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Cards and Population Expansion

Identifying and validating niche audiences for a top credit-card issuer


  • 20-25%

    ITA-generated increase in population that is not captured through credit bureau files

  • 15%

    Increase in response rate for the student segment through segment-specific creative and messaging

  • 100%

    ITA-generated increase in response rate improvements of pre-screen programs

  • 90

    Days after project initiation before the first ITA campaign dropped

  • 14

    New, segment-specific creative packages created and tested for 19 ITA segments

  • 235K

    Responses generated


A top credit card issuer with access to extensive data was looking for opportunities to effectively expand ITA prospect pool.

  • Universe Incrementality: Desire to access incremental universes that were not captured in the credit files, such as under banked, no credit card, etc.
  • Creative Incrementality: Gain an understanding of ITA and segment-specific messaging with regards to incremental performance.
  • Efficiency: Prove the economics for full spectrum lending through ITA.
  • Speed to Market: Essential to identify the new populations quickly and to develop a streamlined marketing process that allowed rapid speed to market.

This represented the first time the issuer outsourced an “end-to-end” database marketing and creative services solution to an external partner.


Merkle developed a three-phase approach utilizing a test-and-learn approach to improve performance in all key areas — content, audience / offer, contact, media / channel, and creative / messaging.

  • Targeting: Focused on developing ITA capabilities while improving targeting and leveraging campaign results.
  • Expansion: Population expanded by including vertical lists to supplement Content Lab.
  • Additional Analytics: Segmentation (based on response and risk) and modeling incorporated to improve performance.

Discover how we did it. Contact us today.