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How to harness the power of mobile couponing

July 15, 2010

Ariya Priyasantha is global head of couponing and ticketing at 2ergo

Ariya Priyasantha is global head of couponing and ticketing at 2ergo

By Ariya Priyasantha

The business case for mobile marketing has become extremely convincing, with some very impressive reports of huge ROIs from leading brands.

Many recognize that the mobile phone as a marketing medium has become an effective way to reach a consumer base which is increasingly on the move and engaged with their mobile handsets.

Brands are now moving rapidly ahead in the game with their mobile strategies in line with this growth and are investigating the various mobile marketing offerings available to take advantage the opportunity for their own specific needs.

A particularly popular mobile marketing channel is mobile couponing. This has the potential to deliver ROI significantly in excess of traditional paper-based coupons.

Fast-clip growth
Mobile coupons will generate $6 billion in global redemption values by 2014, according to Juniper Research.

A recent Exposure2 report shows that mobile coupon redemption rates often exceed 50 percent, while paper coupons typically have a redemption rate of only 0.2 percent to 2 percent.

Mobile coupons allow businesses to distribute digital coupons to customers’ mobile phones. They offer significant advantages over paper-based alternatives as they are proven to deliver higher redemption rates, offer better security and encourage impulse purchases.

As a customer acquisition tool, they support traditional marketing activity with redemption data and allow viral campaigns in which users can forward coupons to friends, which in turn create new CRM data opportunities.

Mobile coupons also allow you to create brand loyalty through coupon reward points systems and develop brand entanglement via loyalty promotions or rewards.

The redemption stage of the couponing lifecycle also holds strong value.

Mobile customer relationship management databases can be enriched with lifestyle and purchase data, allowing organizations to build a more detailed profile of their customers for targeting with future marketing and promotional campaigns.

For example, Procter & Gamble worked with us to promote Olay Total Effects. Publicized in mass media ads, the P&G mobile coupon campaign for Olay Total Effects in India was aimed at driving customers into stores for a free sample of the new product over a three-month period in 12 shopping malls.

That campaign remains one of the largest mobile couponing campaigns ever executed by a consumer goods brand in India.

During the three-month campaign, more than 27,000 mobile coupons were issued and 27 percent of customers engaged with the store sales staff to redeem the free sample offer.

Beyond the coupon
The beauty of mobile marketing is in its highly targeted, interactive and personalized nature.

The campaign can start off on a small scale with a couponing strategy and broaden its capabilities and reach once the brand is satisfied with the corresponding returns.

Once the benefits from a mobile coupon campaign are clear, the brand can move on to develop a fully rounded mobile program and achieve an effective mobile integration to the marketing strategy.

There are three crucial phases to consider when adding value through the mobile medium:

Phase 1: Customer data acquisition
Add simple mobile engagement campaigns to your existing strategies to help build a mobile CRM database.

Simple text-in campaigns for an immediate in-store offer is a good place to start – all offers redeemable at the point of sale.

More advanced campaigns could include virtualizing existing loyalty card programs onto mobile, enabling customers to simply sign up on their phones rather than fill out a lengthy form, check their points balances on their phones, redeem points against gift vouchers and forward to friends.

Phase 2: Generate repeat business
Use insight gained from your mobile CRM database to conduct tactical marketing.

Based on your customers’ previous behavior, you can use tactical mobile coupons to bring past customers back into the store.

Keep in touch with your customers by using mobile newsletters introducing new product ranges. Promote viral marketing by getting your existing customers to recommend their friends.

Phase 3: Loyalty
Build a regular mobile relationship with your customers, and communicate previews of new products and services on mobile using a mobile Web site and even mobile video streaming.

You can identify your most profitable customers and enable them to receive exclusive VIP offers from third parties – for example, spa days and movie theaters – with all communications delivered on mobile.

This three-phased approach is made considerably easier through an end-to-end mobile marketing offering which is easily integrated into your current marketing activity.

Using a fully comprehensive mobile marketing solution allows you to use live real-time reporting to make your mobile campaigns fully auditable and easily demonstrate ROI. It also allows you to run multiple campaigns at once from one interface and build insight into lifestyle and purchasing habits from redemption data.

Today’s mobile marketing techniques are able to drive registrations for follow-up marketing and increase customer revenues in a way that was previously unimaginable.

With the ability to integrate with other marketing activity such as direct mail, email or advertising, you can use redemption data to easily quantify the success of your campaigns.

This, and awareness of the need for first mover advantage, should make the mobile marketing proposition an easy sell when attempting to get internal buy-in and budget sign-off.

Ariya Priyasantha is global head of couponing and ticketing at 2ergo, London. Reach him at

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