Fair, Isaac & Co., the dominant credit scoring firm in the nation, is throwing its weight behind a new direct mail and telemarketing company, Insight Technologies.
As an investor and business partner, Fair Isaac will help Insight Technologies bring targeted value-added services to banks and retailers.
The goal is to give clients higher positive returns on direct-mail solicitations, such as vacation packages or dental insurance.
"This is a first for us," said John Gerbino, director of business development for Fair Isaac.
"Our core competency is predicting consumer behavior and using those predictions to deliver business value to clients - that should help Insight succeed," said Mr. Gerbino.
Dynamark Inc., a subsidiary of the California firm will provide predictive modeling and database-management services for the new venture.
Similar to companies like CUC International or the Signature Group, which stuff envelopes with offers to consumers, Insight will use Fair Isaac's predictive modeling to determine more decisively, through shopping and spending patterns and other available data, what consumers want.
"The overall concept is one that will integrate direct mail and telemarketing into a very targeted segmentation process identifying consumers and what products are right for them," said Tom Glanfield president of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based marketing company.
Mr. Glanfield, a former executive vice president of Nabanco, the credit card processor, also worked for Chase Manhattan Bank, Citicorp, and Canadian Imperial Bank in New York.
"We're trying to improve response rates and revenue streams [for banks] by using our products and techniques," he said.
Mr. Glanfield said his company, with the expertise of Fair Isaac's predictive models, could target consumers by income, location, travel preferences and shopping habits.
The company will begin by sending shopping, home security, health care, travel and entertainment, and automotive offers.
For example, Insight Technologies might offer wealthy non-married cardholders a higher-end vacation package, and solicit middle-income parents with family-style camping packages.
As time and technology advance, offers could be tailored to fit individual consumers and smaller groups.
Data will come from banking and retail clients, as well as from information warehouses, which include home ownership, demographic, and motor vehicle data.
However, Ruth Susswein, executive director of Bankcard Holders of America, a Virginia-based consumer group raised privacy issues. "If information is collected for one purpose, it should not be used for another purpose without the consumer's consent or knowledge."
She said that while there was no harm in getting targeted offers, consumers listed as having certain sexual preferences or medical ailments for marketing purposes might be discriminated against at another point by someone else who became privy to that information.
"My reaction to their service is, it might be very beneficial, but where do we stop?" she asked.
"We're talking about using data allowed to be used to target things more relevant to the consumer, so in terms of the marketing process they get offers geared to them," said Mr. Gerbino. "We recognize the sensitivity of the data."
While Mr. Glanfield said his company is the first to combine predictive modeling with direct marketing, CUC spokeswoman Sandra Morgan said, "We do all of our own internal modeling. We have very sophisticated marketing techniques."