Discover’s Direct Mail Campaign Brings Fresh Positioning to Credit Card

Discover’s Direct Mail Campaign Brings Fresh Positioning to Credit Card image discover it web page headerDiscover it card offer

If you watch primetime television, you can’t help but notice that Discover has recently introduced a new credit card called “Discover it.” In addition to a generous above-the-line marketing effort for the card launch, my mailbox bears evidence that Discover not only shifted its direct mail volume to promote the new product, but also tested fresh, new positioning.

Essentially, “Discover it” is a modified “More” card, and according to a recent Discover press release, here’s the thinking behind the new product:

“We believe that consumers want something different from a credit card company – something that addresses their specific needs, treats them fairly and gives them what they deserve,” said Roger Hochschild, president and chief operating officer at Discover. “This card is a natural extension of Discover’s ‘It Pays to Discover’ brand positioning and truly shows how Discover is looking to build a long-term relationship with its customers.”

New cardmembers will feel the difference the minute they receive the Discover it card. The card arrives via expedited delivery in a sleek and simple box. Inside, cardmembers will find a modern, metallic blue card that resembles brushed steel, with their name and card number on the back of the card.

Discover’s direct mail campaign for “Discover it” utilizes several high-volume creative tests targeting new cardholders and attempting to sway ex-cardholders to come back. Here are three examples of the new positioning:

  • The “Your Card is Missing Something” direct mail campaign hopes that consumers are disappointed with their current credit cards, pointing out via checklist what “Discover it” offers that competitors do not.
  • “Game Changer” positioning for “Discover it” attempts to sell the card via four support points: fair, generous, flexible, human. In my opinion, this angle is a stronger acquisition workhorse than “Your Card is Missing Something.” “Game Changer” does a credible job of promoting the product’s benefit set in a fresh and engaging – and “not-your-same-old-boring-credit-card offer” – way. Even if you don’t buy that “it” is indeed a game changer, you have to admit that Discover has managed to “game change” the ubiquitous card marketing genre in the spirit of the maverick Capital One – without Vikings, Visigoths, paid comedians, a camera-loving baby or a Pacific Island sweepstakes circa 2005.
  • A third high-volume campaign – “More than a pretty face, heads will turn” – leverages the “Discover it” blue metal card design… without mentioning the sleek delivery box or expedited delivery that is cool but not unique to Discover (Chase takes the honors for being first). Media Logic has found these differentiators should play well to the target audience to whom this level of style and service may be new and appealing. In fact, it may push other competitors to approach the mass market with perks formerly reserved for the affluent audience.

How do these direct mail campaigns feed the overall marketing effort for “Discover it?” There’s a level of integration missing across Discover’s other marketing channels. Although positioning via Discover.com and broadcast media utilize the Game Changer message, they approach it differently. And when it comes to social, Discover focuses on loan products and cashback bonuses, as well as its mobile app. So far in 2013, we have seen zero mentions (and no images) of the new product on Facebook or Twitter.

Despite lack of integration, I find the “Discover it” campaign notable for connecting with prospects in new ways – proving there’s still room for effective and creative thinking within the card category.

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