Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clip or Click?

I have previously predicted that 50% of all redeemed coupons will be mobile by the year 2012. It looks some other companies share a similar view.

Denmark mobile agency More Mobile Relations has announced that by 2010, redemption value of mobile coupons will grow by 30%. Of course, that's in their native Denmark, and I don't know what percentage of coupons are mobile over there already. Europe, and most especially Scandinavian countries, are 3-4 years ahead of us in terms of mobile marketing activities. But they share the same thoughts as me at least with regard to the general trend of mobile couponing growth.

What are the benefits of mobile coupons that will make them grow so quickly? Let's take a look.

Intent and Execution

One of the major problems of printed coupons is intent versus execution. How many times have you been driving home and stopped somewhere to buy something, only to realize that you left the coupon you wanted to use at home? This happened to me quite recently when I received a coupon in the mail for an oil change. It actually reminded me that I needed to get the oil changed on my car, and so I made an plan to get that done. The next day I was driving home, and as I drove past an oil/lube retail store I was reminded again. But of course, I had left the coupon at home. I stopped anyway and had the oil changed, but this was not the same oil/lube brand that had sent me the coupon.

So let's review what happened here. Brand A had a coupon designed, printed and mailed to my mailbox. That action reminded me that I needed an oil change. But because I left the coupon at home, I stopped in at Brand B (convenient location) for my purchase. Brand A actually paid money which ultimately encouraged me to shop at Brand B.

This wouldn't happen if the coupon was mobile. People don't go out without their phones. Had the coupon been on my phone, I would have been reminded when I saw Brand B's store that I needed to get the oil changed. But I would have driven out of my way to go to Brand A's store because the coupon would have been on my person.

Consumer Preference

Because of the opt-in and opt-out nature of mobile distribution, consumers will only get the coupons that they want. This means that they will actually look forward to receiving the coupons from their favourite brands. So if mobile is better for consumers because they can choose what they want, and choose not to receive messages that they don't want, what does that mean for marketers?

It means that marketers will only pay to deliver mobile messages to consumers who actually want them. This is why we see redemption rates for mobile coupons in the 20-50% range, as opposed to the 0.5 - 1% of printed coupons.

Green Marketing

Canadians redeem 100 million mobile coupons annually. Given the average redemption rates of printed coupons, that means there are probably upwards of 10 billion coupons printed and distributed. That is a lot of paper, ink, and shipping, generating significant environmental impact.

Even without the other benefits, brands can demonstrate that they are earth-friendly by offering mobile coupons.

What does it all mean?

Mobile coupons won't just grow, they will explode onto the marketing scene in Canada over the next 18 months. Brands should be growing their lists now, so that, as consumers come to discover mobile as a value-driven communication tool, they will already be thinking about those brands who have made mobile contact with them. Brands who don't recognize this will miss out, and their competitor will win those consumers.

Read the full article on Mobile Coupons by Danish company More Mobile Relations here.

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