What do consumers value? What makes them sign up for a particular credit card? Credit card marketers are testing heavily to find the sweet spot. Whether it’s educating customers on card value by offering comparison tools or value proposition testing (miles vs. cash back vs. points or…?) with focus groups, credit card marketing clients are trying to understand what appeals most to consumers in this new economy.
And it’s no wonder. We’ve watched credit card marketing return after a several year virtual hiatus and one thing is clear: everything has changed – the economy, attitudes about credit, and new regulations – and credit card marketers are looking for answers.
The great recession changed the way that people use and view credit. And now that we are attempting to put it behind us, people are more cautious than ever, they also expect more. Ten percent fewer consumers have credit cards than 4 years ago and credit card debt in general is down from its height in 2008, as is the amount of revolving debt.*
That said, there are some common sense strategies for card marketers to follow. Here are 5 considerations for positioning your value prop to prospects and customers in marketing.
- Value rules. Consumers and businesses have had to tighten their spending and are looking to find the best value for their money. How is your value proposition going to help them save money, manage money, travel more, etc. ? (Hint: it’s not just telling prospects what you think the best card features are.)
- Simplify. Credit card companies are charged with simplifying their messaging to consumers so it’s easy for them to understand the offers and the potential upside and downside of the card they are considering getting. They should be able to understand the value proposition at a glance.
- Transparency. Regulations are pushing in this direction and consumers, more than ever expect full transparency of the specifics of card value propositions as well as customer service, fees and rates. They expect to have a say and will express their unhappiness in the social sphere loudly if they feel they are being deceived or ignored.
- Keep it in context. What’s going on in the world, economy, blogs and social media? Will this help with identifying the things people value in life (more money for “wants”, more travel, entertainment, family time, or fun money)? Positioning the value proposition benefits in light of what’s happening will give you a leg up. (See our 5 Trends in Financial Services Design article)
- Test, test, test. Try to put yourself in the minds of the prospects you are targeting and create your best communication, but don’t forget to test where you can. Test the value proposition alone, the creative, the relevancy of the message with focus groups and direct marketing (mail and email). Get people to tell you what they want through social media or surveys for direct feedback.
As evidenced by the proliferation of couponing and deal sites, consumers expect to find value in everything, including their credit cards. The value proposition, how it is positioned and explained, can make the difference between issuing a popular card and one that languishes in the marketplace. There has to be relevant perceived value to the prospect. The good news is, through thoughtful strategies, your marketing initiatives can get you where you need to be.
For more credit card statistics: