Thought Leadership in Digital Couponing Innovation – a Day With the ANA

By: Marc Mathies, Director, Consumer Experience & Digital Coupons, Valassis Digital
Published Friday, Aug 18, 2017

Thought Leadership in Digital Couponing Innovation – a Day With the ANA

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with the Promotional Marketing Committee at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) headquarters in New York. On this August day, Manhattan was an unrelenting weather rotation of rain and humidity. However, 33 floors above the wet streets of the city, our thoughts were not on the weather, but rather on the future of consumer promotion.

The Promotional Marketing Committee is for members who lead promotion marketing initiatives within in their organization. Some members work for agencies that support brands and some work for brands directly. I had the opportunity to address a room full of committee members this day on the topic of digital coupon innovation.

One might assume that such a discussion would focus on new technology… some game-changing gadget or whatsit that is poised to change the face of the industry. But I picked a different tact for my talk to this this group. I decided to approach it from the side of the consumer… and talk about a new approach to delivery of digital coupons.

In my presentation to the ANA group, I explained the importance of simple and delightful consumer experience. I explained how important it is to remove barriers for the consumer once they are identified along the path to purchase. If the goal is to improve the relationship between a shopper and a brand… and ultimately move product, then the market must not get in the way. My talk had two main points which I’m sharing below with you:

Marketers Should Not Get Between a Shopper and Her Coupon

It’s important to understand that consumer experience is key to any promotion’s success. Yes, data does tell us that consumers are willing to sacrifice some level of anonymity and time for the reward of a coupon. In fact, the 2016 RedPlum Purse String Survey cited that 23 percent of shoppers would “do just about anything” in order to get a coupon. However, marketers should not get greedy and should use tactics such as email sign ups, survey forms or video views sparingly or perhaps not at all.

We fully understand that marketers need to measure engagement. And putting touch points in front of a coupon conversion is one way to accomplish this. However, there’s there is another approach to consider…

Personalize the Coupon’s Path to the Shopper

By using available shopper marketing data, a marketer can effectively target a coupon to a consumer. If done accurately and within appropriate context, the results can be beneficial to both the consumer and the marketer. You see, by leveraging geographic, demographic, shopper behavior and possibly one-to-one first-party profile data, the marketer can garner a great deal about a coupon recipient BEFORE he or she even takes action on the coupon. This knowledge allows marketers to shorten and simplify the need for consumer action between coupon conversion and purchasing the discounted product.

When the coupon is placed on a journey to find the right consumer at the right time on the right device, marketers no longer need to ask the shopper to tell us who they are or what they prefer. All this information is defined by the targeting itself. This is a powerful shift in thinking that will allow marketers to get the data they need while simplifying coupon use for consumers.

As the industry works to make digital coupon delivery more targeted and more mobile-friendly, consumers will benefit from a greatly improved experience. Brands and marketers in turn will benefit from the more intelligent and contextual matching of the right shopper with the right coupon offer.