If the headline above has a familiar ring, don't be surprised. It's near impossible to find the person who doesn't recognize the phrase, "What's in your wallet?" With the strongest brand marketing campaign this side of Geico Insurance, Capital One has become the premier upstart contender in the retail credit card business. Relatively new in the minds of consumers, Capital One's customer acquisition and growth strategy has long been firmly planted in some of the best business intelligence practices to be found in the industry. Katherine Busser, CIO, Capital One U.S. Card Division, tells BI Review that her company was not only founded on information strategy but depends on BI for future success. "Our information-based strategy is the backbone of how we got into the credit card business and now we are using the same thinking as we grow to become a diversified financial service institution," Busser says. "For us there is a virtuous circle of moving from data to information, from information to insight. Those insights lead us to hypotheses that we go out and test in the marketplace. Sure enough, that leads us back to collecting new data."
Sheer dedication to the information-based approach at Capital One led to the creation of a new executive position, Chief Scoring Officer. "A lot of our roots obviously come from deep analytics, deep understanding of data and information sources and so chief credit officer, chief scoring officer are important roles for us just as the role of the CMO came to be appreciated," Busser says.
Data expertise and an information-based strategy has alternately supported and led Capital One's brand success. "The wonderful thing about the brand campaign is that we demonstrated that not only could we be analytical about our approach but we could also be hugely creative," says Busser. The two in tandem are a powerful combination, she adds.
Busser places importance on the relationship between the business and IT. Taking a seat at the table, paying attention to external forces in the market and in regulation, these are not voluntary interests but are part of the job for all participants. "I think the real key to business intelligence is getting the right combination. You can have great data, you can have great analysts and great infrastructure, it's when you put all those together and you try to solve a great marketing or customer problem that you really see things show up powerfully." At Capital One, the BI process for all participants begins with the customer and the offer. "You work backwards from that and get all of the roles working together, not just business or IT," says Busser.
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