Research from Nielsen/McKinsey NM Incite confirms again what other reports have found: people predominantly start following and liking brands because of deals and promotions. Nearly 60 percent of those who go to social network sites are actively looking to receive coupons or promotional discounts.
Although the research deals with social networks, there are multichannel and individual challenges and opportunities.
As a matter of fact, it shouldn't really come as a surprise that people often start liking or following brands because of deals, rebates and promotions. Obviously, some brands have more real fans in the traditional social sense than others.
Remember the idea of Lovemarks and loyalty beyond reason? That deep and emotional connection some brands are able to develop with their consumers? They exist but how many really do?
Most of the time, and certainly in times of economic uncertainties, people still love coupons and promotions. Some social sites have even built their entire model around them. However, the truth is that the love of deals is a human and channel-agnostic one, that has little to do as such with social networks.
Obviously, people follow brands for promotions. Of those who are looking for deals, nearly one-quarter visit those sites weekly. In terms of a subscriber base, those are pretty impressive numbers. Companies and brands with that kind of weekly "followship" have a built-in audience that can be targeted and approached on a regular basis.
Promotions and deals are channel-agnostic
However, people also like to go to a brick-and-mortar store with a coupon they find in a newspaper. And aren't promotions by far the preferred 'content' many people seek in email programs as well?
Loyalty can be rewarded with promotions. Loyalty can even be gained with deals now and then. However, bargains and deals have their limits. They shouldn't erode margins and replace great customer experiences. On the contrary: although it's sometimes interesting to use deals for specific target groups, based on the channels they use (after all, each sales channel has a cost), an integrated, considered and even individual and personalized approach is far stronger.
Relevance is also a matter of consistency across different interactions and it's no different in promotions. Indeed, offering promotions is one thing, doing it in a proper and consistent way that doesn't weaken the brand another. The best way to avoid an overabundance of promotions and losing sight of the global picture is simply by putting the individual customer and prospect in the middle of the whole process and gain a single and cross-channel view on him or her.
Promotions work well very often. They work best if they get their place in an integrated marketing strategy, and if there is a consistency whereby the right channels are used at the right time, depending on the digital footprints and behavior of consumers.
You can read more about the research, that also looked at the phenomenon of coupon and deals sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial here.
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