Key CCG Services

  • Relationship Marketing Strategy
  • Data Analysis
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Program Launch and Implementation
  • Creative Services

Situation

At a time when home equity line of credit (HELOC) utilization was booming, one of the 25 largest U.S. banking companies was seeing results lag on its HELOC marketing efforts. The bank wanted to give its portfolio a boost and contacted CCG for strategic assistance.

Discovery

CCG’s review showed that the bank was sending out activation and utilization direct mailings in the form of letter-checks to all customers who had a HELOC with the bank. All customers received the same rate offer and messaging, and the same invitation to access their line of credit with the enclosed checks. The program was a one-size-fits-all approach with no segmentation or customization.

 

CCG next analyzed the program data in detail and discovered that the bank had five HELOC customer segments:

  • Inactives: Inactive/dormant customers with a $0 HELOC balance
  • Builders: Customers who were currently using 1 to 89 percent of their HELOC availability and had been adding to their balances in the past year
  • Maintainers: Customers who were using 1 to 89 percent of their HELOC availability and not paying down the balance
  • Paydowns: Customers who were using 1 to 89 percent of their HELOC availability and making efforts to pay down the balance in the past year
  • Fully Utilized: Customers who were using more than 90 percent of their available credit

Objectives

Together, CCG and the bank identified a primary objective: developing a new direct mail strategy with customized offers and messaging that would increase response rate and account utilization. Secondary objectives were to reduce the overall costs of the program and to move more Inactive customers into the Builder segment.

Strategy

CCG used its proprietary Momentum Segmentation process to drive the next year’s direct mail campaigns. Momentum Segmentation is a transaction-based segmentation analysis tool that tracks customer relationships over time and allows unique offers to be developed for each customer segment. The process is often a cost-effective solution for organizations that do not wish or do not need to personalize offers at the one-to-one customer level.

The approach was designed to make the campaigns more relevant to each customer. In addition, it had the potential to save the bank thousands of dollars by identifying customers who would not need an incentive to use letter-checks and access their line of credit. For instance, CCG suggested, and the bank agreed, that the Fully Utilized customer segment should not receive an offer or letter-checks at all, but simply a letter asking if they would like to increase their line of credit.

After developing the segmentation and offers, CCG created a flexible direct mail template that could be used throughout the year, for three campaigns and all customer segments. Because the template was easily versioned, it allowed CCG’s creative team to develop new copy seasonally for each customer segment while saving on printing costs.

All campaigns were monitored closely, with these key performance indicators (KPIs) tracked: response rate, balance change, average amount of line utilized and segment migration.

Program Results

The new Momentum Segmentation-driven direct mail program exceeded all expectations in the first year. Result highlights include:

  • More than 1,000 Inactives moved up to the Builders segment over the course of three mail campaigns
  • Response rates (customers who accessed their line through a letter-check) ranged from 2 percent (Inactives) to over 40 percent (Builders) during the year
  • The direct mail program achieved a 6.7 to 9 percent lift in average customer HELOC balances over the control group (those not mailed at all)
  • One specific campaign saw a 37 percent lift in the average amount utilized compared to the previous direct mail program

In the second and third years of the program, the Momentum Segmentation approach continued to do well, outperforming the control group on response rate, average amount utilized and balance change.