Why the big four banks win

A couple of weeks ago, wearing my magazine editor’s hat, I attended a meeting at which I was asked for some input into a project one of the big four banks will run in the second half of 2011.
Yep that’s right … at least eight months from now.

These guys are thinking long term about their customer acquisition and retention strategies.

I mention this because, in the last few weeks, we’ve been thinking of refinancing our mortgage.

As part of my research for a new financial institution, as one does these days, I hit Google and searched for “credit unions Sydney”. The results were poor. Most of the credit unions had confusing websites. Contact details were hard to find and call centres did not operate out of business hours. Email seemed not be a medium with which credit unions were familiar.

This all left me thinking that, for all their faults, the big four are at least pretty good at communicating with prospects and customers. Even if they screw us once we’ve signed up.

Two more things have since told me more about why we stick with the big four.

One was a full-page ad placed in the SMH by the Credit Unions, pointing out that they represent a financial services alternative. The ad had no call to action and no contact details, which is pathetic.

The second was ongoing analysis of the deals on offer across several financial institutions. Long story short, we’ve found that bundling products, going for credit cards with points schemes (and always paying on time) then using points for things like shopping vouchers saves quite a bit each year. A little more, in fact, than moving to another financial institution.

So the big four have the littl’uns outmuscled on marketing and products.

No wonder there’s no-one at Credit Union HQ sharp enough to notice the missing call to action.


A press release from Scientology

I got a press release from Scientology today.

I won’t use it – the content is not exclusive and the publication it was sent to does not deal in second-hand content.

But I thought it would be fun to post it here.

So, without any further ado …






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                              7 November 2010

CONTACT: Karin Pouw

(323) 960-3500


Meet a Scientologist—Melissa Schiliro, Hairdresser:  Making People Feel Good and Look Great


Exuberant and full of life, Melissa Schiliro loves working at the family hairdressing salon in Sydney, Australia, where she goes out of her way help her clients get as much out of life as she does. Her profile is one of 200 “Meet a Scientologist” videos on the Scientology website at www.Scientology.org.

“People tell their hairdresser things they won’t even tell their friends,” says Melissa Schiliro.


In a video featured on the new Scientology Video Channel at www.Scientology.org, Schiliro opens the door to her salon and her life.


Schiliro runs and manages a hairdressing salon in Sydney with her mother and brother, where the atmosphere reflects how much the team of 11 staff like each other and their work.


“My mum is a hairdresser and I always admired her work and wanted to follow in her footsteps,” says Schiliro, 33, who enjoys nothing more than working hard and creating exactly the right look for a client.


“You meet people from all walks of life and you get quite close to them,” she says.  “They confide things to their hairdresser that they don’t tell anyone else and knowing Scientology I can always suggest something to help them with their problems.”


Schiliro, whose mother and two uncles are Scientologists, says, “I love Scientology—it is a workable technology that really assisted me.”


With her own life going right, Schiliro finds it natural to reach out to help people resolve their problems.


“That’s where the 19 booklets of the Scientology Handbook come in so handy,” she says.


Covering everything from communication skills to overcoming stress, improving relationships, resolving marriage problems and raising children, there is know-how for addressing nearly any situation.


“When someone has a problem, I can give them the right booklet and they leave with the practical tools they need.”


“I think it’s innate in me to just want to make people feel better,” says Schiliro, “and it makes you feel so good when you do something for someone else.”


View the Melissa Schiliro video at www.Scientology.org.



The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total 200 broadcast-quality documentary videos featuring Scientologists from diverse locations and walks of life. The personal stories are told by Scientologists who are educators, teenagers, skydivers, a golf instructor, a hip-hop dancer, IT manager, stunt pilot, mothers, fathers, dentists, photographers, actors, musicians, fashion designers, engineers, students, business owners and more.

A digital pioneer and leader in the online religious community, in April 2008 the Church of Scientology became the first major religion to launch its own official YouTube Video Channel, which has now been viewed by millions of visitors.

Scientologist Melissa Schiliro—hairdresser