HSBC-owned telephone and internet bank First Direct has launched an online social network to help generate a sense of community and allow the sharing of recommendations amongst its UK customer base.

Built by digital agency MadeByPi with communications managed by digital marketing company Mailtrack, ‘Little Black Book’ will be offered to all of First Direct’s UK customers.

Customers who use the site will be invited to share tips on topics such as day trip ideas and favourite restaurants, and will be able to find recommendations relevant to them by searching via postcode.

The user-generated online hub - www.firstdirect.com/littleblackbook - has been trialed by 20,000 of the bank’s most online savvy customers, and its launch will be supported by a press campaign targeting lifestyle magazines and quality national newspapers, plus online banners in First Direct's familiar black and white format.

Jenny Southwell, head of e-marketing at First Direct, says “We place the customer experience at the heart of everything we do, and with the internet remaining such a fundamental part of our business, it was important for us to embrace new methods of creating value for our customers. Little Black Book is a way for us to give something back other than through direct banking.”

Guy Marson, CEO of Mailtrack comments: “Social networks offer brands an innovative and refreshing way of generating long lasting customer loyalty and goodwill. Offering valuable and useful customer generated information, First Direct’s Little Black Book is a genuinely new and bold step for the financial sector and a great example of what I’m sure will become one of the leading branded community based websites around.”

The communications functionality as well as the delivery and management of all emails from the site have been implemented by Mailtrack, a leading digital marketing company specialising in customer acquisition and retention. The site was designed and built by specialist digital agency MadeByPi.
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About Mailtrack

Mailtrack delivers digital marketing solutions to organisations across all industry sectors; working directly with major brands and agencies alike to solve real issues faced by marketers in the ever changing world of digital marketing.

Established in 1999, Mailtrack is independently run and with its customer acquisition specialist arm Mailtrack Media and its customer retention specialist team ProDigital, the company has developed its own Customer Lifecycle Marketing methodology which advises clients through every stage of their relationship with customers to produce the maximum return on marketing investment.

Deploying the very latest in technology, Mailtrack’s services include email and mobile marketing, media planning and buying, list broking, search engine marketing, creative design, streaming, virals, online coupons, and digital surveys. Mailtrack also provides clients with fully managed or self-serviced hosted solutions and consultancy.

Mailtrack co-founded the Email Marketing Council and is also a member of the DMA. Mailtrack Media has been the named the largest independent list broker by Precision Marketing magazine in the UK since 2006.

Published on: 12:00AM on 26th November 2008