Persona Card Management, a Lesson from Amazon

Card Management System

Have you ever felt like 'big brother' is watching you? Have you visited a website and seen an advertisement for a product you were shopping for on Amazon earlier that week? How is it that the website you visit knows you were shopping for that item? Did Google tell them?

The truth is that when you are shopping on (or other sites) they drop something called a cookie, which is a small file, onto your computer or browser memory The cookie contains information that websites can use to remember that user, including what you were shopping for on Amazon. To make matters even more interesting, the next time you visit Amazon and scroll to the bottom of the page they have a list of items that you might be interested in based on information provided by the cookie files on your PC. The worst part is that you probably are intrigued by a few of these items. How is it that Amazon knows what I want before I know what I want? It's fascinating how Amazon can track my online behavior and use that to market to me in an intelligent and targeted manner.  

At this point, you may have experienced one of two feelings. 1) You're completely creeped out and no longer want to use the internet. 2) You are asking yourself what your credit union can learn from Amazon's marketing strategy. If you meet the creeped out criteria, don't worry, everyone is. 

Another marketing strategy used by Amazon and many other companies is persona marketing. A persona is a semi-fictional representation of a customer based on market research such as demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, income, purchasing patterns, etc...  Personas are used to create a precise image of an ideal customer to market to.  


How to implement persona marketing strategies with your card management system

A credit union data processing system should provide you with a card management system that offers an infinite number of card spending limits that you can activate. When implementing a card persona strategy, how do you find a balance between keeping your credit union in control, while allowing John Doe spending freedom based on his needs and not Jane Doe's needs? Here are a few tips to find equilibrium in your card management relationships. 

  1. Create member personas. Create a unique and descriptive example of a credit union member. What are his or her spending habits like? What are the amounts of their largest transactions? What is the most they spend in a one-day shopping spree? Come up with several different personas that dig into the granular detail of your members' spending habits.  
  2. Create card categories by persona. Once the member persona definitions are complete, create a card category for each persona. No two members are exactly the same but find similarities in their behavior. Use these similarities to meet the members needs through grouping.
  3. Set limits by card category. Use the information gathered from the member persona research to set limits by card category. Set daily limits for ATM, POS transactions and maximum debits for each card category. This is the step that will give credit unions control over the member that needs to be closely managed and constrained yet liberates the stable member to spend freely.   

Download the Card Persona White Paper

By implementing the persona marketing strategy to your card portfolio you are now serving each member based on their specific needs. Stop trying to cast a wide net that hopefully appeases everyone. We've all heard the phrase, "you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time" and while that remains true, let's make an effort to increase the number of members that we can please "all of the time".    

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