Is Card-Linked Marketing the New Hidden Jewel?

  |  May 6, 2014   |  Comments

Although card-linked marketing has proved to be an efficient strategy, it is underutilized by chief marketing officers, says a study from Bank of America.

More than 90 percent of chief marketing officers (CMOs) consider card-linked marketing (CLM) to be an effective tactic, but surprisingly, less than 40 percent have actually used it, according to a survey conducted by The CMO Club on behalf of Bank of America (BoA).

For those who haven't yet heard of this marketing approach, here's how it works: CLM uses consumers' purchase data to provide them with relevant deals through their online and mobile banking applications. For example, with BoA's CLM program, called BankAmeriDeals, when consumers log into their bank account, they are shown several merchants and deals. If they activate an offer and make a purchase, a discount will be credited into their bank account at the end of the month.

BoA's survey of more than 200 CMOs, vice presidents, and other executives in the digital marketing industry reveals that 90 percent of CMOs who used CLM saw a revenue lift. And 98 percent of them responded that CLM was an effective solution for targeting consumers. In addition, more than half of CMOs said that CLM drove customer loyalty and generated repeat sales.



                                                         Image Credit: ClickZ

"Unlike other advertising platforms, CLM gives marketers the ability to leverage consumer data anonymously and securely to tailor promotions based on actual consumer spending," says Jason Blackhurst, senior vice president and Emerging Capabilities executive at BoA. "In this way, marketers can provide greater value for consumers to drive sales, avoiding irrelevant, untailored online advertisements."

He points out that CLM provides marketers with a 360-degree view of purchase behavior: what products or services were purchased, where and when the purchase was made, and whether the purchase was a repeat or first-time transaction.

But regardless of CLM's effectiveness, 62 percent of CMOs say they have not yet adopted this marketing approach. And more than half of them say they don't know how CLM works, while 34 percent doubt its effectiveness.

"We found a significant lack of knowledge among CMOs, with many admitting they either were unaware of how card-linked marketing worked altogether, or only had some knowledge of the channel," Blackhurst tells ClickZ.

However, 96 percent of CMOs in the survey did say they were planning to use CLM in future campaigns.

Some other interesting findings from the study include:

  • Seventy-five percent of CMOs responded that targeting and customer insights (purchase history, frequency, location, spend, etc.) were the most crucial aspects to a marketing program's success.
  • Forty-four percent said that the task of targeting and reaching the right consumers ranked as the most difficult aspects of implementing targeting campaigns.
  • Sixty percent deemed the ease of use and simple implementation as crucial marketing program elements.

Based on these findings, Blackhurst suggests that marketers should educate themselves on the benefits of CLMs, and look for opportunities that this approach may bring to their businesses. "They also need to find out how to implement test and learn examples, especially as older tactics like direct mail continue to be less effective," he adds.

You can request the full survey from BoA.

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Yuyu Chen

Yuyu Chen is a junior reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013.

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