Wells Fargo understands the little things that make a big difference


Share on LinkedIn

On Friday, March 18th Wells Fargo will complete its changing over of Wachovia to Wells Fargo in New York City. It marks the culmination of Wells acquisition of the brand nearly 18 months ago.

It also represents the 18th month mark of the genesis of the Purple Goldfish Project. In September 2009 I wrote a post highlighting Wells Fargo and the concept of ‘marketing lagniappe’. That post would be the spark plug that ignited my passion for the concept.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

9 INCH AXIOM – Little things

‘Sometimes the littlest things can make a big difference’

I was listening to a video podcast the other day from Andrew Lock. Andrew has a weekly show called, “Help – My Business Sucks”. Its usually 7-10 minutes whereby Andrew shares his perspectives on unconventional marketing.

Andrew was telling a story about how he was using the drive thru at his local Wells Fargo bank. At the end of the transaction the teller asked him if he would like a sucker. Andrew was perplexed until he realized it was an offer for a lollipop. He drove away with a smile on his face. That lollipop was a small token or ‘marketing lagniappe‘ from Wells Fargo. It’s a practice that goes a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction, especially when it is unexpected.

The red lollipop is one of three reasons why I believe Wells Fargo deserves an ‘attaboy’. Here are the other two:

Stagecoach – Very few banks have the heritage and storied history of Wells Fargo. The stagecoach dates back to the early days in the 186o’s.

Henry Wells and William Fargo offered banking (buying gold, and selling paper bank drafts as good as gold) and express (rapid delivery of the gold and anything else valuable). The bank earned a reputation of trust by dealing rapidly and responsibly with people’s money. In the 1860s, Wells Fargo earned everlasting fame – and its corporate symbol – with the grand adventure of the overland stagecoach line which included the western leg of the famed, but short-lived, Pony Express.

The six horse stagecoach is the signature icon of the brand. When the brand merged with rival Norwest back in 1998 they made a smart move by unifying under one brand and staying ‘on the wagon’.

80% Rule – Wells Fargo understands the importance of servicing the needs of their current customers to fuel growth. This is a quote about cross-selling from their website:

“The more you sell customers, the more you know about them. The more you know about them, the easier it is to sell them more products. The more products customers have with you, the better value they receive and the more loyal they are. The longer they stay with you, the more opportunities you have to meet even more of their financial needs. The more you sell them, the higher the profit because the added cost of selling another product to an existing customer is often only about ten percent of the cost of selling that same product to a new customer.”

That last sentence deserves repeating. IT COSTS 10 TIMES TO ACQUIRE A NEW CUSTOMER THAN IT TAKES TO UPSELL A CURRENT ONE. Nearly eighty percent of Wells Fargo revenue growth comes from selling more products to existing customers. The average Wells Fargo customer carries over 5 products which is more than two times the industry average.

Their focus on serving existing customers has two tremendous benefits:

1. It reduces attrition. Well Fargo loses less customers each year compared to its competitors.

2. It provides them with a competitive advantage against companies that only offer one or a few products.

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Reducing attrition and upselling your current customers is among the lowest hanging fruit in marketing.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – Here is the backstory on the Concord Coach:

Built high and wide to handle the rough, rutted roads of a new country, the design of a classic American vehicle was perfected in Concord, New Hampshire. Carriage builder J. Stephens Abbot and master wheelwright Lewis Downing built the famed stagecoaches of Wells Fargo & Co. The curved frame of the body gave it strength, and perhaps a little extra elbow room. Perfectly formed, fitted, and balanced wheels stood up to decades of drenching mountain storms and parching desert heat. The unique feature of these coaches was the suspension. Instead of steel springs, the coach body rested on leather “thoroughbraces,” made of strips of thick bullhide. This feature spared the horses from jarring and gave the stagecoach a (sometimes) gentle rocking motion, leading Mark Twain to call it, “An imposing cradle on wheels.” (Roughing It, 1870) For the record: Concord Coaches weighed about 2,500 pounds and cost $1,100 each.

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe, i.e. purple goldfish, is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’. It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE?

Download the FREE eBook here

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here