Case Study: American Express Foursquare Sync

posted by Will Salkeld

American Express recently partnered with foursquare to give cardholders access to a creative yet practical location-based campaign.

American Express partners with Foursquare to Sync credit cards for carholder social media dealsThe campaign – funded primarily by American Express – allowed cardholders to sync their AMEX credit card with their foursquare account, giving them access to exclusive deals from participating stores.

Rather than having to show store staff a virtual coupon, users are given an option to click a green button that asks if they’d like to load the deal to their card. A deduction is then automatically taken off their next bill and an email and message is sent to confirm that the discount has been registered. (Example deals: Those who spend $50 at Sports Authority will receive a $20 discount. At H&M they’ll get $10 when they spend $75.)

It’s an admirable idea by American Express, who have gone from strength to strength in social media in the last few years. And as giant social media pressure systems collide generating a whirlwind of updates, interest and speculation, it’s also exciting to see that Foursquare are adding weight to their product offering to avoid becoming the cow that gets sucked up the spout of the Facebook/Google tornado.

Four reasons why this campaign is awesome:

1. It’s seamless – Ever taken coupon up to a counter to have it scrutinised by a store attendant? Drawing attention to oneself can be an awkward experience, especially considering many consumers don’t want to appear ‘cheap’. The sync eliminates this barrier by automating the process through bill deductions, meaning operational staff don’t even have to be aware of the offer. By removing the friction they enticed participation.

2. Inventory Management – Merchants have amazing control over the products and services that they can stimulate sales for and awareness of, which adds a tangible ROI to the whole process. I could see this working really well in conjunction with a product launch or a multi-platform social media promotion.

3. It has reach – Because the deals are promoted to all cardholders, participating vendors are able to tap into a very broad array of consumers rather than their existing customer base. Unlike most other foursquare deals this one is less about loyalty, which widens the potential for growing a community and developing new brand patronage.

4. Leadership – In the cluttered and competitive card payment world, newness is everything. By harnessing existing consumer relationships with brands and leveraging new social media technologies, American Express has positioned itself as a leader in the field of innovation. The campaign shows that the company is taking appropriate steps to convert consumers to its innovative payment system, using a youthful point-of-difference to target the consumers who are most likely to jump ship to AMEX.

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