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The Am-pire strikes back

American Express uses online content to battle the rising popularity of mobile money

Last week, The Message brought you news of the rise of payment apps and how they are not – yet – likely to replace traditional means of buying goods. Give it a few years, however, and we all know it’s likely to be a different story.

Clearly, the people at American Express can also see the day coming when mobile money transacted through Smartphones is going to pose a series threat to credit cards and have decided to make a pre-emptive strike.

Just like the London Olympics, Amex has joined forces with location-based social network Foursquare to launch a range of voucher-free offers in the UK. This follows from a similar partnership that began in the US in June last year and, unlike the London Olympics, has an indefinite timeframe.

The scheme has been launched to counter the push being made by other companies to mobile payment apps. Participants sync their credit card to Foursquare to be eligible for certain offers.

‘We are trying to do is build a multi-faceted experience so that a user, who might be opening an app to see where their friends are or a recommendation of where to go next, might stumble upon a deal,’ Foursquare’s Chief Operating Officer Evan Cohen told the BBC.

American Express clearly thinks this partnership will pay dividends, because although it does not share data on its members’ spending habits with Foursquare, it can provide information that could prove invaluable to the social media and content marketing strategies of participating businesses.

‘Merchants can host these types of special without needing to train their staff, which can be timely and cost prohibitive,’ said Stacy Gatz, Amex’s Vice President of International Social Media Strategy. ‘We can then go back to the merchant and give them information about the number of people that redeemed the offer and also the amounts that the card members were spending, so we can provide to them pretty rich data.’

Whether this strategy can match the growing appeal of technology remains to be seen, but clearly the traditional players aren’t about to go down without a fight.

 

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