WO2001037152A1 - Targeted marketing system with third party confidential database - Google Patents

Targeted marketing system with third party confidential database Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2001037152A1
WO2001037152A1 PCT/IB2000/001844 IB0001844W WO0137152A1 WO 2001037152 A1 WO2001037152 A1 WO 2001037152A1 IB 0001844 W IB0001844 W IB 0001844W WO 0137152 A1 WO0137152 A1 WO 0137152A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
user
offer
database
offeree
marketing
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2000/001844
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Dvir Harmelech
David Ben Ovadia
Eliezer Dikstein
Yuval Rakavy
Original Assignee
Talmai, Ltd.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US44363099A priority Critical
Priority to US09/443,630 priority
Application filed by Talmai, Ltd. filed Critical Talmai, Ltd.
Publication of WO2001037152A1 publication Critical patent/WO2001037152A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination

Abstract

A marketing system has a potential offeree database, a campaign director user interface, and a campaign server. The potential offeree database has multiple records, each record having information relevant to a specific person. The campaign director user interface allows a user to generate a marketing offer to enable qualified offerees to receive user-specified marketing treatment. The campaign server is in communication with the potential offeree database and in partial communication with the campaign director user interface. The campaign server allows the user to determine the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to individual records, and communicates a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion.

Description

Targeted Marketing System with Third Party Confidential Database

Technical Field The present invention relates to generation and control of targeted marketing offers while preserving individual privacy.

Background Art

Merchants market their goods and services in an effort to retain and expand their business with existing customers, and to attract the business of new customers. Of course, for some goods and services, a significant percentage of the overall population would not qualify as either an existing or potential customer. For example, a pool of existing and potential customers for a home mortgage company would likely be restricted to existing homeowners, and those hopeful of becoming homeowners. Ideally, marketing efforts should be targeted so as to reach only existing and potential customers. One targeted marketing approach is the customer loyalty program, such as a frequent flier club, that provides various rewards and incentives to registered customers who qualify by reaching certain threshold transaction levels. As a whole, consumers respond well to customer loyalty programs. But, some consumers participate in multiple marketing programs. As a result, they may have difficulty keeping track of their qualification progress, and the various savings and rewards to which they become entitled. In addition, customer loyalty programs can be a relatively expensive effort to develop and sustain. Some merchants lack a comprehensive customer database having transaction history data of existing and potential customers. Some merchants may also be unsophisticated in their ability to approach present and potential customers with marketing offers. In addition, individual privacy is a sensitive issue and there are multiple barriers to freely obtaining transaction history information of individual citizens. Summary of the Invention An embodiment of the present invention provides a campaign director user interface computer for a marketing system. A planning process allows a user to generate a marketing offer to qualified offerees. A targeting process is in partial communication with a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person, and the targeting process allows the user to find out the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to individual records. An execution process is responsive to the planning process and initiates a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion.

In a further embodiment, the planning process allows the user to specify at least one of offer starting time and offer ending time. The planning process may also allow the user to specify at least one of message communication time, message content, message triggering event, and message delivery method. The planning process may also allow the user to specify at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism. The offer acceptance mechanism may be one of automatic, user selected, or offeree selected. The planning process may allow the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree in the potential offeree database. The offer parameter may be at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism. The at least one user-defined criterion may be recency or frequency of a user-determined offeree action, a user-determined monetary criterion, an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer, a marketing campaign budget, and/or the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one other user-defined criterion.

The message presenting the offer may be communicated via at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail,

_9- push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page. The offer may include at least one of an advertisement, a special offer, a refund, a rebate, and a coupon. The potential offeree database may be a credit card transaction database, or a merchant transaction database. The targeting process uses an Internet browser to establish partial communication over the Internet with the potential offeree database. The targeting process may also be in communication with a plurality of potential offeree databases.

The user interface computer may also include a tracking process that allows the user to monitor the number of offerees that have responded to the offer. The tracking process may allow the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign. The tracking process may allow the user to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database.

An embodiment of the present invention also includes a marketing system having a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person; a campaign director user interface that allows a user to generate a marketing offer to qualified offerees; and a campaign server in communication with the potential offeree database and in partial communication with the campaign director user interface that: (i) allows the user to determine the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to individual records, and (ii) addresses a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion.

In a further such embodiment, the campaign director user interface may allow the user to specify at least one of offer starting time, offer ending time, message communication time, message content, message triggering event, message delivery method, offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism. The offer acceptance mechanism may be one of automatic, user selected, or offeree selected. The campaign director user interface may allow the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree in the potential offeree database. The offer parameter may be at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism. The at least one user-defined criterion may be recency or frequency of a user-determined offeree action, a user-determined monetary criterion, an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer, a marketing campaign budget, and /or the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one other user-defined criterion.

The campaign director may allow the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign. The campaign director may allow the user to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database. The campaign server may communicate the message presenting the offer via at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page. The offer may include at least one of an advertisement, a special offer, a refund, a rebate, and a coupon. The potential offeree database may be a credit card transaction database or a merchant transaction database.

The campaign director user interface may use an Internet browser to establish partial communication over the Internet with the potential offeree database. The marketing system may include a firewall around the potential offeree database and the campaign server that limits access from outside the firewall.

An embodiment of the present invention includes a marketing method including supplying a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record havmg information relevant to a specific person; allowmg a user to generate a marketing offer to qualified offerees; providmg to the user partial communication with the potential offeree database, the partial communication allowing the user to determine the number of records m the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to ind dual records; and communicating a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion.

In a further such embodiment, allowing a user to generate a marketing offer mcludes allowmg the user to specify at least one of offer starting time, offer end g time, message communication time, message content, message triggering event, message delivery method, offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism The offer acceptance mechanism may be one of automatic, user selected, or offeree selected. Allowmg a user to generate a marketing offer may include allowmg the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree the potential offeree database. The offer parameter may be at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification cπteπa, and offer acceptance mechanism. The at least one user-defined criterion mav be recency or frequenc of a user-determined offeree action, a user-determined monetary criterion, an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer, a marketing campaign budget, and /or the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one other user-defined criterion. The marketing method may include enabling the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign The method may include enabling the user to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database Communicating the message presenting the offer may use at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page. The offer may include at least one of an advertisement, a special offer, a refund, a rebate, and a coupon. The potential offeree database may be a credit card transaction database or a merchant transaction database. Providing partial communication with the potential offeree database may use an Internet browser over the Internet.

An embodiment of the present invention includes marketing system database server having a database interface process having access to a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person; a user interface process in communication with the database interface process that: (i) communicates to a user the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing access to individual records, and (ii) receives from the user a marketing offer for offerees having records in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion; and an addressing process in communication with the database process and the user interface process that addresses a message presenting the marketing offer to the offerees. In a further such embodiment, the user interface process may allow the user specify at least one of message communication time, message content, message triggering event, and message delivery method. The user interface process may allow the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, a monetary cost of the campaign, the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign. The user interface process may communicate with the user over the Internet. The user interface process may be in communication with a plurality of users. The addressing process may communicate the message presenting the offer via at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page. The marketing system database server may also include a firewall between the user interface process and the user that limits access from outside the firewall.

Brief Description of the Drawings The present invention will be more readily understood by reference to the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings, in which: Figure 1 illustrates the basic principal behind representative embodiments of the present invention.

Figure 2 illustrates a targeted marketing system that preserves individual privacy according to a specific embodiment of the present invention. Figure 3 illustrates the logical flow of a target marketing system of the type depicted in Fig. 2.

Figure 4 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant planning process to set the marketing campaign proposed dates.

Figure 5 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant planning process to set pre-campaign announcement times and delivery methods.

Figure 6 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant planning process to set marketing campaign reward values.

Figure 7 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant planning process to set marketing campaign qualification events. Figure 8 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant planning process to set marketing campaign redemption mode.

Figure 9 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant targeting process to set initial targeting criteria.

Figure 10 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant targeting process to set detailed targeting criteria. Figure 11 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant targeting process to set marketing campaign budget.

Figure 12 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant targeting process to show total results of targeting criteria inquiry. Figure 13 illustrates the user interface screen for the merchant tracking process to report the results of an in-process campaign.

Figure 14 illustrates the user interface screen for a participating consumer showing an on-line rewards electronic coupon.

Figure 15 illustrates the user interface screen for screen for a participating consumer showing an on-line special offer.

Figure 16 illustrates the user interface screen for a participating consumer for browsing paper coupons available for printing.

Figure 17 illustrates a printout of a personalized paper coupon from the screen of Fig. 16. Figure 18 illustrates the user interface screen for a participating consumer for browsing redeemed rewards.

Figure 19 illustrates the user interface screen for a participating consumer for reviewing and adjusting their user profile.

Figure 20 illustrates an embodiment in which multiple campaign directors and campaign servers may be interconnected.

Detailed Description of Specific Embodiments Figure 1 illustrates the basic principal behind representative embodiments of the present invention. Using computers and communication networks, merchants and suppliers 10 are able, via an intermediary consumer database 14 having a large number of consumer transaction history data records, to provide marketing offers targeted to consumers 12 having merchant-specified transaction history characteristics. The intermediary database 14 may belong, for example, to a credit card or debit card issuer, a private label card such as a Macy's card, large distributors (aggregators), or a preferred shopper club of a "superstore" such as a Home Depot, or other merchant transaction database. A firewall 15 around the intermediary database 14 allows only authorized merchants 10 to have access to the database. Once inside the firewall 15, the merchants 10 have statistical access to the consumer transaction history data records according to rules enforced by the owner of the database, while access to specific individual transaction history data records is prevented.

A merchant 10 can prepare a targeted marketing campaign by determining how many records in the intermediary database 14 meet merchant- specified transaction history criteria such as frequency of transaction, recency of transaction, and transaction amounts. Then, the merchant 10 can prepare a targeted marketing offer that is forwarded to consumers 12 meeting the specified transaction history criteria via the intermediary database 14. Significantly, the privacy of individual consumers 12 is never violated since the merchant 10 only knows the overall number of consumers meeting the merchant-specified consumer history criteria, and the offer is provided to specific consumers 12 by the holder of the intermediary database 14 who has a pre-existing relationship with the consumers 12. In an alternative embodiment, a third party marketer 16 can generate and /or manage some or all of a marketing offer campaign for a fee from the merchant 10. Thus, representative embodiments of the present invention offer merchants and marketers a novel technology for end-to-end creation and management of marketing campaigns. Granular targeting leverages an issuer transaction database. Targeted delivery is available via multiple media including personalized Internet web page, e-mail, other push channels such as Internet subscription channels, and inserts to printed statements. Closed loop tracking and analysis is provided of campaign progress and results— that is, after the offer is communicated to the desired consumers, the merchant can monitor transaction history data in the database to determine the response to the offer; if desired the offer may be further adjusted responsive to the effectiveness as determined by the closed loop tracking. Embodiments also provide simple integration with existing cardholder systems that does not interfere with the routine billing process. In addition, there is a relatively low operations overhead, and the use of open standards technology minimizes future compatibility issues. Significantly, embodiments of the present invention are compatible with concerns of cardholder privacy and the security of private cardholder data. Cardholder information is solely owned by the card issuers which already possess it, and at no point does such sensitive information leave the control of the issuer. Moreover, although representative embodiments utilize the Internet and Internet browsers such as Netscape, cookies are not used. The issuer remains in complete control of the transaction history database, authorizing any access to the transaction history database, and reserving the ability to review any marketing campaign before it is committed.

Merchants and marketers receive access to a focused micro-marketing approach. Customer segmentation is allowed based on frequency of transactions, recency of transactions, and /or transaction amount. More prospective customers may be efficiently developed based on geography, credit rating, life style, or other analysis of transaction history data. Such joint loyalty programs with credit card issuers and merchants provides cost effective targeted marketing with a high return on marketing costs. Moreover, in-process tracking of results justifies the cost of marketing when compared to the direct marketing industry as a whole.

Card issuers benefit by building card loyalty, and also generate increased card transactions by offering their cardholders new services tailored to personal details and preferences. Because of low system overhead demands, many simultaneous campaigns can be supported without interfering with existing production systems, while at the same time maintaining control of ground rules specifying how the merchants and marketers are allowed to approach the cardholders. In addition, the card issuer's own Internet strategy is well-served as cardholders are encouraged to use on-line services; thus, embodiments create a portal to tapping the potential of e-commerce revenues. Customer cardholders enjoy more efficient and relevant marketing offers since the offers are based on their own historical transaction behavior.

Figure 2 illustrates a targeted marketing system that preserves individual privacy according to a specific embodiment of the present invention. Figure 3 illustrates the logical flow of the targeted marketing system of Fig. 2. In Fig. 2, a potential offeree database 24 has a large number of individual transaction history data records obtained by internal communication with an existing data processing system 26 having such information (step 31 in Fig. 3). The potential offeree database 24 is within a firewall 25 that limits outside access. In one embodiment, the potential offeree database 24 may by the transaction history database of a credit card or debit card issuer. In another embodiment, the potential offeree database 24 may be the transaction history database of a merchant or vendor, for example, a Sears or Home Depot transaction database. A campaign director 21 is a user interface computer having various internal processes which may be implemented as hardware processes, software processes, or a mixture of hardware and software processes. A planning process in the campaign director 21 allows a user 20, such as a merchant or marketer, to generate a targeted marketing offer, step 32 in Fig. 3, to enable qualified offerees to receive user-specified marketing treatment. A campaign server 22 is a computer having a database interface process in communication with the potential offeree database 24 and a user interface process in partial communication (via firewall 25) with the campaign director 20, step 33 in Fig. 3. The term "partial communication" is used to mean that a merchant user 20 is allowed to determine an overall number of records in the potential offeree database 24 that meet at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to the records of specific individual consumers 27. The merchant user 20 uses a targeting process in the campaign director 21 to query the potential offeree database 24 via the campaign server 22 to determine a number of consumers 27 having user-specified transaction history criteria. The specified transaction history criteria then become the basis for a marketing offer campaign profile which a user-directed execution process in the campaign director 21 authorizes the campaign server 22 to execute. Upon user authorization to commence the campaign specified in the campaign profile, an addressing process in the campaign server 22 communicates a message presenting the offer to consumers 27 having a record in the potential offeree database 24 that meet the campaign profile, step 34 in Fig. 3. The campaign director 21 also may include a tracking process that allows the merchant user 20 to monitor the number of consumers 27 that respond to the offer and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign as the potential offeree database 24 is regularly updated by the card issuer's data processing system 26, step 35 in Fig. 3. In addition, the tracking process in the campaign director 21 may also allow the merchant user 20 to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database 24.

The campaign director 21, is typically based on an Internet browser connected to the Internet, e.g., Netscape, and provides the merchant user 20 with control of the various details of the campaign profile and the marketing offer. Specifically, the targeting process in the campaign director 21 allows the merchant user 20 to specify and control such user-defined campaign profile objective criteria as recency and frequency of a user-determined offeree action, historical transaction amounts, total marketing campaign budget, and number of records in the potential offeree database 24 that meet one or more of the preceding criteria. Of course, more subjective criteria may also be developed and used such as an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer which may be based upon considerations such as age, profession, income, etc. which are available within the potential offeree database 24. Since the owner of the potential offeree database 24 controls the access allowed to the campaign director 21, the owner/issuer rules established may impact on the available profiling criteria. The planning process in the campaign director 21 also allows user control over various offer parameters such as offer starting and ending times; offer value; offer form, e.g., an advertisement, special offer, a refund, a rebate, and/or a coupon; and offer acceptance mechanism, e.g., automatic acceptance, manual acceptance by the user, or manual acceptance by the offeree. In addition, the planning process in the campaign director 21 allows user control over various offer message parameters such as communication time, content, triggering event, and delivery method (e.g., direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, other push channels such as Internet subscription channels, and/or personal Internet web page). User control of the campaign monitoring phase is provided by the tracking process in the campaign director 21, specifically, allowing the merchant user 20 to access the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign (i.e., amount of increased sales compared to the cost of the campaign).

The planning process in the campaign director 21 may further allow the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree consumer 27 in the potential offeree database 24. The offer parameter may be at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism. For example, the offer value may a "Get one free" coupon for consumers 27 whose records in the potential offeree database 24 indicate no previous purchases of a given product, a $1.00 off coupon for consumers 27 whose records in the potential offeree database 24 indicate that they have not purchased the product within the last three months, and a "buy four, get the fifth product free" for consumers 27 whose records in the potential offeree database 24 indicate that they are already regular purchasers of the product.

In one representative embodiment, a merchant user 20 at the campaign director 21 would typically start the planning process by entering proposed marketing campaign start and end dates, as shown in Fig. 4. The next planning process display screen, as shown in Fig. 5, allows the announcement times and delivery methods to be specified. Fig. 6 shows the display screen for specifying reward values. The display screen in Fig. 7 allows the qualification event(s) to be specified. To complete the planning process, the redemption mode is specified, as shown in Fig. 8.

Upon the completion of the planning process, the initial targeting process display screen, as shown in Fig. 9, to indicate the general consumer characterization profile to be used, e.g., most recent, most frequent, most spent, etc. Within a general targeting profile, the merchant may, as shown in Fig. 10, provide additional more specific targeting criteria such as credit level, buying pattern, geography, personal profile, etc. The next display screen, Fig. 11, allows a campaign budget to be selected, after which, the system indicates the total number of offeree participant that will be reached and the specific details of the offer cost, Fig. 12. Once the campaign has been initiated by the merchant using the execution process of the campaign director, offeree response to the campaign over time may also be viewed using the tracking process of the campaign director, Fig. 13.

Besides direct mail and e-mail advertisements, embodiments of the present invention may also communicate with registered consumers using a private Internet web page, that is, a personal web page. As shown in Fig. 14, a registered consumer visiting their web page has multiple views and services available. Fig. 14 shows an on-line reward electronic coupon offer provided to that specific consumer. Fig. 15 shows a representative online offer targeted to the specific consumer. Fig. 16 shows available paper coupons the consumer may select for printout, an example of which is shown in Fig. 17. The total redeemed offers can also be checked, as shown in Fig. 18. The consumer may also review and change their personal profile settings, as shown in Fig. 19.

Furthermore, as shown in Fig. 20, any given campaign director may be advantageously connected to multiple campaign servers. Thus, the campaign server for Merchant B 201 is shown connected to a campaign server at Issuer 2 202 and a campaign server at Issuer 3 203, and the campaign server for Merchant C 204 is shown connected to the campaign server at Issuer 1 205 as well as the campaign server at Issuer 2 202 and the campaign server at Issuer 3 203. Being able to communicate with multiple campaign servers is an advantage for the merchant having a campaign director in that the are more potential offerees available.

Similarly, Fig. 20 also shows that multiple campaign directors may be connected to any given campaign server. For example, the campaign server at Issuer 1 is connected to a campaign director at Merchant A 206 and the campaign director at Merchant B 201. A campaign server that is accessible to multiple campaign directors provides increased revenue generating activity for the owner of the database being accessed through the campaign server.

Representative embodiments can be implemented as a computer program product for use with a computer system. Such implementation may include a series of computer instructions fixed either on a tangible medium, such as a computer readable medium (e.g., a diskette, CD-ROM, ROM, or fixed disk) or transmittable to a computer system, via a modem or other interface device, such as a communications adapter connected to a network over a medium. The medium may be either a tangible medium (e.g., optical or analog communications lines) or a medium implemented with wireless techniques (e.g., microwave, infrared or other transmission techniques). The series of computer instructions embodies all or part of the functionality previously described herein with respect to the system. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that such computer instructions can be written in a number of programming languages for use with many computer architectures or operating systems. Furthermore, such instructions may be stored in any memory device, such as semiconductor, magnetic, optical or other memory devices, and may be transmitted using any communications technology, such as optical, infrared, microwave, or other transmission technologies. It is expected that such a computer program product may be distributed as a removable medium with accompanying printed or electronic documentation (e.g., shrink wrapped software), preloaded with a computer system (e.g., on system ROM or fixed disk), or distributed from a server or electronic bulletin board over the network (e.g., the Internet or World Wide Web). Of course, some embodiments of the invention may be implemented as a combination of both software (e.g., a computer program product) and hardware. Still other embodiments of the invention are implemented as entirely hardware, or entirely software (e.g., a computer program product).

Although various exemplary embodiments of the invention have been disclosed, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made that will achieve some of the advantages of the invention without departing from the true scope of the invention. These and other obvious modifications are intended to be covered by the appended claims.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A campaign director user interface computer for a marketing system comprising: a planning process that allows a user to generate a marketing offer to qualified offerees; a targeting process in partial communication with a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person, the targeting process allowing the user to find out the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to individual records; and an execution process responsive to the planning process that initiates a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user- defined criterion.
2. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the planning process further allows the user to specify at least one of offer starting time and offer ending time.
3. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the planning process further allows the user to specify at least one of message communication time, message content, message triggering event, and message delivery method.
4. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the planning process further allows the user to specify at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism.
5. A user interface computer according to claim 4, wherein the offer acceptance mechanism is one of automatic, user selected, or offeree selected.
6. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the planning process allows the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree in the potential offeree database.
7. A user interface computer according to claim 6, wherein the offer parameter is at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism.
8. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the at least one user-defined criterion is recency or frequency of a user-determined offeree action.
9. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the at least one user-defined criterion is a user-determined monetary criterion.
10. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the at least one user-defined criterion is an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer.
11. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is a marketing campaign budget.
12. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the at least one user-defined criterion is the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one other user-defined criterion.
13. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the message presenting the offer is communicated via at least one of direct mail, alpha- numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page.
14. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the offer includes at least one of an advertisement, a special offer, a refund, a rebate, and a coupon.
15. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the potential offeree database comprises a credit card transaction database.
16. A user interface according to claim 1, wherein the potential offeree database comprises a merchant transaction database.
17. A user interface computer according to claim 1, further comprising: a tracking process that allows the user to monitor the number of offerees that have responded to the offer.
18. A user interface computer according to claim 17, wherein the tracking process further allows the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign.
19. A user interface computer according to claim 17, wherein the tracking process further allows the user to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database.
20. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the targeting process uses an Internet browser to establish partial communication over the Internet with the potential offeree database.
21. A user interface computer according to claim 1, wherein the targeting process is in communication with a plurality of potential offeree databases.
22. A marketing system comprising: a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person; a campaign director user interface that allows a user to generate a marketing offer to qualified offerees; and a campaign server in communication with the potential offeree database and in partial communication with the campaign director user interface that: (i) allows the user to determine the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to individual records, and
(ii) addresses a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion.
23. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign director user interface further allows the user to specify at least one of offer starting time and offer ending time.
24. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign director user interface further allows the user to specify at least one of message communication time, message content, message triggering event, and message delivery method.
25. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign director user interface further allows the user to specify at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism.
26. A marketing system according to claim 25, wherein the offer acceptance mechanism is one of automatic, user selected, or offeree selected.
27. A marketing system according to claim 25, wherein the campaign director user interface allows the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree in the potential offeree database.
28. A marketing system according to claim 27, wherein the offer parameter is at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism.
29. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is recency or frequency of a user-determined offeree action.
30. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is a user-determined monetary criterion.
31. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer.
32. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is a marketing campaign budget.
33. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one other user-defined criterion.
34. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign director further allows the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign.
35. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign director further allows the user to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database.
36. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign server further communicates the message presenting the offer via at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page.
37. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the offer includes at least one of an advertisement, a special offer, a refund, a rebate, and a coupon.
38. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the potential offeree database comprises a credit card transaction database.
39. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the potential offeree database comprises a merchant transaction database.
40. A marketing system according to claim 22, wherein the campaign director user interface uses an Internet browser to establish partial communication over the Internet with the potential offeree database.
41. A marketing system according to claim 22, further comprising: a firewall around the potential offeree database and the campaign server that limits access from outside the firewall.
42. A marketing method comprising: supplying a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person; allowing a user to generate a marketing offer to qualified offerees; providing to the user partial communication with the potential offeree database, the partial communication allowing the user to determine the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing user access to individual records; and communicating a message presenting the offer to at least one offeree having a record in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion.
43. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein allowing a user to generate a marketing offer includes allowing the user to specify at least one of offer starting time and offer ending time.
44. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein allowing a user to generate a marketing offer includes allowing the user to specify at least one of message communication time, message content, message triggering event, and message delivery method.
45. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein allowing a user to generate a marketing offer includes allowing the user to specify at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism.
46. A marketing method according to claim 45, wherein the offer acceptance mechanism is one of automatic, user selected, or offeree selected.
47. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein allowing a user to generate a marketing offer includes allowing the user to specify an offer parameter for each offeree that is a function of the associated record for the offeree in the potential offeree database.
48. A marketing method according to claim 47, wherein the offer parameter is at least one of offer content, offer value, offer qualification criteria, and offer acceptance mechanism.
49. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is recency or frequency of a user-determined offeree action.
50. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is a user-determined monetary criterion.
51. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is an evaluation of offeree willingness to accept the offer.
52. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is a marketing campaign budget.
53. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the at least one user- defined criterion is the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one other user-defined criterion.
54. A marketing method according to claim 42, further comprising: enabling the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign.
55. A marketing method according to claim 42, further comprising: enabling the user to track response of a selected group of offerees in comparison to a selected control group of persons not receiving the offer who have records in the potential offeree database.
56. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein communicating the message presenting the offer uses at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page.
57. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the offer includes at least one of an advertisement, a special offer, a refund, a rebate, and a coupon.
58. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the potential offeree database comprises a credit card transaction database.
59. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein the potential offeree database comprises a merchant transaction database.
60. A marketing method according to claim 42, wherein providing partial communication with the potential offeree database uses an Internet browser over the Internet.
61. A marketing system database server comprising: a database interface process having access to a potential offeree database having a plurality of records, each record having information relevant to a specific person; a user interface process in communication with the database interface process that:
(i) communicates to a user the number of records in the potential offeree database meeting at least one user-defined criterion, while preventing access to individual records, and (ii) receives from the user a marketing offer for offerees having records in the potential offeree database meeting the at least one user-defined criterion; and an addressing process in communication with the database process and the user interface process that addresses a message presenting the marketing offer to the offerees.
62. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, wherein the user interface process further allows the user specify at least one of message communication time, message content, message triggering event, and message delivery method.
63. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, wherein the user interface process further allows the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary cost of the campaign.
64. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, wherein the user interface process further allows the user to monitor at least one of the number of offerees meeting a qualification criterion, the number of offerees accepting the offer, and a monetary return on the cost of the campaign
65. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, wherein the user interface process communicates with the user over the Internet.
66. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, wherein the user interface process is in communication with a plurality of users.
67. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, wherein the addressing process further communicates the message presenting the offer via at least one of direct mail, alpha-numeric pager message, Internet instant messaging, e-mail, push channels, Internet subscription channels, and personal Internet web page.
68. A marketing system database server according to claim 61, further comprising: a firewall between the user interface process and the user that limits access from outside the firewall.
PCT/IB2000/001844 1999-11-19 2000-11-17 Targeted marketing system with third party confidential database WO2001037152A1 (en)

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