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How Marcus by Goldman Sachs took to the streets of New York to market its high yield savings account

  • Online bank, Marcus found consumers have no idea about their interest rates.
  • The Goldman Sachs service interviewed average people to drive the message home.
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How Marcus by Goldman Sachs took to the streets of New York to market its high yield savings account

Marcus, the online consumer bank by Goldman Sachs, has been running a man-on-the-street ad campaign about recent research the company conducted. According to the survey, 60 percent of Americans with savings accounts don’t know the interest rate on their savings account, and *more than half* of Americans with savings accounts (56 percent) opened theirs without exploring other options.

Dustin Cohn, head of brand and marketing communications at Marcus, joins the podcast to talk about the survey and why Marcus chose interest rates as a differentiator. We unpack the recent advertising campaign and explore the recent acquisition and integration of personal finance app, Clarity Money.

The genesis of the campaign

This campaign started with a basic question: if consumers knew how much they could be earning with a high-yield savings account, why wouldn’t they move their money? We did a proprietary study that revealed that 60 percent of people didn’t know the interest rate they were getting on their bank accounts. In fact, over half the people who opened savings accounts never really shopped around to explore their options and other rates.

That’s an impactful fact that we wanted to humanize. So, we took to the streets of New York and interviewed dozens of regular people on the street and put that statistic to the test. For the most part, no one knew the interest rate they were getting. We asked them who they banked with and showed them the rates they were getting at their current banks. They were surprised by how low they were. We also showed them that a savings account at Marcus by Goldman Sachs returned four times the national average.

How people shop for bank accounts

Some consumers open up a checking account and over time, open up a savings account with the same bank. Banking with their bank becomes a habit and they don’t shop around for higher rates. There’s also a lack of awareness in the marketplace about interest rates. Oftentimes, people just assume it’s very low and there’s nothing they can do about it. That’s the real concept we’re trying to explore and spark a conversation around.

Why Marcus by Goldman Sachs focuses on interest rates

Because we have such an advantage of not having brick and mortar and the cost of branches, we can pass along the savings to our consumers and provide them with higher interest rates. We also want to make sure we provide great customer service. We have call centers and pick up the phone when you call us. That experience on the phone and online is fairly seamless and is user friendly. We’re transparent in our product offerings and talk in straightforward language with no jargon. Consumers find value in the interest rates but also in how easy and transparent it is to work with us.

The role of Clarity Money + Marcus

The overarching vision we have at Marcus is to help consumers’ money work harder. Whether it’s a personal loan with no fees or helping consumers consolidate their high interest rate credit card loans, Clarity is no different. Through Clarity, consumers can better budget and save, making their money work harder.

One of my favorite features that Clarity Money has is pointing out needless subscriptions. So, you could have three music subscriptions that you’ve forgotten about and Clarity Money will point that out. You can even cancel the subscriptions through the app itself.

The Marcus approach to marketing

Dustin Cohn, Marketing at Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Dustin Cohn is a managing director at Goldman Sachs

Most of my career has been in consumer packaged goods. Previously, I worked for Pepsico in the Gatorade division. I ran marketing communications for several years. I ran the Propel business, as well. After that, I was the chief marketing officer at Jockey, the apparel company. My boss ,when he was recruiting for this role at Marcus, wanted someone outside of financial services who appreciated the need to build a brand that provided value to consumers above and beyond the actual products.

We’ve built a content hub on Marcus.com that provides articles and videos that help people demystify their finances. We’re not selling anything on this content hub. It’s purely to help consumers and build a brand in the marketplace. I tend to think differently than marketers in financial services. We’re really focused on helping consumers solve their pain points and unfortunately, there are a lot of pain points in financial services.

When we started Marcus, we put consumers at the center of everything we did. I lead a research project — before we had a website, product or even a name — where we understood those pain points. You can see that today in our product.

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