While “extreme couponing” and those who participate in the trend may always remain a fascinating freak show, the truth of the matter is that most consumers have a longstanding love affair with the print coupon. To this day, it remains a great way to get a customer into the store for some bargain buys, and offers companies the opportunity to retain and grow their base by following through with expert service and offering other eye-catching products. However, there may finally be some cracks forming in the foundation of this relationship. Consumers are always looking for the path of least resistance, and the prospect of no longer having to sit at a table and weed through the newspapers with a scissors is a delight many are grasping. A recent report from eMarketer.com estimates that by year’s end, over 100 million US adults will be digital coupon users, claiming that “…digital coupons have caught on as a mainstream activity.” Smartphones have made lives easier for many people—and that includes when it comes to saving money. eMarketer believes that this rising trend in digital coupons offered over the web will transfer to mobile, with 6 in 10 opting in to mobile coupon messaging by 2015. One of the biggest motivators of this trend is the idea of loyalty, pointing to a Forbes Insights survey which showed 41% of respondents feeling the most engaged or invested in a brand that offered a chance to “sign up for special deals or email updates.” In one example, Minnesota-based fast-casual restaurant Leeann Chin offers a chance for diners to join a loyalty rewards program. Offers on meals are periodically sent to those loyal customers who opt in, and the idea of exclusivity within these programs is an added bonus. Owner Lorne Goldberg is quick to point to the success of their program, stating “we launched a mobile-based loyalty club in 2011 which gained over 300,000 members in its first year.”
Incentive Magazine puts it this way: “…the proliferation of airline-mile, points, and cash-back programs have commoditized loyalty.”When it comes to automotive marketing, some stores have caught on to the trend and offered the opportunity to join a “service club,” where customer loyalty is rewarded through savings on service visits in the form of an SMS message sent out once a month. “On-the-go devices are also turning bargain hunting into an out-and-about activity,” eMarketer suggests, adding yet another benefit of using a mobile channel. And while the opportunities gleaned from cross-channel marketing are limitless, it’s mobile messaging that’s truly becoming the new love interest of consumers across the globe. Erik Bergstrom is employed at Outsell as a Campaign Operations Production Specialist, working daily on constructing campaigns and assisting with sends through Outsell’s Consumer Engagement Platform. He works directly with Outsell’s mobile marketing channel, while also acting as an editor and copywriter for the content operations team.