In this week’s masterclass Maple Syrup Media’s Sophie Oldridge explores five ways to master card-linked offers. 

A growing trend in the performance marketing and loyalty space is to use digital channels to drive footfall in-store. The stand out trend of 2015 being card-linked offers. This innovative solution combines a targeted approach with a CPA model to provide retailers with a low risk, cost effective way to maximise footfall and revenue whilst promoting both their online and in-store offerings to desirable consumer groups.

In essence, card-linked offers platforms help consumers earn rewards on the High Street whilst simultaneously allowing retailers the opportunity to influence buyer behaviour through targeted, personalised offers. In the last 3 years, Quidco has built a platform with over 25 retail partners and the banks and other publishers are starting to follow suit.

With more and more brands looking to run card-linked offers campaigns in Q3 and Q4, here are five ways to get the best return from this new channel.

1. Targeted marketing

Card-linked marketing is all about being strategic and personalising your offers to get a response from the most valuable customers to you. Think of all the data partners like Quidco have, given their member base of 5 million and 10 years as an online shopping destination. That data can be used to target shoppers with a higher propensity to buy in certain categories, at certain times of year or with a loyalty to a select group of brands. Learn how the publisher uses their data to segment their base and find out how to drill down to the consumer groups you most want to. It’s also important to get to know how these offers will be promoted to your target groups and what this personalised experience will look like to consumers.

2. Think multichannel

Omnichannel or multichannel, whichever you choose to call it, it is an industry buzzword that is not going anywhere soon. Running your online, mobile and in-store marketing channels as one means you send a consistent message to the consumer and reward them for shopping whenever and wherever suits them. A true multichannel programme starts in house, with retail and online teams working as one to come up with messaging and imagery to promote offers across channels.

3. Avoid the acquisition trap

Understandably, many brands see card-linked offers as a way to acquire new customers and it is certainly a measurable and personalised way of doing this. However, brands that focus 100% on acquisition miss out on running campaigns that can vastly grow revenue and boost ROI. For instance, those retailers that offer shoppers a loyalty rate, for repeat transactions with the brand, generally see increased basket values and increased transaction frequency. This provides revenue that can be pumped back into providing a strong, market leading acquisition rate to a target group of customers. It also means that you could get every existing customer to spend a little more and visit your store a little more often, maximising the return of the channel.

4. Reward loyalty

Following on from my last point, consumers are becoming more and more savvy to the various ways to get more from the retailers they shop with. They expect the added value of a loyalty programme and to be treated like a VIP every time they shop with a brand. Often brands can alienate these would-be loyal customers by publishing a ‘new customer’ and ‘existing customer’ rate. With card-linked offers these rates can be displayed only to the relevant consumers, so that your loyal base feels like they are getting the VIP treatment and your first time buyers feel they are getting the best offer out there, personalised to their preferences. Furthermore, you don’t need to spend money setting up your own loyalty programme and cluttering the consumer’s wallet with another card. Millions of consumers are signing up for card-linked offers because it combines all their loyalty programmes onto their regular debit or credit card.

5. Work with publishers directly

This new channel allows for a closer relationship with publishers, rather than the relationship being held by third parties, as with online. However, some retailers choose to work through networks or agencies in order to run the programme. It is always best to speak to the publisher directly and get in touch with the dedicated account manager for your programme, even if you wish the day-to-day to be run by your third party of choice. This direct communication allows for a more agile campaign with the full benefits of knowledgeable publisher-side staff that can recommend how to get the most out of your campaign.