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Affinity marketing “plagued by mediocrity”

Affinity marketing “plagued by mediocrity”

Poorly planned affinity marketing campaigns are nothing much more than exercises in carpet-bombing, according to the author of a new report released today by Experian, the global information services company.

Nick McCarthy, Director of Decision Management for Experian’s Integrated Marketing division believes that brands view affinity marketing as the customer acquisition equivalent of a ‘get rich, quick’ scheme.

In the report entitled ‘Everybody is Somebody’s Customer’, he argues that companies are failing to apply marketing common sense to affinity programmes.  More often than not, brands enter into affinity marketing relationships without a long-term strategy or clear objectives.

From a lack of segmentation through to little or no shared insight, most affinity marketing projects are plagued by mediocrity, according to McCarthy.

Some of the affinity marketing pitfalls he cites, include, not choosing the right partner – from not understanding whether each other’s marketing strategies are complementary, through to having wildly different cultures and customer bases.

He also point to neglecting to assess the commercial opportunity – for example, not running detailed headroom analysis to identify customer overlaps or even having unrealistic shared goals for the programme.

Not creating a closed-loop marketing process by failing to produce MI (management information) reporting on the campaign, or taking further actions on the results within the partnership, is another concern.

McCarthy said, “The smart brands are the ones that do their homework – they know which brand’s customers will be receptive to their offers and vice versa and invest in a carefully mapped out long-term strategy to deliver sustainable growth.

“However, for every brand getting it right, there are dozens failing miserably. They find themselves executing on plans without any real insight only to find themselves resorting to sending blanket offers to each other’s entire customer base.

He concluded, “It’s a false economy and for the consumer on the receiving end, it’s just more unwanted junk mail.  It’s time brands realised they need to drive affinity marketing from within their marketing department and align it with a set of common business objectives and our report gives them real guidance on how to get it right, the first time.”

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