New FICO Tool Provides Better, Faster Card Targeting

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.-In what it is calling a return to decades-old marketing tactics combined with new technology, credit-score giant FICO introduced a product designed to target credit card prospects more effectively in a sluggish market.

Fair Isaac Corp.'s FICO Bankcard Growth Solution is a compilation of software and algorithms that can slash by several weeks the typical time it takes for card issuers to refine a solicitation or promotion to get the maximum response, said Eric Wells, FICO senior director in analytics.

Immediate Assessment

Moreover, the new product can assess new customers' card use immediately, a task that is becoming increasingly important as issuers stake out different strategies to reignite card use after declines in outstandings and profits over the past two years, according to American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal.

"Many issuers are beginning to pursue sharply different strategies for different consumer sectors, such as going after 'transactors' (who tend to pay off their bills each month), those who want rewards and those most likely to want to revolve balances," Wells told American Banker.

"For issuers, it's become vitally important to learn right away whether consumers are actually behaving as their customer-acquisition systems predict."

FICO's new product uses updated analytic tools and technology to study consumers' reactions to product offers quickly. Issuers then can apply the findings to marketing campaigns via a computer desktop, Wells noted.

Quick Tweaks

The ability to gather feedback quickly enables card-marketing executives to tweak product features and specifics of card offers for maximum effect within a day or two of sending them via direct mail, the Internet, text message, a call center or through branches, he said.

"With this iteration of our tools, we are combining new technology with the sort of old-fashioned skill many issuers may have gotten away from, which is analyzing customers on a very granular level rather than on an automated, mass-market level, which had taken hold prior to the recession," Wells said.

"The new capability enables issuers to take a closer look at the unique qualities of each prospective customer's habits and preferences for using a credit card, alter card offers very precisely and keep experimenting with them daily to improve results in card activation and usage."

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