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Direct Response Marketing

Customers Come First at Barclaycard US

16 Aug, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response

CMO Michelle Bottomley says the credit card division’s customer-centric efforts are the cornerstone of the company’s multi-channel direct response marketing efforts.

While most organizations advertise simplicity, we are focused on making it simpler for prospective and current customers to respond and engage with us on their terms,” says Michelle Bottomley, chief marketing officer for Wilmington, Del.-based Barclaycard US. “This says to me that direct response is the ultimate proof point for brands that want to differentiate themselves based on a better brand experience — and that all direct response communications must build the brand. We aren’t there 100 percent yet, but we work every day to develop brand-building experiences that delight and engage consumers using their channels of choice so they don’t just engage with us but ultimately advocate us as their brand to others.”

Bottomley has spent her 23-year career “working with marketing teams to build brands and use data to drive results.” After spending two decades on the agency side of the business, she joined Barclaycard US (part of Barclays Global Retail Banking division) in 2008. The Barclaycard US division is a reasonably new part of Barclays, the 300-plus-year-old British financial institution. While Barclays is well known around the globe, the company’s credit card operations in the U.S. are still in their maturing stages, though the division now employs 1,600 associates.

The need to mature quickly in the competitive U.S. credit card space made direct response a crucial tool for the Barclaycard team, according to Bottomley. “Barclaycard US — as with most payment providers — relies heavily on direct response channels to deliver new customer acquisition, activation, usage and retention targets,” she says, mentioning a wide array of media options used by the company to drive new customers and expand relationships with existing customers. “Our favorite direct response channels include direct mail; digital (sites, search and display, E-dialogue); face-to-face sales at airports, on cruise chips and retail point of sales locations; inbound and outbound telephone; and the integration of payment products into our partner’s Web sites and other live channels. About 80 percent of our budget in the U.S. and around the world is focused on direct response channels.”

Bottomley Brings DR Experience to Barclaycard

That direct response focus is far from foreign to Bottomley, who is currently also serving as the interim chief marketing officer for Barclaycard globally. “Before coming to Barclaycard, I worked for Ogilvy New York for 10 years in a variety of positions including chief operating officer for Ogilvy & Mather New York,” she says.

Prior to Ogilvy, she had entered the world of direct response marketing during stints at Bronner Slosberg Humphrey (now Digitas) and Epsilon, “where I led a number of database marketing accounts,” she says.

“What I’ve learned from these positions is how to lead and manage big complex marketing and analytics teams to create brand reputational and economic value for organizations in transition,” she says. “I especially love the practical reality of applying marketing levers to make the numbers, while helping the organization focus on game-changing moves based on customer insight — that can create real advantage and momentum.”

This has made her a perfect fit for the maturing Barclaycard US business where she is responsible for all of Barclaycard US marketing efforts and initiatives, including oversight of targeted acquisition marketing programs for the partnership and open market card products, existing cardmember marketing throughout the customer lifecycle, marketing analytics and internal and external communications.

The company creates customized, co-branded credit card programs for some of the country’s most successful travel, entertainment, affinity, retail and financial institutions. Partners include US Airways, Frontier Airlines, Carnival Cruise Line, Best Western, Travelocity, Virgin Americas, Barnes & Noble, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Emigrant Direct and Eastern Bank. And it fashions itself as a pioneer in new forms of payment, being at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes.

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