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July 30, 2006


Rob in Denver

Also, don't forget that the expansion of the credit industry has been enormous over that period, as well.

When I read those numbers my first thought was that lists in 1992 were targeted and that the lists in 2005 amounted to nothing more than postal spam.

If you figure 6 billion pieces of mail were sent and they had a .03 percent response, that's 180 million responses. Doesn't sound to me that people think they have too much debt.

(I'd be curious to know how many pieces the industry sent out in 1992.)

When you consider the credit industry makes more money than God, it seems a little strange it would consider the .03 percent rate acceptable unless it's more profitable.

My guess? You betchyerass it's more profitable.

Greg Thompson

Yes, credit card company economics are incredibly forgiving. Keep in mind that the average consumer only makes minimum payments, so just think about what that does to the Lifetime Customer Value for these guys. It's amazing, especially when you consider that the "product" the card companies are "selling" is money...which they have (practically) an infinite supply of with no "shipping costs"...think about it :)

And yes, credit card offer copy is AWFUL...its all the same and the only thing that really changes from offer to offer is what kind of envelope/bag they deliver it in. The actual text in the letter is almost always the same, and the page is very "busy" with lots of crap down the site to read as well as on top, on the bottom, and then there's the tiny copy text in between...they don't even care if you read's just filler.

Any one of us could do an infinitely better job at this, but the bigger the company, the dumber they are.

Andrew Cavanagh

The number of these credit card offers has risen dramatically.

I can remember when these credit card offers first came out in the mail (many, many years ago).

People were AMAZED that the banks and credit institutions had done the research and worked out THEY were worthy for a credit card.

Some banks just sent out the credit card. All you had to do was activate it.

When you get one credit card offer in 10 years it's a WHOLE lot different than getting a credit card offer every 3 months or even every month.

This mass mailing approach is not good marketing as you point out.

More effective lead generation and qualification of prospects does seem to make more sense.

I agree that many of these companies would make a lot more money (or might even start making money) if they hired someone with some marketing savvy.

Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

Perry Droast

Face it. Most of us probably already have enough credit cards, or too many. But the offers keep coming. I don't think they keep very clean lists. My wife and I haven't signed up for a new credit card in several years. Why would they want to continue paying for the amount of offers being mailed to our house? I shred 5 to 10 offers a week. Not only that, most of our cards carry a zero balance. These companies have access to that info but it probably costs more to check our credit than to just keep sending the mail.

I just wonder if they would do better with a better more targeted list, better copy, and lower mailing costs.

Ryan Healy

Great comments. Perry, I'm with you. I've gotten one new credit card in something like 2 or 3 years... and that was the American Express card I got for my copywriting business, to help separate my personal and business expenses.

And yet I get credit card offers (personal and business) almost every single day. Literally.

I've received one particular offer--the same letter, mail-in form, etc.--about 10 or 15 times. I've lost count.

I remember when I first started getting credit cards. It was when I was newly married and trying to build credit.

It seems like targeting newly-weds, college students, and new businesses would be a good low-cost strategy. Natural life events (like marriage) are normally what drive people to request credit cards.

Of course, sometimes people request retail credit at GAP, Old Navy, Kohl's, etc. just to take advantage of the 20%-off-your-entire-order deals.

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