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Generation Q.

Coupons once were for clipping. But these days, savvy companies are targeting consumers who readily have access to the Internet.

As we turn from FSIs to the Internet for savings, coupons are getting a much-needed makeover.

Coupons. Does the mere mention conjure images of your mother sitting at the kitchen table on Sunday mornings, coffee in hand and scissors not far behind? It does for me. Later, there would be the inevitable trips to this store and that, stocking up with the added thrill of saving a buck or two. It wasn’t until I was living alone for the first time and playing grown-up that I realized my mother’s coupon habit (and her mother’s before that) wasn’t as thrifty as I thought. Rarely does a single gal like me need the three or five cans of soup that warrant a price break, and as much as I love a bargain, who of us has the time to skim the FSIs, let alone spend an afternoon dashing around town for a deal? Coupons, I thought, were a thing of the past.

Then, the other day, I received email advertising “Martini Week.” Sure the subject caught my eye, but it was the fine print that really got me: for a two-week period, participating restaurants were shaking up premium martinis at a $10 price tag. Imbibers simply needed a code word to seal the deal. Code words, promotion codes, online deals: I’ve been seeing them a lot.

Maybe I’m just blogging out loud here, but are these not the coupons of the 21st century — eco-friendly, more user-friendly and all-around chicer in their new disguise?

A quick Facebook poll of my friends revealed many of my girlfriends use these new coupons on a regular basis, and according to an April 2010 report from The Nielsen Co., “While newspaper inserts are still the primary method of coupon distribution (89 percent) and redemption (53 percent), Internet redemption growth has skyrocketed, rising 263 percent in 2009.” No longer, it seems, are coupons for clipping. Savvy companies are targeting consumers who readily have access to the Internet, be it via home computer or Smartphone. They also seem to be reaching out to consumers with an attractive asset: money to spare.

Sure, web sites such as Groupon and applications such as mobiQpons alert shoppers to deals at Wal-Mart, but they also advertise discounts at Banana Republic and Whole Foods Market (aka Whole Paycheck), hardly bastions of savings. Recently, one New York-area Groupon discount was for sailing lessons (who do they think I am?). While surveys show this paradigm shift isn’t new, it certainly seems appropriate for the current economic outlook. The Nielsen report confirms:

“…One might think that the lowest income households would be among the heaviest users. In fact, more affluent households dominate coupon usage: 38 percent of ‘super heavy’ users and 41 percent of ‘enthusiasts’ come from households with incomes greater than $70,000. Households with income of $100,000 and up were the primary drivers of coupon growth in 2009.”

Quoting another Nielsen finding, the Wall Street Journal reported in March that heavy coupon users, defined as consumers who redeem 104 or more coupons within the span of six months, “tend to be females under the age of 54 with college degrees and household incomes above $70,000.” I know I speak for my peers and myself when I say that even when I don’t feel like I’ve got cash to burn, I’m going to buy what I need. But even with the economy looking up, consumers need additional incentive — beyond the need — to buy luxury items. By giving an old medium a much-needed makeover, companies are targeting a new demographic: “Generation Q.” And this generation — no matter our age — is listening and ready to spend.

Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.
Photo credit: Bramus!

About JJ Nelson

Freelance blogger for Vertical Marketing Network; food writer; bartender.

14 comments on “Generation Q.

  1. Pingback: Point. Click. Promo. « Blogging Out Loud

  2. Lalaine
    June 22, 2011

    Great atircle, thank you again for writing.


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  9. Ryan Bish
    June 28, 2010

    The coupon campaign will never end. Consumers will always need the feeling of saving money on their purchases to justify their consumer appetite. The rebate campaign did not last because it did not deliver “instant” savings and came with too much red tape. The new phone coupon advertising is already catching on as companies are going so far to locate you and send you instant coupons to the actual store you are walking next to. This is the next phase in the coupon’s endless life and will most likely stay for a long time due to its conveniences, but will the public be OK with the privacy factor? As long as they are saving money, yes.


  10. Nicco
    June 27, 2010

    I am an avid traditional and online coupon user. By joining online manufacturer and retailer clubs and newsletters, I’m finding that to be more to my and the general consumer’s benefit. The online offers are much more targeted to my specific needs which I and many others like me really appreciate. One can quickly find and take advantage of a wide array of online offers with just a few clicks. As a parent with a busy schedule and limited budget, a time-saving option is definitely much more appreciated versus fishing through newspapers, local ads and FSIs which takes much longer and then you have to cut them out.


  11. Jeff
    June 24, 2010

    Web based coupons are definitely here to stay. In this mobile world, pushing out offers to an interested loyal user is a wonderful and meaningful way to build a tangible marketing relationship.

    And check out – talk about empowering the consumer! This is great stuff my friends. BTW, Phil,I aready sent you an invite to join. They will give me $10!!!


  12. Meghann
    June 24, 2010

    I used to feel using coupons had a stigma attached to it for some reason. In the past it seemed like I was always behind that middle-aged housewife who was buying $400 worth of groceries and she pulls out a coupon for each item. Since the economy has not been as strong lately, I have a completely different view on using coupons, but I still think when I pull out a coupon or two at check-out the person behind me in line rolls his/her eyes.

    To me the online coupons/promotional codes are available to consumers are a much more “safe” and successful way for me to save a buck here and there. I find that I tend to use the online promotional codes more when I am shopping online than when I go into a retail store. I refuse to purchase anything online without some sort of percentage off or at least free shipping! Overall, I think coupons help me feel like I’m getting a good deal and encourage me to choose certain brands over others. I do like the idea of saving paper by sending out codes via email or to subscribers’ cell phones.


  13. Joanna
    June 24, 2010

    This year I have definitely come out of my ‘coupon’ shell and feel a sense of pride when I come upon a great deal for 30% a dinner out for 2 or a buy one get one through an online ‘deals’ newsletter. (It’s the best way to rationalize a splurge!) And the bragging rights are just another perk. It is no longer something to hide when you find a deal online but rather something to email around, put on your facebook wall or tweet about. And the eco-concious perk of having it sent to your phone so you can redeem on the spot rather than clipping or printing makes it that much better.


  14. Philip
    June 23, 2010

    As one in 4 consumers report that traditionally distributed paper coupons take “too much effort to find and use” and Instant discounts resonate strongly with 75% of consumers, the path is paved for a great future for Place-Based Coupon Distribution. And while the media is trying to evoke an uproar with the privacy policy for the iPhone 4 which tracks where the phone user is, when interviewed, consumers are fine with the idea if especially if it leads to Place-Based offers. After all, who wouldn’t want a free donut and coffee offer as you approach a Dunkin Donuts store?


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This entry was posted on June 22, 2010 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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