry the tagline: “Citibank. Live richly.”

Citibank has struggled to build a dominant Internet brand,
having shut down its Citi f/i and finance.com online
properties, and only recently has been attempting alchemy with
its new payment system, c2it. When asked if the new
advertising effort will be extended to the bank’s online
properties, Fallon deferred to Citibank, who did not return
phone calls seeking comment. “I think Citicorp/Travelers has
done a great job of allowing for the gradual evolution of a
unified brand,” says Maria Lilly of financial communications
consultancy MJ Lilly Associates. “But I'm not convinced ‘Live
richly’ is the right message for Citibank's customer base nor
do I think it is reflective of the current environment."

* Strategy.com to Offer $9.95 Month Financial News
Subscriptions to Consumers Online

PREMIUM SERVICE: According to spokesperson Aaron Radelet,
Strategy.com has licensed "deep institutional investor-type
information" from Thomson Financial Solutions in order to
create a new for-fee subscription news service for individual
investors. This service is being offered in addition to the
free financial news service already available at Strategy.com.

The site will sell subscriptions directly to consumers for an
expected $9.95 per month. Strategy.com is also offering its
200+ affiliate sites the opportunity to offer this premium
news service to their customers and visitors at the price
point of their choice. It will be interesting to see whether
consumers bite at another for-fee information offering in this

* Pitney Bowes Provides Online Escrow Services for

NOT JUST POSTAGE: In order to continue building its presence
as an online B-to-B financial solutions provider, Pitney Bowes
signed a deal to offer online secure transaction services to
customers of CapitalStream, a provider of hosted e-commerce
solutions for commercial financing. The product,
PitneyEscrow, will be linked to CapitalStream’s network and
will receive a fee for every escrow transaction executed on
CapitalStream.com using the service. The distribution of
PitneyEscrow will “solve business needs throughout the value
chain,” according to Mike Ryan, VP of Pitney Bowes Capital

More MarketingSherpa.com Headlines

Don Skarzinski Shares B-to-B Banner Tactics That Make an
Enormous Difference in Click Through Rates

Top Three Search Engine Optimization Resources

Searchbutton Raises Sales by Dumping Business Magazine Ads
in Favor of Highly Targeted Marketing

Check MarketingSherpa's Other News Channels for Marketers at:

CASE STUDY: Prudential Securities Increases Profits Per Banner
Click Through "By an Order of Magnitude"

Like many financial institutions, Prudential
Securities uses an internal CRM package so that management and
salespeople are constantly and continually aware of what is
being bought and sold at all times. However, this software is
not tied to its online lead generation activities.

Midway through 2000, Jim Burke, Prudential Securities' online
operations Chief Development Officer, knew his banner
campaigns were highly successful from a click through basis.
However, because all in-bound leads from the Web were sorted
through by hand (a time-consuming, expensive, and inconsistent
process) his campaign's conversion rates from click through to
sale weren't as high as they might be.

Burke had two options -- to custom build a banner
lead sorting system in-house or to outsource it. Time was a
key concern so Burke chose to outsource to ASP Kamoon
Technologies who promised (and met) a deployment deadline of
less than 30 days.

The new CRM system automatically screens, routes and tracks
all Web prospects, from the time they fill out an online form
to the time they're sold.

Next Prudential Securities redesigned all of its banner
landing pages to work with the new system. Users saw a page
with a paragraph or two of informational copy on a particular
topic, such as Roth IRAs or tax information, and then could
fill out an easy online form to receive personal answers to
their questions from a Prudential financial advisor.

Questions were modified for each campaign. For example, the
Roth campaign asked for household income, age and how much
money users anticipated investing with Prudential. Users were
also asked if they were current customers, so those names
would get priority routing.

The bounceback page users saw after they submitted the forms
informed them that a Prudential financial advisor would be in
touch within 2-3 days.

While Burke can't release exact figures, he is
pleased to report that the Company's online lead “closing rate
has increased by an order of magnitude” and there has been a
“meaningful increase in revenue.” Click throughs are
definitely more profitable.

Banner campaigns have been effective enough to continue
running on sites such as Money.com, Briefing.com,
IndividualIbvestor.com and PS.com for more than six months
(albeit with rotating offers and art.)

Prudential Securities has made two happy discoveries over the
course of the campaign. The Company found that consumers will
often share highly personal financial information through
online forms, even when these are not required fields. Also,
the new lead routing system has worked so well that
Prudential's advisors routinely beat their promised 2-3 day
turn-around time to answer questions.

NEXT: Burke is now considering adding some sort of live chat,
so qualified click throughs can be served even more quickly
online. No word yet on when this might be implemented.


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: How SmartMoney.com Surpassed its Print
Parent and Broadened Revenue Streams to Ensure Survival

Now in its fourth year, SmartMoney.com is a relative old-timer
online. We spoke with the site's General Manager and
Associate Publisher, Lou Tosto to find out how the site has
been successful in an era when some traditional media
companies are pulling back from their new media ventures.

Q: How is SmartMoney.com’s content different than that of its
print parent, Smart Money magazine?

Tosto: VERY different! Unlike other online properties in
relation to their print siblings, only 2% of the magazine’s
content is used for SmartMoney.com. We have over 100 writers
and staff who work for SmartMoney.com, managing about 54,000
pages off of the homepage.

But rather than just be editorial (and we are proud to admit
to the standards and heritage of Dow Jones and Hearst)
SmartMoney.com has always wanted to be much more active with
its users, allowing them the opportunity to do calculations
for particular investments, portfolios, and the like.

This means much more than just posting an online calculator,
which most financial information sites have. Our site has
100+ Java-based tools and worksheets that allow any user to
calculate and determine scenarios for a position with respect
to any financial product or investment out there. And we are
constantly developing and optimizing these tools and
worksheets to increase the functionality available to the
user. I feel the only site with better online tools is

Q: How many people visit the site as compared to the reach of
SmartMoney Magazine?

Tosto: We get approximately 60 million page views per month.
About 1 million are unique visitors. About 12 pages are
viewed with each visit, and an extremely high average of 22
minutes are spent on the site each month per visitor.
SmartMoney magazine has a circulation of about 800,000 per
month, with about 90,000 of that sold on the newsstand.

Q: How do you drive that kind of traffic consistently without
spending enormous amounts on advertising?

Tosto: Again, since we have existing, strong brand equity, we
do not feel the need to engage a global advertising agency to
get the word out, and spend massive amounts of money on
campaigns that will not yield us traffic that we could
otherwise build slowly, all the while offering better and
better quality content.

We did buy email lists in September 2000 and started an email
campaign effort, with our Retirement Newsletter. It worked
extremely well, as we broke the 1 million unique visitor mark.
We were surprised with the success, and may continue with
such a strategy in the near future.

We did merchandising campaigns. On Tax Day last year, we
handed out 10,000 SmartMoney.com calculators. They cost about
$1 apiece, and I am unsure if we’ll do it this year. We also
handed out about 10,000 flip-flop beach sandals on the Hampton
Jitneys over the July 4 weekend. They cost about $1.50

We also engaged a company called Personify to do clickstream
analysis, so that we know how each campaign is working out.
Partnerships may increase; we signed on with Yahoo! Finance
last year and it is going well.

Q: How much cross-promotion do you do with the magazine?

Tosto: We do not always think that the relation to the
magazine will get us more users, but in November 2000 we did
try cover-wrapping subscriptions to the magazine with a heavy
cardboard, touting SmartMoney.com. We had a good immediate
spike of about 10% in site traffic. I do not want to rely on
the magazine to bring us users, but we will try this strategy
again in the future.

Conversely, the magazine has used SmartMoney.com to sell
subscriptions. They get about 6,500 new subscriptions per
quarter off the site.

Q: Is your revenue stream from advertising only?

Tosto: No, hardly the case. Curiously enough, SmartMoney.com
made more money in 2000 from licensing technology than from

Most are unaware of this, but SmartMoney.com has developed a
proprietary analysis technology that we sell as an ASP to
other companies. And not just to other financial services
players —- we even licensed the technology to the Smithsonian
in Washington, DC. We feel that this can be our
differentiating factor, and even our tool for survival, as
pure-advertising financial content sites will either shut down
or be acquired in the near future. SmartMoney.com has the
revenue model to survive in a marketplace that hasn’t been
particularly rewarding or forgiving to advertising-only

Contact Tosto at ltosto@hearst.com.

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