Card-Linked Offers

Card-linked offers vs affiliate marketing: which one is right for your goals?

Program managers are constantly seeking innovative strategies to increase brand awareness, customer engagement and brand loyalty. This article explores the benefits of two marketing strategies, card-linked offers and affiliate marketing, offering program managers key insights for informed decision-making.

To increase customer engagement and build brand loyalty, program managers are constantly seeking innovative marketing strategies to outpace their competitors.

Marketers may wonder, "How can I attract new customers, and how can I keep them engaged to drive brand loyalty?"

Card-linked offers (CLOs) and affiliate marketing are both popular marketing strategies aimed at addressing these questions. They both offer compelling avenues for different purposes.

As a program manager, you may want to consider affiliate programs to increase brand awareness. Or, perhaps you’re looking to drive customer engagement and long-term brand loyalty - in which case, perhaps card-linked offers would be your instrument of choice. And what if you want to do both?

This article aims to shed light on the value that both these marketing strategies provide, giving program managers the insights needed to make informed decisions.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy where businesses partner with individuals or entities (aka affiliates) to promote their products or services. Affiliates earn a commission for each sale or action completed through their referral.

Like with any marketing tool, there are benefits and drawbacks to affiliate marketing. We include some below:

Affiliate marketing is effective at reaching a new audience and building brand awareness. Consider the following:

  • 81% of brands use affiliate programs to boost brand awareness and drive sales.
  • About 25% of online advertisers state that affiliate marketing accounts for their acquisition of new customers.

So, it has been the go-to strategy for marketers looking to expand their reach for a while. While affiliate marketing may offer immediate results, it is essential to consider the long-term effects, particularly the inconsistency of results.

Not only do repeat customers have higher engagement, but they also have a higher average order value than first-time consumers. So, once brands have acquired new customers, how can they keep them engaged while building brand loyalty? For these concerns, card-linked offers may offer a better solution.

What are card-linked offers (CLOs)?

Card-linked offers are consumer incentives, and they are changing the landscape on how consumers can earn real-time rewards without the need for any physical or digital coupons. Not only does this benefit consumers, but it also drives sales and increases brand loyalty. Through this channel, retailers can provide compelling rewards, like cashback offers to get shoppers to buy from them and forgo their competition.

This seamless integration into the customer's purchasing process offers unparalleled convenience, fostering a stronger connection between the customer and the brand. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of CLOs.

How to choose between CLOs and affiliate marketing

Although both marketing tools are key to driving top-line growth, CLOs and affiliate marketing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, many marketers use both to drive both brand awareness and loyalty.

For program managers, this means that pairing an affiliate program with a card-linked customer program can be even more effective. While affiliate programs are great for expanding brand awareness, card-linking can be the strategy of choice for program managers focusing on long-term customer engagement and brand loyalty.

Ultimately, there is no one best marketing strategy. Each offers its own value. Choosing between card-linked offers and affiliate marketing should align with your strategic goals.

Olive and card-linking:

Olive allows retailers to integrate CLOs into their existing or new customer programs easily. Olive directly links customers' primary Visa or Mastercard credit cards to a customer program, enabling automatic rewards with every transaction. Rewards such as cashback and rounding are impactful and can enhance financial wellness. Simply put, these rewards can be directly linked to customers' financial goals, like saving, investing, and even donating. Click here to learn more about the power of cashback and rounding for card-linked customer programs.


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