One For You… And One For A Friend!

Written By Julie Determann, Account Supervisor

A common marketing tactic used in retail promotions, often clothing stores, is the practice of offering two duplicate coupons which contain the same discount amount and identical expiration dates. See the sample coupons below taken from a New York & Co. self-mailer.

TWO blog: coupon for you and for a friend

However, they are not really the same or are they? One printed coupon card states “$20 OFF For You” while the other states “$20 OFF For a Friend”. Just curious, but how many of you actually pass this printed discount coupon along to a friend? Do you feel that this is a smart marketing tactic?

In 2013, I think it is safe to say that direct mail is probably not the best marketing medium for socially sharing coupons.  The “share” aspect is much better left to social media marketing and email marketing efforts where the recipient can promptly and effortlessly pass along the offer to their friends and family with a few quick clicks of the mouse. The likelihood of the offer being shared when there is less manual work involved is much higher.  Plus, there are often additional benefits or discounts provided by the online marketer to the recipient after the track-able viral “sharing” takes place.

So a better use for that precious direct mail real estate might be to provide a valued customer with a secondary offer, possibly one with a later redemption period so they come into the store twice to make a purchase, now and again in the near future. A good example of coupon offers with varying time periods can be seen below in this example from The Limited: one coupon for “Now” and one coupon for “Later”.

TWO: Enjoy now and later

But if you really want to encourage a customer to share a printed coupon, it may be wiser to state:  “Shop & Save Together”. This way you encourage the customer to physically shop with a friend and share their discount so they both save $20 off instantly. This ironically, though goes against most coupon legal, “Limit one time use. Cannot be transferred, shared or photo copied.” But, a sale is a sale, and if you want someone to realistically share a coupon, it’s best that you let them do it on their own terms. They are more likely to share it if it’s at their own convenience while shopping at the mall and picking out cute clothes with their friend!

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