Wells Fargo Steps Out of Its B2B Comfort Zone

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros
wells fargo
Wells Fargo repositioned its image at the Money 20/20 event to offer a more unified branding experience.

Wells Fargo realized that if it wanted to boost its B2B business, it needed to change the status quo. At the recent ANA’s Masters of B2B conference in Chicago, Wells Fargo EVP and head of integrated marketing Michael Lacorazza shared how the bank shook things up to connect with B2B customers.

Operate in the moment. Creating an agile work environment, having dedicated resources and eliminating unnecessary layers of reviews can help teams get timely campaigns to market quicker, for greater impact.

In Boston, to promote its wholesale banking services, Wells Fargo used its CRM system to identity customers to focus on, and then used digital retargeting to reach them across multiple platforms. Wholesale banking is a significant line of business for the company: 50 lines of business serve a variety of verticals, and it represents 33 percent of total Wells Fargo revenue and 49 percent of its net income.

An outdoor messaging takeover in the city’s financial district coupled with a dimensional direct mail campaign right after the Red Sox’s last World Series helped get prospects’ attention. The mailing included a book on Boston’s “wicked awesome” reign of winning sports teams, and suggested that recipients needed to “count on the right team” to elevate their business.

The result was a 79 percent increase in scheduled meetings between relationship managers and clients, and the campaign served as a template for future CRM initiatives.


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Create value where customers need it. Wells Fargo has experience working with high tech clients, but many technology enterprises were unaware of this area of expertise. A “Moments of Truth” branded content partnership with Bloomberg showcased leaders talking about a key point in their growth trajectory. This created a “sweet spot” that helped the bank connect with high tech entrepreneurs looking to grow their own companies.

The content marketing push utilized a “POET” strategy—paid, owned, earned and team—with promotions across social channels, display advertising on Bloomberg.com, TV and radio spots on Bloomberg channels and other Bloomberg channels. The partnership identified different client profiles and used testimonials with companies that would appeal to those targets to create engagement.

Fifty-five percent of the prospects who saw the content said they had a positive impression of Wells Fargo, and 67 percent said they wanted to learn more about the bank’s services.

Don’t be afraid of change. In many companies, the sales and marketing teams battle over who owns a lead. But, said Lacorazza, if you can get past those epic battles, that energy can be better used working together to bring that opportunity to the table.

Wells Fargo’s event marketing strategy had become fractured and disjointed, and needed to be reimagined.  The Money 20/20 conference—slated this year for Oct. 27-30 at The Venetian in Las Vegas—was restructured as a more unified brand experience, positioning the event as a place where learning happens.

When visitors arrive at the airport in Vegas, they are greeted with ads featuring the Wells Fargo logo that proclaim “Welcome to Money 20/20. Please disrupt responsibly.” Outdoor advertising on the route from the airport to the hotel features message like “You know tech. We know scale” and “Augment your reality funding.”

Because food is the way to just about anyone’s heart, branding was also featured on a self-service café at the event. Adjacent to the snack spot was areas where people could hold meetings—with or without Wells Fargo bankers—and spaces that showcased technology.

The changes at the event led to a 136 percent increase in one-to-one meetings, a 244 percent increase in new customer opportunities and a 30 percent increase in attendance at client receptions. Hundreds of demos were also given to customers and prospects at the event.

Focus on diversity and inclusion. In many sectors, B2B is now B2MB—business to multicultural business.

“The nature of the c-suite is changing,” said Lacorazza. “It’s no longer just 56-year-old white men.”

For financial marketers, keeping up with the changes is vital, because the face of American entrepreneurism is also evolving. Start-ups are no longer the purview of Silicon Valley “tech bros,” he said. Small business growth is being driven by a number of diverse segments—African American small business ownership, for example, was up 400 percent last year.

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