What an American Express Marketing Job Teaches an MBA
In Chapter 7 of 18 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, Internet entrepreneur Anatole Faykin answers "As an MBA, What Did You Learn About Product Marketing Working at American Express?" Working in the American Express, or AmEx, travel division, he learns how large organizations can leverage economies of scale to make big bets on projects or campaigns. Through this process, he learns lessons on brand loyalty and brand management. Faykin founded of Tuanpin, a Shanghai-based daily deals site.
Erik: As an MBA, what did you learn about product marketing, working at American Express? Anatole: So I was part of their online consumer travel division and most people don’t know it but American Express is a huge beast as far as travel services market is concerned. I think they’re number 1 corporate travel services agency and maybe third or fourth at least were a few years back as far as consumer travel. So it put me I guess in the middle of a pretty powerful entity in a given market and one thing I saw was that as a big guy, you are allowed a lot of missteps and it doesn’t matter so much because you just have so much market presence and channels such as American Express travel services locations everywhere that people just kind of keep going, they’re used to you. So that was one of the interesting things. I was pretty impressed with the loyalty that American Express had in the marketplace. Another interesting thing from the marketing perspective was just how protective American Express was about their brand and about the various programs that they had so American Express membership rewards which is the points that are awarded to card holders. We worked closely with that group so that the members could use memberships rewards on – for their travel services and it was amazing what hoops we had to jump through when we you know talked about membership rewards when customers were using membership rewards. We were actually not allowed to say I think even the actual verb “to be used”, you couldn’t say “use” you can’t use your membership rewards, you can only redeem or something along those lines, so down to this sort of small detail American Express rightfully is incredibly protective of it’s brand.