American Express is using a strategy of hyper-personalization and real-time data updates to dramatically boost the effectiveness of an often maligned form of online marketing: the business email.

David Knapp, director/digital marketing at American Express, took over the company’s business email newsletter in 2015, he told the Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) 2018 &Then Conference in Las Vegas.

And its revised approach – which now provides focused, individualized content – has led to a compound annual growth rate of 150% in engagement, an achievement recognized with a Silver award at the DMA’s 2018 Echo Awards for best email campaign, and a Bronze for best financial services campaign.

Knapp outlined the way in which American Express uses customer data, including spending habits and different reward program information, to develop insights into the personalized messaging that will connect with each recipient.

An intelligent content management system developed by Ergo Interactive – a New York-based company which provides content-personalization services – draws from a library of modular material to create targeted communications. The system then tracks the performance of the content it serves and optimizes further offerings based on the response of recipients.