Since the days of grocery shopping trends as a pursuit and hobby, hundreds of companies have realized how important product placement and strategy is to the standard shopper. Besides attractive prices, many shoppers are comfortable to seek out a ‘sale’ or discount in a variety of forms. By adding value to a brand name often involved an incentive, some sort of ‘kick back’ for the shopper involved so that they can make the vital decision: to buy, or not to buy? Avid shoppers, grocery shoppers in particular, have quickly turned ‘coupon-ing’ into a hobby and pursuit, staking out particular coupons to redeem on new products, and to try out new brands.
The relationship between vendor and shopper in today’s generations has evolved to thousands of new possibilities with the advent of the internet. As shoppers become more knowledgeable about brands product lines, doing their own research on their favorites, companies are beginning to find great value in the promotional code effects. Coca-Cola continues to dominate its marketing campaigns with secret codes inside packages, that are then redeemed online. The incentive to collect these codes with a chance of winning a larger prize are significant; some codes are used as ‘instant win’ incentives, while others are used towards a ‘points’ system that can be redeemed for other items. Increased customer loyalty and brand dominance are essential components for many brands to survive in today’s competitive marketplace.
Pepsi Points launched a strong marketing effort in 1996 with Pepsi Stuff, in an effort to reach and obtain customers directly. Although the internet was still in a growth phase at that time, Pepsi tapped into new market potential on the premise of collecting Pepsi Points and redeeming them for Pepsi ‘gear,’ cash prize drawings and spots on television. The favorable appeal of simply collecting and redeeming has shown positive results for all parties involved. Pepsi hoped to steer customers away from competitors for such a similar product, and gain significant brand awareness through promotion of Pepsi merchandise. This year Coca-Cola has launched its ‘My Coke Rewards’ campaign with the internet as its driving component.
Brands such as Kraft, Kellogg’s and Post cereals deploy similar strategies with ‘inside-the-box’ toys and incentives for instant prize redemption. However, coupon promotional codes are a growing market that can offer the next step: the customer who redeems their points or codes online must fill out a profile. In its essence, this is a form of customer ‘disclosure;’ for the first time amongst a variety of marketing efforts, companies are able to target exactly who is doing the buying/redeeming, and track customer behavior at a much more tangible level. The data is time-sensitive, demographically favorable, and offers limited chances of ‘cheating the system’ unless coupon codes are stolen and distributed in a different way. As a result of the increase in coupon codes, there are still internet rule-breakers who have grown by distributing ‘used’ codes or attempting to tap into insider information on code sequences. Although the success rate of these groups is limited, companies do need to monitor and protect their coupon distribution and data collection systems frequently to avoid abuse. Companies such as Brand Coupon Network promote both a print-controlled and online version of coupons and redemption strategies to help businesses build frequent customers over the long-term. Burstmedia.com published an interesting study showing the benefits of coupons that increase loyalty, brand awareness, online frequency, and are perceived as attractive incentives for new customers. Simply logging in codes online is quickly becoming a frequent internet activity for younger generations, as social networking sites fuel online frequency and ‘surf time.’
Collecting information on customers is a vital resource for marketers and advertisers, regardless of the industry. Since promotions, marketing campaigns, and other initiatives rely heavily on finding the right customer, more and more marketing dollars may be finally directed towards the right audience. As consumers become increasingly net-friendly, the opportunities for tracking behavior, likes, dislikes, and patterns grow exponentially. Businesses can create more cost-effective and lucrative campaigns as coupon code redemption rates are becoming more exciting, promising, and targeting the right audience.
The attraction of coupon code redemption lies in the basis of consumer behavior and instant gratification; the concept is low-risk and highly user-friendly. These are both components of effective marketing efforts that are consumer-driven but may offer long-term rewards for any company. Jumping online to see a result form a direct purchase is a great way to increase brand awareness with limited effort. It’s also a chance to highlight a company website, watch traffic increases upon your campaign’s deployment, and track patterns and trends for future efforts.