Coupon campaigns have been around since the launch of the first paper coupon by Coca Cola in 1887. The first lot of coupons were distributed on the streets and in magazines and newspaper. Wow! that is  a good century old marketing tool. Since then it has grown in popularity, with it being almost a give in American retail and now a part of the marketing mix of Indian marketing ecosystem. Since then however the coupon has evolved and in the new digital times it’s become a more effective tool.

Why you should use coupons ?

Coupons are an inexpensive form of marketing, nearly half of all retailers and brands  reported offering consumers some form of bonus coupon program or gift with purchase. This means your competitors are probably utilizing coupons in their marketing plan and maybe should you too. With advent of digital it has now become easier for products in the FMCG category to use on pack /in pack digital codes. You should use Coupons – digital or print to – acquire new customers –  increase sales of specific products – Increase brand awareness – move out unsold inventories – reward existing customers – retain former customers – up sell a higher margin product – Increase social media engagement ……..add to it that this is highly measurable activity

How to use coupons in your sales  promotions

Coupons should be used in a way that they not only motivate the consumer to purchase the product but creates good brand memories. This way there will be good social media stories about your brand. That’s free marketing for you! This can be done by by creating a cyclic format where customers just don’t get price offs or discount all the time ( this will ensure that your brand is not perceived to be a “discount” brand.

– Run programs with coupons that deliver  rewards instead of discounts always. Eg: A free Rs.200 voucher for online shopping on purchase of a toothpaste See Link

– The reward should be relevant and experiential. Eg: Free Movie tickets on purchase of a shampoo.  Everybody loves the movies! See Link

– The perceived value of the reward should be high, even equal to the value of the product purchased (not too high if you are an upcoming brand, else it will seem too good to be true). A known food company gave a minimum gift of Rs.150 on purchase of a Rs.100 See Link 

– Add a sweepstakes. Everyone loves to win the lottery. Add a contest with chance to win big. It always works. A large personal products brand gave assured gifts and a chance to win Ipads and it worked! See Link 

Applications of Coupons Coupons can be used in multiple ways for multiple marketing goals 1. Gift with Purchase 2. In pack /On-Pack promotions 3. Contests and Sweepstakes 4. App Download 5. Online registration 6. Product trial 7. Referral marketing

Coupon Distribution Methods You can distribute coupons on multiple formats in different ways 1. e-coupons delivered online , in app ,sms ,email 2. Paper Coupons 3. M-Coupons – sms based coupons for the segment that is not online 4. On-Pack/In-pack

Making Coupon Programs effective So we have a great coupon idea with fantastic offers which are bound to attract the customer ,but that is not all for it to work. There are  certain hygiene elements of the campaign that you must keep in mind before launching the campaign

  • Clear, Concise Text Detailing Offer and Terms
  • Ease of use along with a clear explanation
  • Product Image and packaging
  • Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )
  • Any Necessary Legal Copy
  • Expiration Date
  • Complaint redressal – Company Name, Address & email

Conclusively, coupons are a very effective marketing tool with a proven model of success. If you have not used it earlier try it with a small budget, you will see instant result. If you already use coupons try out the above to get a better ROI.

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