Clicking Is The New Clipping: Coupons In The Digital Age

Contrary to the identity of coupon clippers from years past, the coupon is now cool.

It was unfathomable just a few years ago that a coupon company like Groupon would be considered fashionable or interesting enough to run a commercial during the Superbowl. But combine a struggling US economy with digital media, and a behavioral shift towards living socially online, and the result is a new life for the coupon.

Kantar Media reports the use of digital coupons grew by 60% in 2010, while printed free-standing inserts rose by 11%. This is incredible growth for a marketing strategy that hasn’t seen an increase in year-over-year usage since 1992.

Marketers are seeing digital coupons as a way to revitalize their brands by literally putting value in their customers’ hands, and refusing to cede market share to lower cost competitors. Coupons were once seen as a taboo for higher-end brands because they feared the discounting of their brand value more than the shortening of their margins. And now there is an implicit need to connect with people and help them afford the things they want to buy.

But this new coupon-chic is more than that. Coupons have become the clutter-busters in social media because people love to share with others how smart they are with their money. People want to tell other people that they got a great deal, and they want to help their friends get the same great deal. For a marketer, a coupon is now a social media badge of honor to be worn by loyal customers, new customers, and their networks of like-minded friends. Coupons can be shared, posted, liked, emailed, forwarded, and in the case of Groupon they can be collectively bargained for.

At The Weinstein Organization we have long recognized the value of the coupon. It is a great tool for increasing store and web site traffic, sales, and for building email databases. We enable our coupon emails to be easily shared on social networks to increase the effective reach of the campaign, thereby increasing the marketing footprint for our clients in ways no other strategy can match.