News release

James Russell
Head of PR, Marketing Solutions
+44 (0) 115 828 7269 Tel Email

Affinity marketing plagued by mediocre, according to Experian expert

Nottingham, UK, 5 February 2007 - 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.

Affinity marketing enables non-competitive companies to share customer data and insight to open up new revenue opportunities by identifying customers pre-disposed to their products.  In research from the Future Foundation, half of the UK’s consumers view marketing offers as less intrusive if they are from another company with close ties to a company of whom they are an existing customer.

In the downloadable Experian report titled ‘Everybody is Somebody’s Customer’

(  Nick 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 Nick McCarthy.

Some of the affinity marketing pitfalls Nick cites, include:

1.      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

2.      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

3.      Failing to have affinity marketing programmes as part of the companies’ central ‘business as usual’ marketing strategy, which creates an isolated silo with little or no visibility within the rest of the business

4.      Not agreeing a unified channel and contact strategy – for example, neglecting to use critical preference and eligibility data for marketing offers, as well as wasting vital marketing spend on duplicate and potentially contradictory offers to consumers

5.      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


Nick McCarthy comments:  “The problem is that too many brands view affinity marketing as a ‘disposable’ marketing tactic.  It’s ironic when you consider that brands invest, on average, 20 per cent of their marketing budgets in affinity campaigns.   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.   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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