Credit Card Shenanigans

by Braden Kelley

increase cash flowIt must be great to be in the credit card business in the United States. Demand is relatively inelastic and regulation is lax, so you can charge whatever you want for an interest rate, increase your fees once or twice a year, and make additional money off cash withdrawals and foreign exchange transactions.

I nearly fell out of my chair after paying my American Express bill through their automated phone system, to find that Citibank wanted to charge me $14.95 for the “privilege” of doing all the work for them of setting up a payment. Let me get this straight you Citibank greedy bastards, you are going to charge me more to use a process that you set up to save you money. Thank you very much, but I hope you have fun leaking profits by processing my check, the phone calls I’m going to make, the negative word of mouth I’m going to give you, and the transaction volume I’m going to send American Express‘ way. I think Citibank’s MBA’s chose not to take Brand Management in school.

This industry is as close to a license to print money as you can get, but yet they are still not fully maximizing the revenue opportunities. If any of you out there are executives with a credit card company and would like to know exactly how to do it, go to the contact page and give me a bell or post me a letter or an email and we work together to create some new profits through a business strategy innovation.

For the rest of you, I’ll give you a hint by asking you a few questions:

  1. Do you open your credit card bill every month?
  2. If not, why not?
    • You’re delinquent and can’t face it
    • You’re in jail
    • Your wife or husband hid it so you wouldn’t see how much they spent
  3. Do you ever not get at least one special offer in the envelope?

Now you may be saying to yourself:

“But Braden, they’re already making money by getting someone to pay them to put special offers in the envelope, you’ve missed the boat to innovate in this space.”

Have I?

I’ll wrap it up here are some more questions.

  1. What other piece of direct marketing can guarantee an “open” and even has a solution to guarantee an “internal viewing”?
    • Remember with a piece of direct mail you are trying to get:
      1. an external viewing
      2. an open
      3. an internal viewing
      4. a consideration
      5. possibly a discussion with others
      6. an action to contact
      7. a follow-through in the form of an order
    • Direct mail is lucky if it even gets half a glance at number one
  2. How much is that guaranteed open really worth?
  3. What kind of special offers do you tend to get?
  4. What kind of special offers would generate the highest response?
  5. Who is this moment in time valuable to?
    • This moment when someone is opening their credit card bill to find out how much they owe and a special offer falls out.
  6. How can the credit card companies maximize their income from the value of this moment?

uncover hidden profitsThese are the kind of situations and questions we can help you find answers for. In business we tend to define a strategy and then hand it over to operations to make its then transactional nature as efficient as possible. In most people’s minds it is the achievement of execution and negotiation efficiency that generates profits.

To create “new profits”, you have to circle back around and look at things differently and establish the capability in your organization to continually do this.

Working with companies to find “new profits” is what we do. We will work with you to create the capacity and ongoing capability in your organization to innovate in ways beyond the creation of new products and new services. Most product and service innovations are sustaining innovations that keep you even with your competitors. To truly leapfrog your competitors and make it more possible to meet the ever increasing demands of your shareholders, get that big fat bonus, and create a secure retirement and a future for your family, you must find new profits.

Contact me to see how we can work together to find new profits in your business, and stay tuned for the next interesting topic on the Business Strategy Innovation Blog!


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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a Social Business Architect and the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden is also a popular innovation speaker and trainer, and advises companies on embedding innovation across the organization and how to attract and engage customers, partners, and employees.

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