Mobile Coupons: Economically Friendly Marketing
Tough economic times cause penny pinching Americans to love mobile coupons.
Ask most US consumers if they want to receive mobile marketing messages on their cell phones and they will usually answer with a resounding ‘no.’
Consumers have been pre-sold that allowing advertising messages on their cell phone means that all those unwanted Viagra ads and those messages from the prince in Kenya who wants to give you $10 million will begin appearing on their cell phones.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mobile Coupons are Opt-In Only
Mobile marketing, and mobile coupons, is opt-in marketing. This means that companies cannot send you mobile marketing messages unless you’ve given them permission to do so.
Now, that’s not to say that rule isn’t violated sometimes. But, mobile marketing will never be like email marketing, because there is an intrinsic cost to send the text message as opposed to email where there is no definable hard cost to send another SPAM email. Hence, sending SPAM messages to cell phones with no targeting simply wouldn’t work from an ROI perspective.
Mobile Coupon Growth
The mobile phone is quickly becoming the go-to medium for couponing. As mobile advertising struggles to gain acceptance, it is chipping away at the 300 billion paper coupons issued every year in the USA.
A recent study by Scarborough Research found that virtual coupons sent via text message are making strides and are a significant force to be reckoned with.
Coupon distribution in the USA is still dominated by the old fashioned insert in the Sunday newspapers; 51% of us still obtain our coupons there.
Where We Get our Coupons
Sunday Newspaper – 51%
In Store – 35%
Snail Mail – 31%
Loyalty Programs – 21%
Circulars – 20%
Weekday Newspaper – 17%
Product Packaging – 16%
Magazines – 15%
Email/Text Messages – 8%
Web Sites – 7%
(Source – Scarborough Research)
Advertisers are always seeking the young and affluent and mobile coupons pinpoint this market of early adopters. College graduates are 51% more likely to get their coupons from their mobile phone. Not surprisingly, mobile coupon users also tend to be young adults; those 18-24 are 14% more likely to be mobile coupon users. Mobile coupon users are also decidedly female.
According to a study by Juniper Research, mobile coupons are expected to grow by 30% in the next two years.
Getting Started with Mobile Coupons
The best markets to test mobile coupons are those with young populations and especially those in college towns. Providence, Rhode Island leads the way with 12% of its residents being mobile coupon or email coupon users. Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, San Diego and Washington DC are the best big city test markets. College towns like Blacksburg, Virginia are also great test markets for mobile coupons.
Some mobile marketing sites (https://84444.com) also allow for each mobile coupon to have a unique tracking code associated with them. With a tracking code, advertisers can determine which customers have redeemed the mobile coupons.
Big brands such as Subway have embraced mobile coupons. The thing Subway likes the best about the mobile coupons medium is that it can reach its target audience when that audience is most likely to buy. Subway sends text messages to its opt-in database just before lunch time when workers are deciding where to go for lunch. Receive a mobile coupon and it’s almost already decided for them.
Most mobile coupons start out with the brand starting to create a database of opt-in users. At Subway, for example, posters are hung near the line at the restaurants. When a customer is waiting in line, the only medium at his disposal is his cell phone. So, he sends a text message to a short code (for example, text DIETCOKE to 84444) and he immediately receives a text message in return that enters him in a sweepstakes or provides a discount coupon.
This is where the fun starts for brands. Once a brand has an opt-in database and an “existing relationship” with that consumer, it can send broadcast text messages to that consumer in the future.
A consumer may opt-out of any mobile marketing campaign simply by returning “STOP” to the text message received. According to Anthony Wayne, of the Text Message Blog (http://www.textmessageblog.mobi), the opt-out rate for mobile coupons is only 3%.
“There’s a fine line between sending enough and sending too often,” said Wayne. “If you over-do it, and don’t send anything of value, consumers will tire of your messages and opt-out more often.”
Coupons Go Green
With more and more companies “going green,” mobile coupons fit the bill. Most of your mobile coupons won’t end up in the landfill, but will ultimately be erased by the consumer’s cell phone.
And, that’s good for all of us, whether we are coupon users or not.
Bob Bentz is president of Advanced Telecom Services (http://www.atsmobile.com/) which provides a mobile marketing solution for advertisers and advertising agencies at 84444.com. He received 2,351 text messages last month, many of which were mobile coupons (https://84444.com/mobile-coupon) .