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FirstBank hones in on small business owners via location-based ads

FirstBank is wrapping geofences around branches in Colorado to rake in foot traffic from small business owners looking to open an account.

The locally-owned bank worked with TD_Boulder on the campaign, which also includes television, out of home, digital, print and radio components. FirstBank has used location-based advertising in the past, but this is the first campaign that takes a location-based ad to the next level with creative that changes dynamically based on how far a consumer is from a branch.

“Part of the challenge that we face for FirstBank in promoting their small business accounts and account growth is that you can’t actually open an account online like you could for a free checking account or a general banking account,” said Matt Best, media supervisor at TDA_Boulder, Boulder, CO.

“When you go to open a small business account, business owners have to come into one of the more than one hundred branches here in Colorado to physically open an account,” he said.

“Part of our strategy is to meet these very time-pressed small business owners while they’re on the go, and obviously the natural fit for that tends to be mobile media.”

Lakewood, CO-based FirstBank is a division of FirstBank Holding Co. and is Colorado’s largest locally-owned bank.

Location-based banking
FirstBank has set up geofences around the branches in Colorado to serve up location-based ads around a five-mile radius.

The ads are running within Verve’s network of mobile apps and sites.

The ads dynamically change to reflect how close consumers are within a tenth of a mile to a FirstBank location.

When consumers tap on the mobile ad, a landing page plots a consumer’s location on a map and shows nearby FirstBank locations.

Consumers can either view more contact information for the branches or click-through to learn more about the services that the bank offers small business owners.

The mobile campaign launched in mid October and will run through December.

For the radio portion of the marketing campaign, FirstBank is buying online and mobile ads with Pandora in addition to traditional spots on radio stations.

Given that Pandora’s traffic is skewed towards mobile, FirstBank’s Pandora buy has a heavier mix of mobile ads versus desktop.

FirstBank has used mobile advertising for the past three years in almost every campaign that the brand goes to market with, including display, mobile video and in-app advertising, according to Mr. Best.

FirstBank offers small business owners a microsite — — with tools and resources to start businesses from scratch or to grow an existent business.

The financial institution also recently rolled out a new mobile app that is available to all clients with real-time account management tools.

FirstBank’s mobile app

Digital video
FirstBank has also developed a 30-second TV spot around the tagline, “Start and Grow Today” that is meant to remind small business owners why they started their own business in the first place.

The TV ad will air on all broadcast networks and on 20 cable channels.

The videos will also run on digital outlets including Hulu and small business-focused media such as

The goal of the campaign is to make the FirstBank brand as competitive as possible with national banks, which are typically advanced  when it comes to mobile technology.

“As more consumers look for better tools and resources to manage their accounts and their banking relationships online, especially on mobile devices, we want FirstBank to be right in that conversation and thought of as a leader for regional banks and one of the first to go to market with some of the more advanced mobile ad platforms and mobile campaigns that are available to marketers right now,” Mr. Best said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York