July 27, 2006 at 15:00 PM EDT
ACNielsen Launches Major Loyalty Marketing Initiative; New ACNielsen Loyalty Business Unit Will Help Clients Use Shopper Information to Gain Consumer Insights and Improve Marketing & Merchandising Programs

Initiative Will Add New Capabilities to Existing Loyalty-Focused Products and Services

In a major step to enable clients to gain innovative, actionable, high-value consumer insights from retailers' shopper information, ACNielsen, a VNU business, today announced it has formed a global loyalty-marketing business unit that will provide end-to-end loyalty solutions.

Insights provided by ACNielsen Loyalty will 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. It will draw upon the broad experience and expertise in 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 & CEO 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 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.

Tom Markert, currently Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of VNU MI and ACNielsen, has been named President & CEO of the ACNielsen Loyalty global business unit. Laurence Michael, currently Senior Vice President, 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."

ACNielsen Loyalty will build upon and complement ACNielsen and VNU capabilities and expertise in areas such as consumer segmentation and targeting, consumer panels, and customized research. ACNielsen's more than 80 years of experience with consumer research will bring a uniquely complete and objective perspective to working with loyalty program data.

"The formation of ACNielsen Loyalty is one of our major initiatives in providing the most thorough, objective and insightful coverage of consumer behavior and attitudes at every level of the marketplace in every corner of the globe," noted Schmidt.

About ACNielsen

ACNielsen, a VNU business, is the world's leading marketing information provider. Offering services in more than 100 countries, the unit provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen's market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns. To learn more, visit www.acnielsen.com.

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