Card-Linked Marketing: The New Wonder Channel?

steve olenski
Steve Olenski Sr Creative Content Strategist , Responsys

Posted on January 27th 2014

Card-Linked Marketing: The New Wonder Channel?

I am an incredibly curious person. I am also, at least I like to think I am, a very well-read person, particularly when it comes to the world of marketing and advertising.

When something new comes along, especially something that has 75% of marketers singing its praises, I am immediately curious and want to learn more instamatically, as Burt Young infamously said in Rocky. You just knew I had to get a pop culture reference in, right?

The "something" that had 75% of marketers clamoring it over was something called card-linked marketing (CLM). Now perhaps you have heard of this before but I had not - not until I read the results of a survey of 300 marketers which revealed that three-quarters of them "believe this approach could replace existing types of advertising, including email offers (48 percent), coupons (48 percent), newspaper advertising (30 percent), online search advertising (29 percent), and TV advertising (24 percent)."Image 

That line in quotes above comes directly from an article on CMO.com re: the survey and results.

Before I go any further let me state categorically that I do not believe anything, ANY channel will replace any of the above for the simple fact that in today's world brands and marketers and advertisers need an integrated marketing approach to reach consumers.

I am, in case you did not know, perhaps the world's biggest proponent of integrated marketing so I surely do not think any channel will be replaced.

However, that does not mean there is not room at the integrated marketing table for another channel.

Enter CLM, which according to Kasey Byrne, SVP of Cardlytics a leader in card-linked marketing, is defined as "a new digital media channel for retailers, restaurants and other consumer facing brands which uses actual past purchase information to create targeted, relevant advertising for consumers, presented through the consumer’s mobile and online banking application."

It is also worth noting that the aforementioned survey was conducted by Cardlytics.

But be that as it may, the survey found that 87% of marketers believe there are benefits to CLM with the top benefits being:

  • Better ability to reach loyal customers – 49%
  • Helps consumers save money – 47%
  • Ability to target offers based on consumer purchase history – 45%
  • Increased sales for retailers – 43%
  • Better ability to target new customers – 41%
  • Improved customer satisfaction due to more relevant ads – 33%
  • Precise measurement of marketing campaign results – 27%

On top of all that, says Byrne, CLM has the unique advantage of targeting consumers based on their actual, individual, recent purchase history, not aggregated profiles or personas.

How 'Bout A Nice B&B?

A nice vacation would be nice right now what with all the snow on the ground here on the East Coast. A quaint B&B would be just right and... Oh wait, I'm not referring to that kind of a B&B.

No, the B&B I am speaking of is bank and brand as in you need a bank, or financial institution and a brand to work when it comes to this form of marketing.

Enter Bank of America and California Pizza Kitchen.

Jason Blackhurst, Senior Vice President, Payment Strategy & Emerging Commerce Executive, Bank of America on why they use card-linked marketing.

Image"Card linked marketing allows us to simultaneously deepen our relationship with customers and with our wholesale merchants. It really is designed to be a win-win-win," he said. "Merchants win because we’re driving more people or volume and they get to define how they capture that. For the customer, obviously we hope we’ve built a simplified way of receiving offers that doesn’t require searching multiple websites."

One of those offers may come from a brand such as California Pizza Kitchen, who use card-linked marketing as a a tool to target new guests and change their dining behavior.

I was curious, from a brand's perspective, if customers were unhappy about seeing ads in their financial statements but according to Ashley Ceraolo, VP of Marketing for California Pizza Kitchen, the response they received was all positive, adding that "guests were excited to see the special gift from us."

In terms of their overall budget Ceraolo said card-linked marketing accounted for nearly 20% and may in fact reach 20% in 2014 and added that card-linked marketing "definitely cut into some of the print and traditional advertising (budgets).

So Where Does A Brand Go From Here?

I think if you are a B2C brand this channel of marketing is at the very least worth exploring and investigating if for no other reason it may give a given brand another opportunity to utilize a certain nine-letter word: relevance.

Byrne told CMO.com that "CLM is different because the recommendations provided to consumers are based on actual purchase history, so the ads are more relevant, increasing their likelihood of use."

If there's a way to increase the relevancy factor I am all for it - or at the very least the testing thereof.

This is no different than any other new "thing" when it comes to marketing. You need to test the waters first. No diving into the deep end, unless you're feeling lucky, punk. Sorry, another pop culture reference. See Eastwood, Clint.

What do you think?

Do you think you card-linked marketing is at the very least something you would consider testing?

Or do you think it's not even worth doing that?

(Image source: Google Images, Forbes)

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

Sr Creative Content Strategist , Responsys

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via TwitterLinkedIn or Email

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