Category Archives: coupons

Online consumers say: Make me an offer


A recent Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of 1,000 online consumers found the No. 1 thing they want is discounts on products or services. 65 percent of respondents asked for coupons, outranking better customer service, games and entertainment, or news. At first glance this seems depressing for marketers who try to decommoditize their service by focusing on brand aspects, aspirational values, or service quality offerings … so let’s explore.

1. Absent a relationship, price matters. Most consumers don’t have relationships with most brands; think about the brands you care deeply about, and you’ll likely stop at a handful. So any online marketing contact is likely to be superficial, akin to a first date, and of course to get customers to flirt with you, you may have to make an attractive offer. Price framing, in which you set a reference price and then discount sharply beneath it to convey value, is one way to help consumers new to your service judge whether you offer good value.

2. Immersed in clutter, offers matter. Online marketing touchpoints are wildly littered with banner ads, video, Google search results … creating a commoditized communications space. A typical U.S. consumer changes his or her web viewing window 17 times an hour, thus being exposed to thousands of marketing cries each day. No one can possibly digest this many messages, so consumers may expect an offer in exchange for their limited attention.

3. Online touchpoints are just the beginning of a customer relationship. Customers who evolve into loyal fans, every marketer’s dream, make repeat purchases and word of mouth referrals often far away from online communications. Life happens in the real world. Loyalists end up in a store, on the phone, perusing catalogs, perhaps with clicks for future purchases, yes, but those are often the “last click” after considered intent.

So brands have many opportunities to promote their deeper values as they grow share of customer. It just may not be online.

Via Ian Schafer.

Ben Kunz is vice president of strategic planning at Mediassociates, an advertising media planning and buying agency, and co-founder of its digital trading desk eEffective.

The heck with POS price displays. They should promote service.


Valentine’s Day. We rushed through Stop & Shop, the New England megalo-grocery store, trying to grab provisions to cook sweetie dinner. We got lost in the aisles, hated the signage, and were ready to write a scathing piece on stupid point-of-sale displays that obstruct consumer decision cycles.

And then we left the fish behind in the bag.

We returned 45 minutes later, 8 p.m. to pick up the missing groceries … and met stellar service. The teenage clerk at the checkout register directed us to the service desk, who had our food, except for the fish, which had been returned for refrigeration at the fish counter. The fish dude handed the last missing item over, gave a big grin and said, “No prob, man, cook it up and have a nice dinner.”

We did. Which makes us wonder. Why don’t they hire a service guy like the fish dude to direct lost hungry souls in the aisle? For his salary each year, we’d cover it and a bonus by buying more fish.