The beauty of marketing credit cards lies in the unique dynamics of the product. Anticipate and address these dynamics and you can continue deriving income from the same customer over a lifetime.

Though credit cards are a commodity, they differ in key aspects from other products in the same category—like, say, soap. Cards are neither self-liquidating nor disposable. In the payments space, design elements, brand preference, store placement and packaging take a backseat to communication: it’s all about serving up the right offer, to the right audience, at the right time, with the right messaging.

Similarly, the marketing process for credit cards doesn’t end with the consumer purchase decision; in fact, the decision to purchase (i.e. apply for) a card is just the beginning. Customer journey management is what drives successful retention and long-term outcomes. To retain a customer over decades, a bankcard needs to evolve with customers over their lifecycle.

The key to retention is to anticipate and fulfill your customers’ needs and wants, articulated and not, and do it before the competition can. That takes a commitment to primary and secondary research through data gathering, validation and testing.

Using and updating this information regularly, a marketer can:
• develop and tweak effective long-game strategies
• evolve the marketing mix
• create triggers to optimize customer interaction

The process includes emotional, life event and customer journey triggers. A bankcard issuer, for example, would proactively manage customers through a product ladder associated with aging, income, credit, emotional state and other attributes. Each key life event, such as moving, marriage, divorce, buying a house and retirement, provides opportunities to realign the product and customer interactions. These may include product upgrades, line management adjustments, adaptive messaging, product and feature refinements and cross-selling opportunities.

In the credit card space, it’s expensive to acquire a new customer, and there are inherent limits to the potential for market expansion. These conditions put a spotlight on customer retention and growth as the way to maximize earnings. Managing customer value and programming systemic customer journey management interactions is essential to maintaining a competitive advantage.

Interested in a disciplined, data-driven approach that matches your marketing to your cardmembers’ evolving lifestyles? At Creative Solutions we’ve been doing it for decades, and we’re eager to share what we know.  Feel free to call us at 302-543-8533 or email us to schedule a free consultation.