Created in 2007 as a resource for the small businesses that AmEx hopes will drive future growth, American Express OPEN now routinely tops one million unique visitors per month. The company is fueling that momentum by introducing a number of new features to meet members' demands for mobility and social media marketing. Julie Fajgenbaum is spearheading those initiatives.
In June, OPEN gave members the option of applying Membership Rewards points to Facebook advertising purchases. At the same time, it introduced YourBuzz, a free service that lets business owners monitor and contribute to discussions about their companies and markets in social media outlets. These join many other OPEN services, some free and others available for a fee, to help small businesses become more successful.
“It's a classic example of "a rising tide lifts all boats,' ” Fajgenbaum, VP-brand and marketing, said. “To make this happen, we design programs, products and services to address their most fundamental needs.”
Those include educational services for businesses to learn new marketing strategies, she said, or to discover revenue streams or technology products to help them find new customers or manage cash flow better.
Fajgenbaum points with pride to the company's Small Business Saturday initiative, introduced last fall, that urges Americans to shop with local small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She's also proud of the company's Big Break for Small Business, a resource to help companies use Facebook as a marketing tool; and Victory in Procurement, OPEN's program to help businesses secure government contracts.
“We know that business owners are experts at customer engagement, but they often lack the understanding of today's tools and techniques for finding and engaging customers online,” she said of the Big Break program. As for the Victory effort, she said, “Since its inception in November 2009, VIP has educated more than 400,000 business owners and helped more than 28,000 register on the Central Contractor Registration, the primary vendor database for the federal government.” —C.H.