ACNielsen Launches Major Loyalty Marketing Initiative

NEW YORK -- In a major step to enable clients to gain actionable consumer insights from retailers' shopper information, marketing information provider ACNielsen, a VNU business, yesterday formed a global business unit that will provide end-to-end loyalty solutions.

The goal of ACNielsen Loyalty is to enable retailers and their key manufacturer partners to work with the data generated by retailer loyalty programs to better understand consumers' shopping behavior and preferences, develop targeted, loyalty-building marketing and merchandising programs, and track their impact on shoppers over time, the company said.

The program will draw upon the consumer research and analysis of ACNielsen and the VNU Marketing Information (MI) group, while adding new capabilities focused on the unique opportunity presented by loyalty information.

"Loyalty marketing is an outstanding opportunity for retailers to keep consumers coming back to their stores, create real affinity for a retailer's banner, and capture the largest possible share of their market while maximizing the return on their marketing investments," said Steven M. Schmidt, president and c.e.o. of VNU Marketing Information (MI) and ACNielsen. "ACNielsen Loyalty will combine our information- and consumer panel-management skills, leading-edge technology and advanced analytical capabilities to help retailers find powerful new consumer insights in their loyalty data and use those insights to accelerate their growth. It also will give manufacturers new insights into category and brand performance and help them work more closely with retailers on highly targeted and effective category management programs."

The formation of ACNielsen Loyalty follows an intensive research and development effort, the company said. It said the new unit's capabilities will complement and expand upon numerous products and services that support loyalty marketing efforts currently offered by ACNielsen and other VNU business units.

To had up the new effort, Tom Markert, currently s.v.p. and c.m.o. of VNU MI and ACNielsen, has been named president and c.e.o. of ACNielsen Loyalty. Laurence Michael, currently s.v.p., global retailer services marketing, will serve as managing director.

"The industry has long recognized that loyalty programs can provide highly valuable detail about what's in consumers' market baskets and new insights into their shopping behavior," Markert said. "But to-date, most retailers have struggled to realize the potential inherent in their loyalty data. Our solution combines the retailer-specific transaction data generated by loyalty programs with the complete view of the marketplace generated by our existing consumer research services. Both views are essential to understanding the forces that drive shopper loyalty."
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