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Extreme Couponer: Friend or Foe?

Today’s Ad Age includes a special report about the rise of extreme couponing and posits that those who coupon the most – so-called Enthusiasts – are a marketer’s “worst nightmare.” REALLY? I don’t think so.

According to the excellent statistical presentation in the report, 13% of couponers accounted for 70% of all 2010 coupon redemptions. These folks are tactical masters but far from a nightmare.
If anything, marketers are their OWN worst nightmare. Coupons can be effective tools for generating trial purchases. If the brand lives up to consumers’ expectations, couponing can lead to brand switching and eventual loyalty just as surely as sampling does. Brands and retailers that continually rely on coupons to goose their numbers, however, are simply sacrificing margin for top line results as they teach shoppers to only buy “on deal.”
Coupons can work when properly executed. Coupons can also work against the interests of the brand and the retailer when abused. Don’t blame the crafty shopper; blame the lazy marketer