Marketing has been subject to massive change in the last 15 years, the move from offline to online, inbound rather than outbound, engagement instead of interruption. One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that quality content wins every time.
That’s not to say older methods of marketing no longer work, they either don’t work as well or just work in different ways. TV advertising is as an example, where, to be successful companies are having to be far more creative. Usually integrating the TV campaign with online elements to engage consumers further.
No matter how advanced marketing becomes, discount and voucher codes still attract consumers in their masses.
I have never been a fan of these tactical elements. They exchange profit margin for short term revenue gain and unless part of an orchestrated campaign create little loyalty. They can even devalue a brand.
Instant revenue, though, is hard to ignore. With many companies attracted by the easy money. There are thousands of websites listing discount codes and vouchers. Earning their money from affiliate commissions. They do very little to add value and climb over each other to appear top in the search results. Businesses offering discounts then end up on a downward spiral, giving away margin in the form of commission and discounts to beat the competition. At the mercy of intelligent consumers searching out voucher codes before committing to a purchase they were going to make anyway.
In the same way price comaprison sites have driven down prices online, as businesses cometed to appear first in the listings, voucher codes are having a similair effect. Likely to IPO later this year at around $750 million, Groupon has taken the online discount code market by storm.
Why is Groupon so successful?
1. Taking the Code Out of Discounts
On Groupon you don’t have to click a link to access a code to use on the retailers site. With the Groupon model they don’t need to track that click to claim their commission. The whole transaction takes place on the Groupon site.
2. Real World Discounts
The majority of offers on Groupon are from real world outlets rather than online ones. This has the potential for a wider appeal, both from consumers and businesses.
3. A Focus on Local
Local is the new niche online and Groupon offers are based on location. This makes them highly relevant to the target audience, leading to a greater take up on offers.
4. A Deal a Day
By limiting the offer to one a day it it maximises the potential for take up of that offer and return for the advertiser.
5. Minimum Quantity Required
The main objective of Groupon, to encourage group buying. Each offer only comes into effect when a minimum amount of offers have been sold. Again maximising return for the advertiser.
Whilst these points distinguish Groupon from ordinary discount and voucher code web sites, there is one other point that makes them stand out:
Yes, you heard right, content!
Groupon employs over 400 writers and values everyone of them. Their job is to turn everyday discounts and offers into unmissable opportunities. The quality of their writing directly impacts on the success of the offer. Some examples from recent offers:
Without horses, salt licks would only dissolve in rainstorms and in the mouths of salt-deficient humans seeking to restore their serum-sodium levels to at least 135 mEq/L. Celebrate our hoofed counterparts with today’s Groupon…
Historians credit karate with introducing unique physical discipline, refining the human can opener, and inventing the art of precision window placement. Find your role in a strong tradition with today’s Groupon to Max Arts. Athletics. Wellness.This Groupon is valid…
People often do things in hotels that they would never do in their own homes, such as sleep soundly, watch Marley & Me, or let the kids drink as much shampoo as they want. Let loose with today’s Groupon…
As you can see these quirky introductions give horse riding, a karate class and a stay at in hotel a different dimension.
Discounting on it’s own is not good enough.
You have to add value. Others have imitated the Groupon model, what they are hard pressed to do is match the style. Will Groupon survive? Probably. It may get taken over, become part of a richer offering but it will only ever be as good as it’s writers and the content they produce.
There has been much talk online about the new role for journalism and journalists. This is even more evidence of the crucial role writers and content creators are going to play in the success of future business.