• June 1, 2014
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Don't Discount Discounts

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While the mere mention of coupons might be met with disdain by your executives, it's a trend that, since the Great Recession, is on the rise. That's because today's customers not only want coupons, they demand them. The demand is so high, in fact, that it challenges traditional thinking about life stage behaviors.

Years ago, as a teenager and young adult, coupons never really appealed to me. Admittedly, life stage might have had something to do with it. Even into my early 30s, I figured being financially prudent simply meant that I had to pay my bills on time. At this stage of my life, I didn't believe that spending too much on something was financially imprudent, especially when I earned my own money and wasn't responsible for anyone else. But this changed after I got married and started a family. Today, I'm no longer only accountable to me; I have to consider the rest of my family when making purchases, especially big ones. So, I'm more amenable to coupons.

My changing view about coupons is probably consistent with that of many other Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. But times have changed. Millennials—who are in their 20s and 30s today—are not only more receptive to coupons, they're most receptive to them.

According to our cover story, "Is Overcouponing Hurting Your Business?" by Associate Editor Maria Minsker, 92 percent of Millennials use coupons to plan their shopping lists and 51 percent say their coupon usage has increased over the past year. That this percentage is higher than overall shoppers' use of coupons (85 percent) is important to note. One expert in the story says, "Couponing is becoming huge across the board, and the fact that younger generations are embracing it is particularly telling. It suggests that couponing is on a continuous trajectory and its prevalence in the economy will only grow."

This doesn't mean life stage is no longer a consideration. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that the oldest Baby Boomers have already entered retirement. And, as members of this very large generation continue to do so, many more people will be living on fixed incomes, making coupons even more attractive.

Marketers who recognize this will have a leg up on targeting this large cohort. But don't run to offer discounts without a sound strategy, as our feature warns, "the coupons currently flooding the Internet could turn discounts into disasters." To help you avoid these common setbacks, read our cover story for some great tips on using coupons at your company.


While I'm on the topic of coupons and discounts, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that if you register before July 18, you can get a $100 discount off the regular price of our 2014 CRM Evolution conference (August 18–20) at the New York Marriott Marquis.

We have an impressive group of speakers lined up for you. Garrison Wynn, author of the best-selling book The Real Truth About Success, will kick things off with an opening keynote on what it takes to make sure your knowledge and hard work deliver the results you want. In addition to presentations from respected industry analysts and consultants, our general sessions feature case studies from CRM practitioners who will share how they overcame various customer engagement challenges and capitalized on key opportunities.

This event will be colocated with our Customer Service Experience and SpeechTEK conferences. If you're interested in attending these events as well, sign up for an All Access Pass, which gives you access to more than 150 presentations across all three events. For more information, visit www.CRMevolution.com.

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