Through the first nine months of the year, 2.5 billion coupons were redeemed, up 5.3 percent over last year. From fast food joints to college campuses, the most prevalent trend was further digitization of the formerly paper-only clippings. What began slowly with printable online coupons blossomed this year into a multi-platform phenomenom, spearheaded by the popularity of smartphone-compatible coupons. Scannable barcodes, in-store access, social media rewards and more brought the former stalwarts of Sunday newspapers to a younger, hipper crowd.
I point to this story because it’s yet another example of how digital is radically improving a marketing practice. I come from a promotional background, where I learned early on that clients run promotions to see an instant uptick in sales. Yet, you don’t want to devalue product or brand via overly aggressive price-based offers. That’s where the magic of digital comes in, because digital allows a brand to veer from mass marketing offers to individualized offers. A packaged goods brand doesn’t have to offer a buy-one-get-one to the whole city via a print circular, the brand can offer the buy-one-get-one just to people in the soup aisle at Safeway on Friday afternoons (provided they’ve opted in to receive location-based offers of this sort).
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