Sunday, October 18, 2009

Monetizing Data Intelligence

We always knew that Credit Card Companies were very sophisticated in utilizing consumer data to be smart in new card member acquisition and monetizing them as ongoing members. But even I was surprised to read in the latest Fortune magazine that Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, mentioned the utilization of card member data as one of their most promising revenue streams in the near future:

“Another area that we feel strongly about is that we have information we can use in very effective ways for a range of partners. So, for example, what might be surprising is that the Darden restaurant (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and other brands) relies on us to help with site selection for its restaurants. We believe that our information, which h we use in our own business and marketing, can be used by retailers, restaurateurs, and other corporations to improve their business, and that’s an increasing focus for us.”

Most interesting is that companies like Amex are not just utilizing their own data to improve their own business but that they are more and more experimenting in building an incremental revenue source. Over the next few years, most companies with data volume that is representative enough to draw meaningful conclusions will attempt to monetize their data intelligence.

Data Intelligence becomes a vehicle for revenue growth by selling smart intelligence to other parties. Quite a few retailers tried to pursue a similar path by packaging intelligence from their frequent shopper programs and attempting to sell it to manufacturers. There are some success stories (e.g. Tesco), and some stories of failure with such an approach (e.g. Safeway). The three most likely industries to pursue such a path are:

  • Retailers (selling intelligence to manufacturers)
  • Financial players (selling intelligence to card issuers and merchants)
  • Travel companies (selling intelligence to non- competitive travel partners).

Everyone playing in this field of building an incremental revenue stream by utilizing proprietary consumer data will be smart in analyzing the up- and downsides of such a move. A retailer might be more interested in leveraging consumer intelligence in attracting incremental trade dollars from the manufactures instead of attempting to sell data driven marketing programs. The pay-back could be much larger.


Anonymous Huayin said...

Michael, thanks for the great article.
Here's the AMEX news about its American Express Business Insights organization: AMEX Business Insights

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