Businesses launch coupon strategies to create increased demand for their products or services, while staying focused on revenue objectives. Understanding the perceived consumer value of your product is important before you consider a coupon discount.  Depending on your products competitive set, your loyalty strategy and where you are within the product life cycle, coupon strategies can be a win/win proposition for your customer and your bottom line.

Understanding Coupon Distribution

Approximately 500 Billion coupons are distributed and 3 Billion are redeemed annually. This puts things in perspective as you consider the cost of printing and distributing coupons.

87% Distributed in Print Media

87% Distributed in Print Media

Despite more access to technology, 87% of coupons are still distributed through free-standing inserts, brochures and ads containing coupons inserted into newspapers and magazines, according to the Inmar Inc. Coupon Trends report. The report also noted that consumers redeemed 141% more digital coupons last year.  This represents 66 million coupons or 2.3 % of all coupons used. Additionally, 5.2% of all coupons redeemed were printed from the web.

YES! A Coupon

YES! A Coupon

It is estimated that 42% of smart phone/tablet users used a mobile coupon. The take away here is that the tried and true distribution methods are still the best way for mass marketers to reach consumers. A technology shift is slowly happening as consumers become more adept using mobile devices. Understanding your customer psychographics will help you determine cost-effective channels to distribute coupons and increase your ROI.

 Establish Coupon Campaign Metrics

Before launching any coupon campaign always establish a tracking mechanism. Tracking by campaign and media channel provides valuable test market data about the media channel, and the amount of discounts needed to motivate customer segments to action.

Establish Coupon Metrics

Establish Coupon Metrics

Using coupon codes or tracking mechanisms for each media channel will identify the channels that perform best, based on customer response and offer. Tracking may be a simple in-house operation or it may be set up with the coupon clearinghouse.  Always have the tracking discussion with your marketing team and resolve to never issue a coupon without a tracking mechanism. Your coupon strategy motto: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.


Use Coupons to Combat Brand Switching

You worked hard to produce a superior product and you invested in your marketing strategy, resulting in tremendous sales success. Now you are faced with me too competitors that launch similar, lower-priced products to steal everything you have worked so hard to establish. You can do nothing, and slowly fade away;  lower your price to their level, and lower your products value and start a price war;  or you can launch a promotional technique such as coupon strategies. Offering loyal customers a discount coupon to maintain their business and launching coupon ad campaigns to select new market segments re-energizes your marketing and maintains your price point, while fending off competitors.

 Coupons Reward Loyal Customers

It costs five to ten times more to acquire a new customer that to retain an existing customer. Staying in touch with customers creates a fan base to help capture their future business and increased word of mouth advertising support.  Coupons offered through direct mail, email and social media allow you to establish an ongoing dialog with customers and provide them with exclusive deals. Shifting to a technology communication platform allows you to communicate more frequently with your customer base, while reducing printing and postage costs.


Establish Partnerships Using Coupons

Partner affiliations are a great way to drive business and generate new customers. Distributing coupons through partner channels offers you the opportunity to identify organizations that have similar customer profiles.

Shared Interest Partners

Shared Interest Partners

Using the ‘birds of a feather’ analogy, look for organizations where your likely customers ‘flock together’. Cross-promote products and offer member benefit discounts and coupons. Presenting your offer as a benefit or reward will get more attention and overcome the clutter of mass media distribution channels.


Coupons To Encourage Brand Switching

When launching a new product or brand extension, you need to generate trail. Offering a coupon for a free trial product, or a high level discount, gets noticed and generates action. It’s more cost effective than distributing free product samples, and you can reach a larger audience with a smaller budget. If your product is in a category that consumers are familiar with, an ad campaign selling your new and improved benefits, and offering a coupon, will encourage  brand switching. Use media that directly reaches your customer segment and tie-in that one appealing product feature with the coupon offer. When a coupon is presented as part of an ad, less is more to stimulate the reader to both notice your product and use your coupon.





Kevin Danaher

Kevin’s career spans over 30 years where he worked for New York Sales Promotion and Advertising agencies such as Ventura Associates, and BBDO developing promotional campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including VISA, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods, Fidelity Investments, and Chrysler. Read More