Best Practices for Integrating Mobile Coupons Into Your Marketing Mix
Predictions and forecasts near and far say retailers can't afford not to be a part of the mobile web in 2011. It's rapidly growing and reaches a huge audience. Everyday, more companies integrate mobile coupons into their marketing strategies, which enables them to gain sales and promote customer loyalty.
A recent whitepaper from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) titled Guidelines and Best Practices in Mobile Price Promotions, details best practices in mobile coupons, promotions and rebates delivered and redeemed via the mobile web.
“Our recent study with Synovate shows that consumer interest in mobile coupons is high and growing, giving brands, merchants and marketers a powerful new opportunity to establish and maintain relationships with consumers,” said Greg Stuart, CEO of the MMA, in a company press release.
In order to establish and maintain the relationships Stuart was referring to, marketers and retailers alike must understand the five stages of mobile price promotions, as outlined by the MMA:
1. Setup and Communication: Be ready for the redemption of your coupon — i.e., meet all the requirements set forth in the MMA Code of Conduct for Mobile Marketing.
2. Discovery and Acquisition: Discovery is when consumers opt in to your promotions; acquisition is the method in which the coupon is delivered. Promotions can be delivered in a variety of ways, depending on if you use a "push" or "pull" method. Pull methods have the consumer take some sort of action to redeem their coupon, such as sending a short code via text message, downloading and activating an app, interacting with a banner ad, or scanning a 2-D barcode. Push methods allow delivery of coupons once a consumer is opted-in to your messages.
3. Presentment: This refers to the way a coupon is redeemed, such as entering a barcode or mobile phone number at the point of sale, entering a loyalty card number, entering direct rebate information, or texting unique short codes inside product packaging.
4. Validation and Redemption: This stage ensures the validity of a campaign. Once a coupon is cleared of any fraudulent activity and the customer meets its qualifications, it's then redeemed and granted.
5. Reconciliation: This stage provides a method for getting data out of a point-of-sale system and into a reimbursement process. This process is usually managed by a coupon clearinghouse.
These channels and methods allow for multiple ways to communicate. More channels means more ways to get it right — or wrong. Here are five best practices to using mobile coupons:
1. Honesty. Coupons should be presented to consumers in a truthful, nondeceptive or misleading manner. Be sure to:
- effectively communicate terms and conditions by using language such as "Offer valid for items indicated" or “May not be combined with any other offer";
- clearly display disclaimers, warranties, guarantees and expiration dates;
- indicate the delivery method; and
- allow for feedback.
Content and placement. Ensure your coupons are going to the right audience. Avoid any type of content that isn't in good taste or promotes illegal activity.
Transparency. Your company's name, logo and product name should be prominently displayed on the coupon. Make sure recipients know who you are and what you're offering.
Price and value. Indicate if there's a cost involved in the promotion. A coupon's requirements should be easy to find, read and understand.
Privacy and security. Consumers should be able to easily opt in and opt out of your messages. Privacy must be respected (i.e., meet the guidelines set forth by the MMA).
With the mobile marketplace growing by the day, it's become critical for retailers to integrate these strategies into their mobile marketing campaigns. By understanding the process and best practices listed above, your mobile strategy should deliver a healthy return on investment and improved customer loyalty.