American Express Accelerates Growth by Transforming Data Into Dollars


American Express

For the past few years, multinational financial services powerhouse American Express has been leveraging its enormous amounts of data to provide valuable insights for brands and benefits for customers.

Ash Gupta, President of Global Credit Risk and Information Management for Amex, has overseen the build of a culture that democratizes data, giving its customers power at the local level through “one-click cross-sell.”

“The transformation was larger than we imagined,” said Gupta. “It has taken us just five years to get the type of results and outcomes we wanted to achieve initially. Big Data is a mindset. We see Big Data as a fundamental driver of the future of American Express.”

CEO and Chairman Kenneth Chenault navigated a difficult 2015 and is now focused on broader distribution of Amex cards to merchants—such as its exclusive partnership with Sam’s Club warehouse chain—while encouraging customers to spend more on their Amex cards.

American Express Sam's Club

The brand recently partnered with Viacom on a project called Vantage Intent, which uses anonymized data and predictive analytics to allow marketers to target potential buyers before they make a purchase.

One top challenge facing American Express is to maintain its differentiated cardholders who pay their debt monthly and receive perks and lower interest rates in exchange for annual fees—echoing its decades-old “Membership has its privileges” slogan. To that end, the financial services brand offers members unique access to events such as Fashion Week, Broadway shows, concerts and the US Open Tennis Championships.

“We need to accelerate our efforts and we have a plan to do just that,” said Chenault. “It includes three priorities: accelerate revenue growth, reduce our expense base, and optimize our investments and continue to use our capital strength to create value for shareholders.”

Amex is in a strong position to mine its data bank of member transactions and payment history in innovative ways to remain responsive to today’s mobile-first world. As the music industry’s second-largest financial services partner, it rolled out #AmexAccess integration at the Panorama Music Festival in New York City, where card members were eligible for unique access and perks throughout the festival via an app.

Panorama American Express Amex

Walter Frye, VP Global Experiential Marketing, American Express, said, “The #AmexAccess Panorama app integration is yet another proof point of Amex’s digital transformation strategy to meet our digitally savvy Card Members and partners where they are to create slick and seamless payment and access experiences.”

The company was founded in 1850, and offered the first money orders in 1882, followed by the first Traveler’s Cheques in 1891. The Amex card debuted in 1958 with an annual fee of $6—and in five years, the brand had more than a million people signed on. It remains one of the 30 stocks included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average—and new leaps and partnerships are sure to provide Amex with ample opportunities for future growth.