Couponing and A Down Economy, Part 1

This is the first entry of a two-part series examining different online marketing strategies and tactics in a struggling economy.

Bryce MarshallThe economic climate today means folks are conspicuously tiptoeing around the big “R” word – recession. Marketers everywhere are battling to maintain, if not grow, their share of the consumer’s shrinking pocketbook.
This climate reminds me of 2001 when I worked with a regional restaurant chain based in the California Bay Area. The ripple effects of the Internet bubble-burst were felt throughout the Bay Area, Silicon Valley and along the Pacific coast. A company that was already aggressive in couponing through clippers and FSIs upped the ante, pushing more coupons. And, following September 11th the situation was dire. By this time the customer was trained to respond to the coupon, which they could expect in every Sunday paper.

Was this the right strategy? I don’t know. Regardless of the medium – an email or an FSI – this question persists: is aggressive couponing an effective approach in a down economy?

Within some categories – specifically Consumer Packaged Goods – couponing will always thrive. Brand loyalty is scant and couponing is a necessary part of trial and adoption and building purchase frequency.

In other categories, a marketer needs to take a long-term look at a short-term couponing strategy. The short-term goal is to keep the numbers up during a down economy. But, if now is the appropriate time to ramp-up a coupon program, when is the appropriate time to pare it back? Will your customer return to rack rate with you?

See part two here.

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] The Lunch Pail « Couponing and A Down Economy, Part 1 […]

  2. […] multiple sides of the issue concerning couponing. Specifically, I addressed the following question: Is coupon discounting an effective tactic for marketers to consider in a down economy? I concluded that a couponing strategy needs to be deeply scrutinized by any marketing organization […]

  3. […] what does that mean for retail? It means coupons, and lots of them, through any channel possible. We have some opinions on the right way to coupon in these economic conditions. An immediate and interesting trend of note is that the response rate to mobile coupons is […]

%d bloggers like this: