Card-Linked Marketing Delivers Personalization

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At the crossroads of commerce, financial management, and targeted advertising, card-linked marketing is improving the way businesses generate offers by appealing to consumers where they already spend a significant portion of their online time.

Online banking is among the top activities for consumers on the Web, according to a recent Pew Research report. While 51 percent of U.S. adults bank online, few marketers have sought to reach consumers through their online banking channels--until recently.

Card-linked marketing targets consumers based on past purchase behavior; analytics engines evaluate data such as location, frequency, and amount spent and generate an offer based on the information. The deals appear on the consumer's online banking page and are presented as a bank rewards program rather than a traditional advertisement.

Bank of America built its card-linked marketing program with advertising company Cardlytics.

Customers don't need to sign up for email or check a separate Web site; deals from 4,000 merchants are available online after consumers log into their accounts. "The consumer can ...'activate' any offer available to them by clicking on the deal.... If the consumer decides to make a purchase [which is made at full price], the money saved goes directly into [his or her] bank account," Bank of America's Emerging Capabilities Executive Jason Blackhurst explains.

BankAmeriDeals also automates the deal redemption process, increasing the likelihood that consumers will continue to look for deal opportunities in the future. Once a deal is selected, the offer is electronically attached to the payment card and stored on the account until redeemed at the point of purchase, according to Blackhurst.

While online marketers can drive sales by presenting deals as bank rewards that are better aligned with customers' preferences, mobile marketers, too, can benefit from card-linked opportunities. According to Kantar's 2013 Complete Survey, nearly half of mobile banking users want their bank apps tailored to their shopping habits and locations. Furthermore, a Harris Interactive survey also found that six in every 10 consumers look to--and expect--their banks to find and offer them new ways to save money.

The mobile channel is ripe for card-linked marketing, Kasey Byrne, senior vice president of marketing at Cardlytics, suggests, because it allows for even more in-depth offer personalization. Online card-linked marketing takes location into account by determining where a certain transaction took place, but mobile technology can take location-based offers to a new level with geolocational advertising, according to Byrne. "With geolocation functionality, a consumer would be able to walk into a store, open [his] mobile banking app, and be served with deals based on [his] location at that moment," Byrne says.

Consumer privacy is an area of concern, but banks and other card providers can reassure their customers by reiterating that all personal information is kept secure. "All of the data that consumers would be worried about is always kept behind the bank's firewall," Byrne explains. "Each set of data is encrypted and given a Cardlytics ID. That ID number is the only way we--and our partner merchants--identify the data."

"Card-linked marketing continues to be more useful for all parties because digital technology advances have exponentially expanded the world of commerce, providing new tools for reaching and engaging consumers," Blackhurst says.

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