As you can imagine, I get asked frequently what I think about Groupon, Facebook Places, Living Social, XYZ Deal of the Day, etc etc. I generally think they’re all great, but they’re getting hard to distinguish. What do they do differently than the old coupon book I buy from my kids each year to support the PTA? Are they really helping Advertisers and Consumers connect in a meaningful and sustainable way?
There I go again, using words like “meaningful” and “sustainable” – what does that have to do with my daily deal? It has EVERYTHING to do with it. As a business owner AND a consumer, I believe in a harmony between the two. I don’t mind paying a “fair” price for something, and get no joy from knowing I worked a local entrepreneur over. There are serious consequences to cannibalizing your local business owner – if I like his goods or services, I want to make sure he’s around tomorrow to sell it to me again. If he goes out of business, the people he employed aren’t going to buy my widgets. All this so I can have something at 50% off? We can make the offer “meaningful” by leveraging the data at our disposal and connecting the advertiser’s needs with the customer’s wants. Rather than a shock purchase, let’s cultivate the customer base and teach them to appreciate the VALUE their vendors bring to the table.
Now, this is not the fault of companies like Groupon, we all participate in cultivating this mindset. But as marketers, it is our responsibility to inform and educate our advertisers to make well informed decisions. This is where “sustainable” comes in – is this advertising/marketing effort going to yield the right results for my client, producing a clear upside and ongoing customer loyalty. Did a bunch of people rush in for a deal and never come back? Are those the types of customers we WANT coming into his location? When times are tough, are these the customers that are going to help this business pull through?
We all have choices –it is imperative marketers, advertisers and consumers that work together to respect our local community and create a sustainable marketplace.