Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Information on Using Coupons


Ah, coupons! A tried and true weapon in any direct marketer's arsenal. And, in this type of economy when just about everyone is trying to save some money, it just might be the right time to revisit incorporating a coupon strategy into your marketing mix.

I came across this article today in this months' issue of Canada's "Direct Marketing Directives": Dispelling coupon redemption myths.

It provides some very handy tips that every direct marketer should be aware of, especially if you use coupons or if you're thinking of doing so. Check out the full article for all ten myths. I've highlighted a couple of them that hit home for me.
Myth #1: Short-term expirations drive immediate sales.
Fact: Consumers need more time. A short expiry often cuts redemption far more than any increase in value can make up.

Myth #4: Targeting the most loyal users of a competitor's product yields the best return on a coupon program.
Fact: Light to moderately loyal competitive users are more likely to try a new product and will do so on a lower-value coupon offer.
Now, as a self-proclaimed analytical geek--someone who loves to be able to work with as much customer and prospect data that I can get my hands on--I'd love to analyze the heck out of coupon redeemers. Try to find out what makes them tick. I'd like to develop an understanding of their lifestage and their demographics to truly figure out which offers will best resonate with them. But, as you know, that's all dependent on capturing the coupon-lovers' data...

My challenge to all of you couponning advocates--how do you track exactly who is redeeming your coupon, without making this cumbersome to the consumer? How can you develop a program where you are capturing individual information so that you can better target future coupon efforts? Rebates are one way, but this approach seems costly. I'd love to hear case studies or good ideas.

1 comment:

Ted Grigg said...

Boy Suzanne, you certainly hit upon one of my long term pet peeves with this statement:

"My challenge to all of you couponing advocates--how do you track exactly who is redeeming your coupon, without making this cumbersome to the consumer? How can you develop a program where you are capturing individual information so that you can better target future coupon efforts? "

In my view, couponers have emasculated the direct response strategy with their poor tracking and evaluation techniques.

They emulate direct marketing with a strong call to action, but totally miss the critical database marketing strategy you talk about here.

There are many reasons for this not the least of which involves the relationship between manufacturers and retailers. The manufacturers pay, but they expect the retailers to market their products. Who's on first and who’s on second? Who’s accountable for the ROI for couponing as we know it?

I do have several solutions, but the first is to clearly allocate the accountability for couponing. The second is to set up tracking responsibilities to retailers. This second requirement is a bear.

Retailers often have no idea who their customers are by name, much less which customers actually used the coupons.

And those who do have this data do not analyze or use the information.

You have just identified a huge area of opportunity for the brave souls willing to take it on.