Bolder Thinking Blog

Amex amps up experiential marketing

October 2nd, 2019 | Rachael Warren

Throughout the last two years, American Express has been exploring how to better highlight experiential rewards in its email communications. 

What’s working

Ultimately, our analysis suggests an old truth: data, in combination with effective personalization, lends to a stronger campaign — with “effective” being the tour de force. As a brand shapes its communications with customers, as well as makes strategic decisions on which events to promote, it should take into account how to leverage its partners to inform targeting data. Relationships with partners can be mutually beneficial, especially when vendors are experts in the industry. 

American Express used its exclusive partnership with Ticketmaster to better tailor events of interest to its core audience, adding concrete value to the rewards program. Then, they took things a step further: By ensuring that email creative was clear, concise, and transparent, offers were relevant both to personal interests and location, as were card referrals. 

What brands can learn

Consumer expectations are shifting, with younger generations primed to prefer ‘once-in-a-lifetime experiences’ over material Exclusive Email Promotion #1possessions. For Millennials, experiences are an opportunity to connect with their own identities, to connect with others, and to connect with the global community as a whole. 

By cultivating a narrative around rewards that is sensitive to why and how experiences have value to the consumer, a brand better encourages use and positions its service as genuinely relevant. Rewards programs like American Express Experiences speak to this deeper consumer motivation. Its program acts as a way to provide rare experiences but also attempts to reward social connection in meaningful, personalized ways that better communicate those benefits to its customers. 

In regards to referrals specifically, it is important to keep in mind that referrals are social currency. Highlighting a social benefit could be just as relevant to a consumer’s decision to refer depending on how a brand frames its message.

Rachael Warren

Rachael Warren

Rachael Warren is an Insights Analyst at Comperemedia, responsible for building custom and syndicated reports analyzing marketing strategy across media channels in the financial services and other industries.