How Radio Helped This Financial Company Succeed

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Radio Advertising: Money In The Bank For This Chicago Financial Company

(By Rob Dumke) Getting noticed in one of the top five banking markets in the country and in the third-largest radio market in the United States is a daunting task. Matt Doubleday, chief marketing officer for Wintrust Financial Corporation of Chicago, takes on that task every day, using the power of radio. Wintrust ranks fifth in the local deposit market share with $32 billion in assets and operates 175 full-service financial locations throughout the Chicago area and Southern Wisconsin. With nearly 30 years of experience
in marketing, Doubleday tells Radio Ink he uses what he knows works.

Radio Ink: Where does radio fit into your media mix?

Matthew Doubleday

Doubleday: We buy a lot of radio. We are on most stations in town. What we really like about radio is the ability to segment, but on a mass scale. We segment our marketing to specific audiences that listen to specific stations. It’s much like a direct mail or digital campaign, but on the mass scale that radio can provide. When we first started building the Wintrust brand, about a decade ago, radio was the first channel used beyond the usual business magazines because it let us get in front of people quickly.

Radio Ink: How long have you been with Cumulus in Chicago?
Doubleday: We were with the stations before they were Cumulus stations.
[Alternative] 101 WKQX is a great station for us, especially for reaching younger listeners and potential customers. WLS-AM is a little hard for us. It’s not the news product, but we stay away from all political content. We try not to pick sides because we don’t want to alienate customers.

We were big users of WLUP-FM (The Loop) before it was sold to EMF last year. WKQX has been great for us, especially helping us reach a specific group of potential customers. We also use stations not in the Cumulus cluster.

Radio Ink: How do you sell banking and financial services on the radio?
Doubleday: We use two types of spots — branding, or selling a specific product or service. We will use some spots on WGN, WBBM, and Cumulus stations for branding where we secure that position as Chicago’s bank for large and small businesses. We sell a “No BS” product. No minimums, no monthly fees — the only fees you incur are for overdrafts. I’m a big fan of selling stuff! Radio is also a key piece of activation for our big sport sponsorships. We are big sponsors for both the Cubs and the White Sox. We offer Cubs and White Sox checking accounts and debit cards. We are the main sponsor for White Sox radio on WGN, and we are the lead sponsor for Cubs radio on WSCR-AM (The Score).

Radio Ink: Is it the flexibility of radio you like as an advertiser?
Doubleday: Oh, absolutely! We really love using morning drive hosts. We give them spots and talking points, and when they can make it personal, we know it resonates much better with their listeners. We know that radio listeners are a very loyal group, so if they know their morning host banks with us, there is a very good chance that some of the morning host’s listeners will bring their business to us. We will have a different plan for our messages depending on the stations we are using and the personality that is working with us.

Radio Ink: How is it working with the Cumulus folks in Chicago?
Doubleday: They’re great. I’ve worked with Jeff Hill for about 10 years, when he was with WGN and now with Cumulus. We have been blessed with a great partnership with Jeff and his folks for quite a while.

Radio Ink: How do you know radio is reaching the people you want as
customers?
Doubleday: We don’t do a lot of TV, so we don’t have a lot of noise from that in our tracking. When we do direct mail and digital, we use an offer code, so that provides us tracking information.

There is a constant and growing baseline of accounts that are opening when we are not mailing and not doing digital campaigns. It’s got to be coming from somewhere, and the only thing that we’re doing regularly, with scale, is radio. I would credit probably a third of our retail account openings to our radio effort.

Radio Ink: What advice would you give someone considering using radio
advertising?
Doubleday: Try it. It’s not like it’s expensive. Just because a medium is
old doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. I mean, how many people are still in newspapers and direct mail? We are big users of direct mail, and there is nothing older than direct mail.

TV is so fragmented. The only thing we do on TV is live sports and news, because it is live. Everything else on TV is streamed or time-shifted. We do digital, but there is a whole lot of noise in that, too, that you have to cut through.

If people have a question about radio advertising, they should try it. Most radio stations will give you a deal to get started. I would say, put together an offer specific to that station and audience and see what happens. Don’t let the new shiny objects distract you from a medium that actually works. Radio for me is consistent and has always worked.

Thanks to Matt Doubleday, Chief Marketing Officer, Wintrust Financial; contact him at medoubl@wintrust.com or 847.939.9000.
Thanks to Jeff Hill, VP/Sales, Cumulus Chicago, for introducing us to Matt Doubleday; contact Hill at jeff.hill@cumulus.com or 312.245.1200.

Rob Dumke is Associate Editor at Radio Ink.

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