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December 9, 2010

Navigating the Waters of Special Offers

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It's the holiday season, and this year, consumers are demanding special offers and promotions more than ever. But what used to be a seasonal phenomenon has become a year round expectation. Our major brand clients are increasingly utilizing offer management systems to promote themsleves on a local and global level.

We looked at a community of local marketers using our marketing automation platform before and after an offers management system was available. As seen in the graph below, marketing campaigns have increased by about 45% since the implementation of offer management.

This trend is not surprising. Almost a year ago, AdWeek predicted that special offer redemption rates would increase by 3-5% annually for the "foreseeable future," given our newfound culture of frugality. So what does this mean for marketers?

When properly executed, monitored, and tested, special offer campaigns can be a great way to increase brand awareness, generate new business, and increase loyalty. When taken lightly, however, special offers can damage brand equity and cut into revenue. So how can major brands benefit from the use of special offers and ensure that their local affiliates are implementing the offers effectively?

Pica9's solution is to systematize.

The first step is to create an approval loop. With an approval loop, all offers are filtered through revenue managers - experts on calculating discounts to optimize profitability. This ensures that offers are brand compliant, relevant, and created with the well being of the local affiliate and parent brands best interests in mine.

Next, local marketers must utilize the master brand equity to get the word out. An offer is only incising if the consumer perceives value. Utilizing the power of your brand creates a unique selling proposition and will be a driving force for pulling your offer through the sale cycle.

The third step is to utilize the local marketing channels, particularly social media. Social media outlets are very personalized and localized by nature. Many consumers utilize tools like Twitter, Facebook, (and now Groupon) mainly for product/service reviews and special offers.

Systemizing offer management enables tracking and reporting on a local and master brand level, and is the last step. After all, the profitability of special offers is in the resulting consumer traffic and the invaluable consumer data generated by offers. The more data your brand collects, the smarter your future offers can be.

Special offers can boost brand visibility and overall profitability but only when properly executed. Master brands can also increase user adoption amongst their local advertisers by giving them the tools to create relevant, profitable special offers. However without a systematized implementation, brands run the risk of loosing money and damaging brand equity.

What is your offer management strategy ? Has your brand utilized special offers to make the most of a financially challenging era?

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by Kevin Groome

Founder, CampaignDrive

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