Couponing and A Down Economy, Part 2

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

Bryce MarshallI recently read a Forrester Research case study profiling one of the primary competitors of the previously referenced restaurant chain I worked with years ago. This brand built customer loyalty and 13 years of consecutive growth. It wasn’t through coupon programs, but an inside-out approach to brand marketing. They leveraged low-cost and user friendly online communities to engage with customers, even at the local store level. Loyal customers voiced their opinions and drove changes in operations, features and menu options as well as other aspects of the brand.
Using online direct response tools like email, mobile and web targeting, as well as social and display programs, they brand built loyalty through relevancy, community and interactivity – not discounting.

So, is couponing in a down economy a crutch? Maybe. Brands lacking the strength to build loyalty through relevancy, community and interactivity have conditioned their customers and may not be poised to emerge into a better economic climate as well as they could be.

For many other marketers where couponing is a reality of doing business to drive trial and adoption, moving those coupon budgets online can be a big win. The efficiency that can be realized in production and distribution of relevant offers online is a compelling argument in itself. Add online consumer behavior and potential efficiencies in usability, redemption and overall response rates, and you can see that “building a better mousetrap” for a coupon program can work.

Internally here at Knotice I’m pleased to say that we have these types of debates all the time. Our platform allows us to be completely agnostic when talking tactics because the software can facilitate both coupon and relevant marketing.

So, what’s better in a recession-like economic climate – coupons or relevant marketing?

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