Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coupons Work in this Economy

A weak economy presents challenges to all marketers. How do we do more with less? How do we sell things to people, or companies, who can’t afford them?

But sometimes, this type of economic environment presents unique opportunities for direct marketers. After all, our results are measurable. Marketing costs can be justified by clear, countable results.

This point is highlighted pretty nicely in this recent NY Times article: This Season’s Must-Have: The Humble Coupon

From the article:
The faltering economy could mean renewed interest in coupons as shoppers refocus
on the cost of the products they buy — that is, if they do actually buy anything
these days.

Coupons that offer cents off — or percents off — the price of things like groceries, clothing and restaurant meals are particularly popular when consumers need to stretch their dollars. So word that a recession began last December could bring an increase in the number of coupons offered by marketers, as well as redemption rates by consumers.

“Thrift is the new normal,” said Lance Saunders, executive vice president and head of account planning at Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, an agency owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies.

“There’s no stigma to getting anything on discount,” Mr. Saunders said. “Instead, there’s a sense of pride.”

The article goes on to discuss unique couponning strategies, from some unusual suspects (high end Lucky Jeans, for example) and more usual suspects (P&G).

It also discusses the use of new marketing channels such as mobile marketing.
New technologies are also helping to renew interest in coupons, especially
for younger consumers. There are scores of Web sites where coupons can be
obtained by clicking rather than clipping; among them are,,,,, and Many also deliver coupons by e-mail messages.

And coupons are increasingly available on cellphones and other mobile
devices from companies like Cellfire and Outalot. Among the marketers offering
mobile coupons are Arby’s, Caribou Coffee and GameStop.

An advantage of coupons delivered through new technologies is that they can
be customized and personalized, which could help make them more effective
and efficient for the sponsors.
Ah, trackable, customized and personalized—music to this direct marketer’s ears!

Another lesson learned: even if your marketing strategy has never included couponning, simply because it didn’t seem to be the right fit for your products and/or your customer-base, you may want to rethink that strategy in this economy.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this
blog very often.


Grant A. Johnson said...


You are correct, promotions such as coupons will be big in this economic downturn as folks find ways to cut costs and save.

Grant A. Johnson

Suzanne Obermire said...

Thanks, Donald for the kind words! Please keep visiting, and I will do my best to post more often :)

Grant--great to see you here. Thanks for the comment.


Honeygo Beasley said...

You got that right, Suzanne!

Check out this post reviewing a new online coupon site:

Nancy said...

I think this blog rocks! You've got some great direct marketing insight and really add tons of value. Thank you for keeping your posts relevant and up to date.

Tanja said...

Humble coupons - I like this expression. Coupons allow you to make more out of your budget. It is surprising how much you cn save if you invest a bit more time into finding offers and discounts ...

T. Anthony said...

You are certainly correct, the change in the economy is stirring movement in the masses. Both my websites have realized more activity since the recession media attention started. nice blog, thank you -Tom

Suzanne Obermire said...

Thanks, Tom, for visiting and for the kind words. It's interesting to hear your perspective, as a coupon expert.

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T. Anthony said...

Hey Suzanne, just an update. The coupon thing is proving to work on our vitamin and herbal stuff website also :) The Vitamin Shopper

balufeb18 said...

I am agree with you Suzanne. Thanks for share your thoughts.