Ok class is in session. Coupons are a promotional tool to get consumers to try a new product or to become loyal to a brand. Coupons can also used as a very effective way for brands to phase out a product be it because of a same brand launch of another product or some change in the existing one. I want to focus on the ability to accomplish a few things as it relates to not only aggressive market penetration but the benefits of boosting social marketing and the acquisition of valuable analytics.
I did not intend for my rants to become a series but I guess I have more issues to work out than I thought. I recently wrote about my irritation with brands segmenting small and separate budgets for Social Media, not integrating or financially supporting a medium with reach that pales most other media. Now I have another issue that is budget related. Make the offer worth something! We are Social Marketers not Social Magicians. Please excuse if my tone ever comes off too aggressive I just want to point out some facts and food for thought that might help some brands out there benefit more from their social marketing activities.
Before we go further let me acknowledge something so I don’t get threats from some of the classically trained and talented CPG professionals. I know all brands are not alike and some products have true fiscal restrictions and branding issues that do not make it feasible to offer deep discounts through high value coupons. Those brands know who you are and by the statement above I am not speaking to you. But still stick around anyway and keep an open mind.
In some cases issuing a high value or even free item coupons may result in a cheaper tactic than offering a free sample. Have you ever considered the cost involved in offering a free sample? From the manufacturer’s point of view, they have to manufacture the products in special packaging, promote the free sample and finally mail that sample. Many times these samples are mailed or delivered by street teams an additional cost beyond the packaging. In addition samples often end up in the hands of consumers that may have little connection the product.
By delivering the coupons through Social Media you reach out to consumers that have some awareness of the brand and can share the offer to their friends which statistically prove in many cases are a lot like them demographically.
Another hurdle to high value coupons is fraud, consumers that have seen one too many episodes of Extreme Couponing taking advantage. Visions of carts full of free coupons cause brands to have sleepless nights. The ability to limit access and fraud protections that are available can drastically limit if not eliminate fraud and in the case of CoupSmart the coupons have the ability personalized with the picture of the brand fan right on the coupon. Smile!
The argument that the consumer might not pay market value for the product also is a factor that brands consider. Well to this one I say have some faith in you product if you get a consumer to try your product they should like it.
Uh oh here comes the big one COST. “I cannot afford to give product away” but it is not about the product cost it is the overall campaign budget. Social distribution is very cost effective and the sharing can replace expensive media buys allowing the brand to increase the value of the offer without blowing out the budget. Spending thousands in media to influence consumers to give a product trial can be offset by the ability to deliver a high value coupon effectively. Also my not handing out some miniature version the client can actually allow the consumer to experience more than an initial try. Not to mention the high value of the offer can often score some “generosity” points with the consumer.
Recently here at CoupSmart we handled a campaign for Lindt Chocolate. Lindt offered a million coupons for a free, yes FREE sample of their sought after truffles. The campaign delivered here are some of the numbers.
-Over 750,000 coupons served in the first 72 hours.
-Peak volume of over 2,000 coupons per minute.
-Over 5 million impressions through sharing of coupons.
-Fan base doubled to over 1,000,000 fans.
-People Talking About This grew over 1,000% to top 560,000 – the 2nd biggest increase for Food/Beverage on Facebook (the 1st was Red Bull who sponsored a $65MM jump from space).
-Over 600,000 unique consumers to remarket to via email and drive long term revenue growth.
To quote Charlie Sheen “Winning”! Impressions, Fans, word of mouth and new customers and since the campaign Lindt has experienced an increase in overall sales so add REVENUE. All this from a campaign that also allowed the brand to gather critical “Fanalytics” that will tell them more about who their customer is and how to reach them.
Social Marketing works and when there is a strong compelling offer consumers will react. Whether they feel it is a thank you to them for being a loyal customer or a great first impression, a strong offer gets noticed.