Capital One Financial Corporation
1. How is Capital One’s use of IT different from other mass customization strategies? Capital One uses IT through its information-based strategy (IBS) to “record, organize, and analyze data on the characteristics and behaviors of their customers,” as stated by CEO Richard Fairbank. Their philosophy was to exploit information by constructing scientific models that could be used to both assess the creditworthiness of potential cardholders through FICO scoring, and to customize product offerings for existing ones. This was done through data mining, sorting, customizing offers and marketing campaigns, and then analyzing this data to see what campaigns worked – for what reason and what it returned in revenue and profit generation. This differs from other financial institutions in that these other institutions were compiling data manually, accepting applicants based upon debt-income ratios and were all charging the same interest rate and annual fee. Capital One saw direct marketing as a means to record every interaction with a customer electronically. It allowed them the ability to customize products to each customer and to ensure each interaction was unique. Direct marketing gave Capital One the ability to turn a business into a scientific laboratory where every decision about product design, marketing, channels of communication, credit lines, customer selection, collection policies and cross-selling decisions could be subjected to systematic testing using thousands of experiments. It also enabled the ability to roll out products on a national scale and at full speed once they had been found to work without incurring the large fixed costs that accompany brick-and-mortar operations. It gave them the potential to reinvent the entire economics of a business. Capital One realized that few products were direct marketed and that even fewer firms were fully exploiting the power of statistical analysis....
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