Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Question for marketing whizzes

It rarely happens, but occasionally for some reason I find I've overpaid my credit card. The card dutifully informs me of the fact of the credit, and that's it. It does not offer to send me a check. Or to pay me interest on the use of my money. I guess it assumes I'll use the card soon and kiss that dollarage goodbye. But in point of fact, the extra cash is sitting on a card I want to cancel.

So I wonder: Is there a credit card company out there that does do this -- especially, pay interest on your money? Would this not be a nice Bidnez 2.0 thing to do -- you know, like make the customer the driver of the enterprise? Or, you know, give the other end of the transaction some actual traction? Or like, evolve the credit card business into something more like banking, where one could park money and gain attractive rates of return?

You know, have an actual conversational relationship with the customer.

Just wondering.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Jon said...

I've often wondered exactly the same thing .. and I say often because it seems that for the last decade for some reason or other I overpay my credit card at least twice or three times a year.

But I recognize immediately each time I do so (and become aware of it), the impulse that comes from living in a sense-surround consumer society ... "oh, goody, now I can go buy something without actually spending money".

How lame is that on my part (very) ? At least I am aware of my lameness.

But why oh why would any marketing whiz in any company fuck with that dynamic ? There are very few companies that would be that altruistic or so much on the consumers' side, doncha think ?

3/04/2008 10:56 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

You mean they might sell, but don't actually buy, the user revolution?? ;)

3/04/2008 11:37 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

That is indeed what I mean ... the "two-way flow" mindset will take quite a while, if not forever, to settle into the business mindset on a widespread basis.

There's an awful lot of accumulated "learning" about what bidness is left to unlearn, in my opinion.

3/04/2008 12:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Profit margins tend to be a little lopsided in the flow dept., I'll wager.

3/04/2008 12:19 PM  
Anonymous herecomesnobody said...

Credit card companies only process the transactions for the banks that issue your credit cards. So credit card companies wouldn't pay interest on your surpluses. The interest you pay on your credit card purchases goes to the bank, not the credit card company. So the interest policies of credit cards are already how banking works. What you should really interrogate is your conception of the nature of current banking processes as conversational, two-way, etc.

3/04/2008 8:20 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

What you should really interrogate is your conception of the nature of current banking processes as conversational, two-way, etc.

We wuz being sarcastic ...

3/04/2008 8:54 PM  
Anonymous herecomesnobody said...

Sorry, I didn't read your comments, Jon. I was responding to the original post, in which sarcasm is not present. However, reading your comments now, I see sarcasm, but not sarcasm relevant to what I addressed in my comment. I must be thick (that's sarcasm?).

3/04/2008 9:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

If credit card companies have no leverage in that space, then let's ignore them, push back one, and apply the question to the banks themselves. Or will they say they do not see my money, it's sitting in that virtual reality between the hosers carrying their moneybags and the bags their bad selves? The notion is not of banking processes as conversational; it is of marketing processes as framing all business processes as conversational, that was more or less my underlying point de depart.

3/04/2008 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Banking processes as conversational has a long, mythologized history, like in "It's a Wonderful Life" which probably, in it's time, occupied the same reactive space as Cluetrain did - forecasting an unlikely future out of nostalgia for a non-existent past.

3/04/2008 11:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

In IaWL, the non-existence of the past was the fiction out of which the angel constructed a hopeless future.

The question is not whether conversations are a good idea, but whether they have already been compromised by the scripted, contractual nature of business as usual. So long as corporations can simply set terms, and unilaterally update terms, and every so often without advice and consent rejigger terms, without so much as imagining that the human at the other end of the contract might justifiably argue he ought to have some voice in the drawing up of said terms, we are voiceless stick figures described and inscribed in contracts.

3/04/2008 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HCN .. we must have differently-tuned sarcasmometers. I took this ...

So I wonder: Is there a credit card company out there that does do this -- especially, pay interest on your money? Would this not be a nice Bidnez 2.0 thing to do -- you know, like make the customer the driver of the enterprise? Or, you know, give the other end of the transaction some actual traction? Or like, evolve the credit card business into something more like banking, where one could park money and gain attractive rates of return?

You know, have an actual conversational relationship with the customer.


.. to be mildly, politely sarcastic ... mild and polite, you know, just in case the automated loans officer (algorithm) at the credit-card-issuing bank is surveilling the blogsusing a white-labeled version of ECHELON.

I did nae think Tom was being serious, I assumed he knew / knows better.

Jon

3/04/2008 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"n IaWL, the non-existence of the past was the fiction out of which the angel constructed a hopeless future."

That was for the character, not the audience.

For the audience the angelically constructed hopeless future was a pretty good depiction of the present presented as a fantasy.

Pottersville presented as imaginary?

3/06/2008 12:34 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

covered with onions?

3/06/2008 12:52 AM  
Anonymous herecomesnobody said...


The question is not whether conversations are a good idea, but whether they have already been compromised by the scripted, contractual nature of business as usual. So long as corporations can simply set terms, and unilaterally update terms, and every so often without advice and consent rejigger terms, without so much as imagining that the human at the other end of the contract might justifiably argue he ought to have some voice in the drawing up of said terms, we are voiceless stick figures described and inscribed in contracts.


No, the question is whether conversations are a good idea, not whether they've been compromised. The assertion that that there's such a thing as an authentic conversation is the pivot upon which the cluetrain entrepreneurs balance their damaged goods, given that conversations produce the subject you call the "human at the other end". It's be better to just shut the fuck up.

3/22/2008 1:34 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

You mean "all" conversations? Or how are you qualifying that, assuming you do feel there's some point in talking here. Why single out cluetrain? The attack here is broad and hard to, uh, speak to.

3/22/2008 10:50 AM  

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