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6 Will Credit Card Companies Cash in on Couponless Geo-Location Targeting

I checked into my office on Foursquare the other day and I got a message showing there was a special offer. I thought, that’s odd, I didn’t create a special offer.

When I clicked on the offer is was a special from American Express telling me that if I used my American Express card to buy $10 worth of something I would get a matching $10 credit from American Express.

At first I was confused, but then I saw that a number of restaurants listed around my business also had the same offer. Apparently American Express had struck up a deal with Foursquare (and as it turns out any number geo-locations services) to offer specials directly through Foursquare at locations that accepted American Express (data that American Express would obviously have)

This program has been developing since a June roll out, but it appears Amex has really ramped it up to every imaginable category of business.

As I thought about this a number of things came to mind, but the most important one was that a credit card company had essentially taken over a geo-location service.

Now, I’m not suggesting that’s a bad thing. (For the record, American Express is a client and I happen to think very highly of the folks at the OPEN business unit.)

I am suggesting, it’s an interesting turn of events and here’s why:

  • Merchants benefit without having to do anything, but of course, accept the Amex card.
  • Shoppers benefit without having to do much more than check in and  sync their card
  • Foursquare benefits because all of a sudden it’s worth $10 to check in at a lot of places

The full benefit to Amex is evident only to those that know the numbers, but my guess is that this is a cheaper and way more directly targeted way to get to a user than paying for TV. Plus, when someone checks is on Foursquare when out with a bunch of friends and announces they just got $10 off, I’m guessing some non Amex toting friends take note. This play also positions Amex squarely at the front of the hip line and will likely help remove some of the stodginess that they’ve been shedding for a few years now.

This combination of location, mobile, commerce and local business to reach the end user is quite possibly the digital media story of the year.

90 Let’s Stop Being So Rude

jonycunha via Flickr

I have to admit this post is in response to something that happened last night and I’ll try not to rant too much.

In an effort to help a confused individual that requested our help via email (understand this was not a customer, just a weary traveler) we asked a couple clarifying questions to try to understand how we could help. What we received back was an insult filled rant about how we should apologize for not knowing what she wanted. Geez!

I’ve long since lost the temptation to respond to these kinds of oddities, but it did make me think how this real-time, I want it now, and I want it now free online culture we’ve developed is eroding basic manners.

To put a spotlight back on the art of appreciation for the gifts we all give and receive I’m going to run a little giveaway with the help of American Express Recognize and Reward Sweepstakes at (AMEX OPEN is a client)

I’m going to giveaway five $50 American Express Gift Cards to five people that leave the best comment to this challenge:

What’s the most over the top “thank you” you’ve ever received from a boss, employee, colleague, customer, supplier, friend, you name it.

And please, let’s recapture our basic manners and stop being so hard on one another.

Administrative Professionals Day is April 27th and Supervisors, bosses and business-professionals can also express gratitude by nominating a standout administrative professional, colleague or peer from their LinkedIn Network into the American Express Recognize and Reward Sweepstakes at

58 How to Thank Your Administrative Professional

Read to the end because I’m offering a way for you to win $100 AMEX gift card for an administrative professional in your life.

amex gift cardI bet you didn’t even know that this week, April 18-24 is Administrative Professionals Week. Well, frankly I didn’t either until I ran across a virtual thank you card site at that American Express put together.

It’s a way a to create a “Thank You” heard around the nation for an assistant (virtual or otherwise), an office coordinator, a scheduler, and others—those people who keep the workplace running. Everyone who participates – besides expressing their gratitude – will also be entered to win a $50 American Express Gift Card as part of the “For Everything You Do” sweepstakes. (Two winners will be chosen at random every day, now through April 21st.)

To spread the appreciation, American Express also asked me to give my readers an opportunity to win a $100 American Express Gift Card each business day of Administrative Professionals Week (Monday 4/19 – Friday 4/23).

All you have to do to enter is write leave a comment about why the administrative professional or support staffer in your work life deserves a BIG thank you. Tell us who they are and how great they are and I’ll pick one winner from each day. Don’t wait, do it today and you’ll have more shots at a winner!

Disclosure: American Express Open is a business partner of Duct Tape Marketing

4 OpenForum Moves and Expands

One of the partnerships I’m most proud of is my long standing relationship with OPEN from American Express. I’ve said for so long that I believe OPEN is the entrepreneur of credit cards. I’ve been contributing content on the OPENForum content hub since it’s inception and this past week OPEN made a bold move to make the site even better by adding a networking feature that allows business owners to connect.

You’ll still find great content, in fact along with my regular contributions, I’ve been able to secure contributions for the marketing section from well-known experts such as Rohit Bhargava, author of Personality Not Included, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for Marketing Profs, Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, Susan Wilson Solovic, founder of, and Scott Ginsberg of Hello My Name is Scott fame. This line-up of pros will provide you with a one stop information shop to help you build your business.

Just this past week the site featured article on How to Use Social Media to Promote an Event, Pushing Information Out to Your Team, and Driving Your Business with a Higher Purpose.

The video below walks you through some of the highlights of the new site. Please come have look.

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3 What Does Cash Flow Have To Do With Marketing?

Cash flow and marketing are attached at the proverbial hip – Marketing is all about growing your business, but quite often, even when things are rocking along, you can’t grow your business without effective cash flow planning.

When the economy make a move towards uncertainty, fully understanding the relationship between strong cash flow and strong marketing becomes even more crucial.

OPEN American ExpressJoin me Tuesday, June 24 at 4pm CDT as I host Cash Flow – the Lifeblood of America’s Small Businesses. How to Manage Through Times of Economic Uncertainty with the help of Raymond Joabar, Senior Vice President of Lending and Network Development for OPEN – Sign up here

We will discuss cash flow planning, cash flow pitfalls, smart growth, maximizing cash flow, and how to effectively measure cash flow. I promise to make this seemingly boring topic engaging!

This free webinar is brought to you by OPEN from American Express®

3 Award-winning brand marketer talks about small business

Marcy Shinder

In this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast I went to a really big business that is doing a great job marketing to small business. Marcy Shinder, VP of Brand Marketing and Strategy for OPEN from American Express, spent some time talking about the ways AMEX is connecting with small business.

B2B Magazine named Shinder one of its top marketers of the year. In her roll Shinder spends a great deal of time networking and building trust with small business owners. It’s a pretty refreshing approach for a big company and comes through in OPEN’s entrepreneurial approach to business.

You can find out more at as well.

9 The Plum Card from American Express OPEN

American Express OPEN President Susan Sobbott, announced today a new credit card from American Express called the Plum Card from American Express OPEN The Plum Card.

First off, the card offers some interesting terms. Remember the old 2% 10, Net 60? In other words you get 60 days to pay off the balance or take a 2% discount if you pay the balance in 10 days.

That’s all well and good, but the coolness factor may be what makes some sign-up – the card is as you can see in the photo, plum colored. I think it’s a great marketing play.

Oh, and the Inc 500 companies in attendance at the announcement all got an iPhone, not that’s what I call a nice conference souvenir. (I don’t know if they also get to claim the $100 rebate being offered by Apple.)

More from Inc 500

Pre-conference photos

On my way to General Sessions:

  • Great Entrepreneurial Minds: Unlocking the Secrets of Small Business Growth with Susan Sobbett, President of OPEN from American Express and,
  • Marketing in a Digital World: How to Leverage Technology and New Media to Build Lust for Your Brand
    Mark Jarvis, CMO, Dell

1 Inc 500 companies I want to know more about

Inc 500 ConferenceI’m in Chicago this week and will be blogging while I attend the 500 Conference

As you probably already know, Inc recognizes the top 500 fastest growing companies in America based on 3 year revenue growth. The conference, presented with OPEN from American Express, Principal Financial Group and Dell, is a celebration of entrepreneurship and recognition event for the 500 honorees.

Here are couple Inc 500 class of 2007 entries that look very interesting.

  • Bill Me Later – #6 – Bill Me Later is a convenient and secure new payment method designed for purchasing on the web or over the phone.
  • Zorch International – #28 – New approach to branded promotional products
  • Right Media – #46 – Interactive ad network now owned by Yahoo!
  • Wpromote – #62 – Search marketing firm
  • Vibes Media – #92 – Interactive mobile marketing – the phone’s the thing
  • Instinct Marketing – #199 – Doing some nice things with local search and CRM
  • AbsorbentInk – #216 – Another promotional products company
  • eROI – #402 – Lead generation firm using email and other e forms of marketing
  • DirectoryM – #458 – Local online directories

More to come!

Success secrets of the fastest growing companies

Inc 500I will be in Chicago next week at the Inc 500 Conference covering as many emerging companies as I can. I want to find out what makes them tick and share that with you here.

    Three places you will find me:

  • The conference is sponsored in part by OPEN from American Express, which will host a session called Great Entrepreneurial Minds.
  • Dell CMO, Mark Jarvis, will deliver a session called Marketing in a digital worldCheck out SB360
  • Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, speaks about the future of small business in America (nice article in Inc this month)

I also plan to get a word with Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick and Jack Stack, godfather of open book management.

If you’re a Duct Tape reader and plan on attending the event (maybe you’re even one of the Inc 500!) I would love to meet you. Drop me a line.