Digital key to E*TRADE's future

9 June 2014
NEW YORK: E*TRADE, the online broker, is seeking to “wipe the slate clean” from a marketing strategy perspective, a move forming part of a wider shift away from its iconic campaign starring a talking baby.

Rich Muhlstock, E*TRADE's svp/branding and acquisition, discussed the organisation's developing approach at the Mobile Media Upfront 2014, an event held during Internet Week 2014 in New York.

“We'd like to wipe the slate clean from the past, and we've started to do that this year,” he said. (For more, including details of E*TRADE's new Type E* campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Bye bye baby: Why E*TRADE is moving on from an iconic campaign.)

“This year, as an example, is the first year E*TRADE spends more on digital channels – mobile included in that – than we do across any other channel … and really, in 2015, it will be a complete clean slate.”

Having retired the talking baby after six years, its latest campaign is based around the satisfaction experienced by individuals who take control of their investments, and features the actor Kevin Spacey.

Behind the evolution in its positioning rests an equally profound transition in strategic thinking, as Muhlstock revealed to the conference audience.

“In the first quarter, we planned very differently than we have in the past: it was less television, much more digital; it was the first time we really as a company got into mobile in a more significant way.”

Making greater use of new media, rather than strictly adhering to the idea of TV as the lead medium, reflects core truths about the primary target audience for E*TRADE's service, he explained.

“We're an online broker, so we know that if you don't use the web, and you don't surf the web, and you don't use your mobile phone, chances are you're not right for us,” Muhlstock said.

“We'll take you, and we still have branches where people can walk in, but it's not our focus. Our focus is really on that online investor.”

Looking ahead, E*TRADE is also setting aside funds to experiment, identify which tactics work best, optimise its approach and amplify the most effective techniques.

“A good percentage of our budget is all test and learn. So we will go out and experiment, and try a lot of smaller programmes to see what sticks,” said Muhlstock.

Data sourced from Warc
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