Banks Find Investment Seminars Are Smart Marketing
Investment seminars organized by banks and insurance companies are a good opportunity to sell products and to consolidate their existing customers, experts say.
Because consumers are hungry to learn about investing, a seminar has considerable credibility among consumers in a world where they are swamped by junk mail, telemarketing calls and spam.
“”It does not appear to be a good idea to call people and ask them to invest with a complete stranger,” says Carmela Michaels, representative at Sovereign Banks, Toms River, N.J. In contrast, the interactive nature and educational content of the seminar enables the organizers to win their trust, she notes.
Usually, financial companies use two criteria to organize the seminars, depending on the target audience they have in mind. One is to promote their own services and the other is to educate consumers about investing and finance.
“We have created our own proprietary seminars based on consumers needs and the feedback from our financial advisors about what kind of topic and what kind of planning issue should be discussed,” says Ron Johnson, director for advisors and marketing at American Express Financial Services Company, Minneapolis.
“We have also taken an educational approach to provide a forum where information can be shared about financial planning topics,” he adds.
American Express organizes educational seminars by focusing on the financial implications of what it calls life experiences such as marriage or having a first child, notes Johnson.
When companies use the seminar to attract new customers, they scout new opportunities to gain access to them, observes Michaels, who has taught investment classes at local high schools.
J.P. Morgan Chase, New York, hosts pre-packaged personal finance seminars. The bank organizes seminars for community organizations, faith-based institutions, and schools so that those who do not have access to technology, particularly in low- and moderate-income communities can receive information they need.