Case Study

Workshop Digital Helps a Regional Bank Navigate a Merger & Acquisition

The Challenge

Mergers and acquisitions can bolster brand awareness and magnify market share. But expansion is always a risk.

The Outcome

Through paid search, Workshop Digital helped our client increase branded conversions and awareness in a new market.

The Story

In January 2018, Workshop Digital teamed up with a regional bank in a major market who was preparing for an acquisition. The bank had recently purchased an out-of-state bank and was planning an expansion into a smaller, but regionally adjacent, market.

Our client had a strong presence in their home state—with roots that have spanned more than a century—and a loyal consumer base. However, with the merger looming, the bank needed to successfully navigate a rebrand and expansion into a new market.

The Challenge

For our client, a successful expansion meant increased brand awareness, diversified revenue, and expanded market share. However, because of underutilized digital marketing efforts in the previous year, our client had a limited digital footprint. Plus, they were unsure of the landscape of the new market they were about to enter.

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Because customers may have emotional connections with regional banks, it was important for our client to manage customer perceptions with consistent communication. However, it was equally essential for them to deliver targeted messaging to reach the right audience at the right time. This meant unifying data and messaging across all touch points, channels, and product lines—so they could build awareness in a new market.

The Approach

After launching our partnership in January 2018, Workshop Digital helped the bank prepare for the acquisition in May 2018. To help the bank expand into new markets, we suggested PPC (pay-per-click) advertising on Google search. Because the bank had never properly invested in paid search, we built their PPC efforts from scratch. Our goal was to help the bank leverage the out-of-state bank’s brand to expand into new markets—and diffuse the inherent risk of the acquisition.

Specifically, Workshop Digital helped determine channel investment costs to devise a strategic account structure. This involved evaluating and modifying performance through device and geotargeting to launch location-specific campaigns. It included creating, testing, and optimizing ad copy to improve click-through and conversion rates. And it meant continued development and expansion of keywords based on reports, seasonality trends, and business initiatives.

The Results

Serving as an extension of their marketing team, Workshop Digital helped measure customer demand and increase brand awareness in new locations by separating campaigns based on products and services. After helping the bank navigate the acquisition in May, we noticed an uptick in data in early Q3. Six months after the account’s inception, we increased branded conversions and decreased branded cost per conversion (fig. 1).

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These positive conversion rates display a successful acquisition and rebrand. Through branded search, our client successfully expanded into their new geographic market and informed a new audience of the branch. In fact, conversions by product type were led by branded mentions, at more than 76%.

As an additional benefit, we saw how an acquisition can change the thought process of consumers not directly in a targeted region. For example, the bank’s successful expansion into a new market simultaneously bolstered the impressions in their existing major market. In fact, July 2018 saw a 67% increase in personal checking accounts, compared to the Q1 average.

Ultimately, paid search helped our client understand the intricacies of a new market, while freeing up resources for new business. Following this engagement, our client signed on for search engine optimization (SEO) services in September 2018. As of April 2019, the bank was preparing themselves for a complex rebrand—and has partnered with Workshop Digital to manage both their PPC and SEO strategies.