Surprise, Surprise: How American Express Is More Disruptive Than The Entire Payments Industry Combined

By Michael Caccavale, CEO, Pluris Marketing

While the media focus is on disruptors like Apple Pay, PayPal, Square, SnapCash and the like, American Express is quietly setting the innovation bar in the offer management and optimization space.

Yes, you heard me right: Boring old American Express is using email, often called the “abused channel” to eat the payments industry’s lunch when it comes to custom targeting and people-based marketing.

The key to AMEX’s success is the combination of unrivaled access to consumer data, and trust in how the firm leverages these unique assets.

The company cranked it up this past holiday season with ‘AMEX Offers,’ serving up customized email to AMEX customers with promotions from places they already shop at. Check out the example below.

Do you see what’s on display here? Unlike the aforementioned lot of ‘disruptors’, AMEX not only tracks buying behavior online, but also has access to people’s brick and mortar purchasing habits. This means AMEX can serve cardmembers offers at physical retail locations in addition to online, and that’s what you see in this email offer.

Where the rubber really meets the road is how easy AMEX makes it for people to redeem these offers. You simply click “Save Offer” and whenever you make a purchase at that website or store with your AMEX card, the coupon will automatically be redeemed. So, click all the offers you want, forget about them after, and when you naturally make future purchases at those places you frequent you’ll reap the rewards.

Now, as marketing offer optimization specialists know, this is only the beginning of AMEX’s collection of data. Depending on which offers people click on, AMEX is able to collect more data and better refine future offers — all while continuing to collect additional purchasing data as consumers’ mature and modify their buying habits.

And don’t think the only value in this for AMEX is happy customers. What AMEX is doing is moving people through a marketing funnel, with incentives to shop at preferred partners. It’s brilliant, really. And don’t think for a second AMEX isn’t getting financially rewarded by its retail partners for its efforts.

AMEX has the trust factor, and I don’t see any of the latest tech innovators robbing that claim from them… ever.

As the leader of Pluris Marketing, CEO Michael Caccavale is the innovator and forward-thinker behind the company’s marketing enablement, analytics and optimization solutions and has led the company in creating and executing programs for major media providers, retailers and customer-facing fortune 500 companies.

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