Data mining helps UN credit union sell global credit cards

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Data mining helps UN credit union sell global credit cards
Data mining helps UN credit union sell global credit cards

Client: United Nations Federal Credit Union

Agency: In-house

Objective: Leverage a database to bolster global launch efforts for a new credit card.

The United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU), a nonprofit financial institution serving more than 90,000 United Nations agency staffers, retirees and their families, wanted to launch a Visa "smart card" aimed at individuals who travel frequently overseas. 

"We were targeting our international members, as well as those that are global travelers due to the enhanced security features and added convenience associated with this product," says Jamie O'Donnell, CRM and research manager at the UNFCU. The smart cards with embedded computer chips that eliminate the need to sign credit card slips are standard overseas, but not as common in the US market. 

STRATEGY: The multichannel launch effort relied on a refined segmentation of the UNFCU's marketing database to target members who are affluent global travelers, says O'Donnell. The segmentation targeted 30,000 individuals globally, seeking out high-income households and frequent international travelers, among several variables.

The credit union has evolved its marketing efforts in recent years from a mass-market focus to a data-driven direct marketing strategy. That includes a transition from fragmented data systems to an integrated database that includes transaction data, such as recent card usage and transaction types, and also overlays demographic, geographic and psychographic data to target relevant audiences, says O'Donnell. 

The Visa card launch relied on direct mail as the primary channel, but the effort also included branch signage at locations in the US and abroad, emails and online banners. The message on the collateral materials focused on the benefits of the credit card's travel-related features.

RESULTS: The effort generated a 3% response rate, which was fully quantifiable, thanks to tracking codes in the direct mail pieces. By comparison, the industry average for credit card promotions among most large financial institutions is about 0.5%, says O'Donnell. 

The 10-week campaign launched in late October and led to a lift in credit card applications of more than 100%, says O'Donnell. It has issued just over 1,000 new cards so far, and it's still seeing results, he adds.

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