MasterCard, DMM open data-driven divisions

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MasterCard Worldwide has launched a data analytics and marketing service for its clients, a sign that validates marketers' trust in transactional data. Direct Media Millard, an Infogroup-owned firm, also announced an analytics consultancy. These launches follow American Express' decision late last year to launch an analytics and consulting division. 

Called Advisors Merchant Solutions, the goal of the MasterCard service is to help companies understand spending activity, evaluate performance compared with competitors and focus direct marketing campaigns to target the most precise segments and prospects.

MasterCard's platform launch, which occurred weeks after the debut of AmEx's service, aims to help marketers make their campaigns and research even more relevant to consumers. The launch is another sign that credit card companies have realized the value of customer purchasing data, said Dave Frankland, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

“Transactional data has proven to be the most predictive data, and so it gives marketers the opportunity to significantly broaden their view across channels,” he said. “This is cross-category and global and nothing like that has been available until now.”

MasterCard said that the service was built on the application of analytic and behavioral modeling techniques. The information that MasterCard provides is intended for various personnel at merchant companies, from marketing to operations, according to MasterCard.

The company said it takes into account reporting, modeling and consumer behavior segmentation from billions of transactions processed each year from across 340 million credit, charge and debit cards in the US. The reporting also incorporates sales estimates from other payment forms in retail sectors to try to provide a view of retail activity at national and local levels.

A number of retailers used the credit card company's pilot program, including Hhgregg, an appliance and electronics retailer. The company used the program to aid efforts to gain new customers.

“We have a long history of working with merchants, and just about every one we speak to states the need for enhanced, actionable information and more effective marketing solutions,” David Clarke, group executive for US commerce development at MasterCard Worldwide, said at the time of the service's launch.

InfoGroup-owned list management firm Direct Media Millard's consultancy has a similar goal: to improve marketers' business intelligence. It offers market research, such as focus groups, usability labs, phone interviews and online surveys, business intelligence, data mining and more. Bill LaPierre, SVP, will lead the initiative.

Last month, Leading Hotels of the World said it is working with AmEx to supplement the analytics work it does based on its own consumer data. The company markets its services to upscale independent hotels. And while AmEx's customers tend to be categorized as “affluent,” the company said its breadth of data is so large that its analysis can represent the general population.

Frankland added that while marketing data security is a major concern to many consumers, he expects that the credit card companies have taken that into consideration.

“One concern is about privacy, and they are saying that they are not going to do anything that will cross the line, and they are in fact probably stopping several yards short of the line,” he said.
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