E*Trade's most recent commercial, featuring Kevin Spacey and Robert Duvall, opens and closes with the marketing manta "E*Trade is all about seizing opportunity." It's truly a rudderless statement that perfectly compliments E*Trade's overarching strategy, that "opportunity is everywhere," including but not limited to Scottrade, Charles Schwab and Fidelity. In fact, the "opportunity is everywhere" is so exquisitely generic that it can be applied to any other business; picture Coca-Cola all about seizing the opportunity for refreshment or Amazon seizing the opportunity to buy stuff.
Juxtapose this with E*Trade's most famous work; the "E*Trade baby" advertising. While they were adored for the cute and funny baby used, they were great advertising because the message was clear; buying stock is easy with E*Trade...so easy a baby could do it. It's a position that E*Trade worked hard to capture but is beginning to relinquish after years of search everywhere else for opportunities. In my opinion, they should seek to rediscover the value of simplicity, particularly for a younger investor.
That may happen soon. Earlier this month they decided it's time to cut their losses and seize the opportunity for change by putting their marketing up for review. E*Trade will need to look within to find it's next opportunity; meaningful differentiation.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.