Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
While recognizing that distribution and redemption rates are still small for digital coupons, Barilla America is looking to them to start learning more about its consumers as well as to manage the future when the digital payback becomes bigger.
In the larger sense, the maker of pasta and pasta sauce is using digital coupons to monetize and measure its use of online media platforms. For example, by integrating digital coupons in several campaigns, Barilla saw redemption rates as high as 60 percent, but also was able to track participation in the programs. In addition, the company promoted trial of new products, tracked home printouts and their redemption, and boosted participation on its Facebook page, among other benefits.
"Coupons are an important component of our digital strategies for many reasons," explains Silvia Sartori, digital marketing manager for Barilla America, who spoke last October in Chicago at the LEAD Marketing Conference. "First of all, they help us measure the effect of our consumer engagement campaigns, and connect them to the real world. People are browsing the web, but we don't know how much this is affecting real purchases. There are a lot of studies, but still it is something that we were looking for a way to measure. Coupons are one way to measure these connections."
To promote trial of Barilla Whole Grain pasta, the company used Facebook to offer a coupon, and an in-banner ad coupon linked to website with more content about the product. As part of a "Send a Hug Day" promotion, a Facebook app invited people to send a virtual hug to their friends with senders earning a $1 off coupon for Barilla sauces.
In February 2012, an email blast offering a $1 off coupon highlighted its booth at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Later in the year, email, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook were used to promote summer pasta salads, and introduce a tri-color pasta.
Research from Ipsos MORI has revealed that 73 percent of consumers visiting a brand's owned digital property expect to find a coupon or promotion. Brands need to deliver on those expectations, says Tim Kane, chief executive officer, CouponFactory, which helped Barilla develop its digital coupon programs. "When they type in your URL, the majority of the time, the first thing they'll look for is an offer. So we say, don't disappoint your consumers, but exchange offers for data."
The first time a customer visits a website to print a coupon, the brand should just ask for name and email address. "If you ask too much, they may abandon." But the company should ask for more detailed information on subsequent visits, and incentivize consumers to share the offer, he says.
In which of the three areas below will digital coupons likely provide the most value for brands and retailers beyond traditional print coupons?