Tag Archives: shopper marketing

5 Ways Women Use Mobile While Shopping

By Shell Feis 

We all love our phones. On average, we glance at them over 150 times a day and utilize them for everything from looking up movie times to catching up with our moms.

Recently, there’s been an increase in mobile use while shopping among women, and for good reason. The entire shopping experience, from start to finish, can be made easier by mobile devices. Here are five of the main ways that women are using mobile while shopping:

1. Making Lists: Whether using a simple app like Notepad or something with more bells & whistles like Evernote, making a list on a mobile device is extremely efficient. Rather than trying to remember everything you need to buy when you’re headed to the store, you can keep a running list of everything as you think of it or run out of it. Since most women are never far from their phone, it’s perfect for eliminating all of those sticky notes with just one or two items scribbled on it.

2. Saving Money: Clipping coupons is an age-old way to save a few bucks, but many women simply don’t have time to cut them out, sort and organize them. Mobile coupons are a paperless way to save money, which means they save a lot of time (and trees).

3. Comparing Products: When making big or important purchases, we always want the best. Women often use their phones to look up reviews on products that appeal to them in-store. Some in-store price tags include a QR code that when scanned, brings you to the product’s page on the retailer’s website for quick access. There are also independent apps that can scan a barcode to compare prices between retailers in order to find better deals.

4. Checking Inventory: Many stores provide opportunities to look up a particular item and see which store near you has it in stock. This is helpful when a product is displayed somewhere unexpected or if the item is in fact sold out so you don’t waste precious time looking for it.

5. Getting Advice: Sometimes, an outfit appears to look better (or worse, for that matter) in the dressing room. Snapping a quick photo and texting it to a friend for their opinion is the adult version of hitting the mall with your girlfriends. It doesn’t just work with outfits- posting an electronic you’re eyeing or a home decor item you like on social networks and asking for opinions is becoming commonplace and is a terrific way to prevent buyer’s remorse.

How do you use your mobile device when shopping? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Future of Multicultural Marketing Lies with Latinos

Latina moms are quickly becoming the latest demographic obsession of marketers everywhere. With the collective buying power of U.S. Latinos expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015, Latina moms are now considered the holders of the “purse strings”, meaning they influence most household purchases (including cars). Because of this, they are now one of the principal voices in every dominant shopping category ranging from groceries to finance and more.

Collective Bias’ SVP of Strategy, Holly Pavlika, identifies how brands can better reach this ever-expanding consumer segment in her MediaPost article, “The Rising Influence of the Latina and How to Reach Her”.

The Latina mom is a different kind of shopper who sees shopping as entertainment versus a routine burden. Marketers must fine-tune their strategies to better fit the needs, wants and likes of this major cultural group. Heritage and culture play a leading role in their shopping decisions, which translates to buying more products that directly target Latinos (i.e. use of Spanish language and/or using images of Latinos on the packing) as well as finding ways to add Latino flavors to traditionally-American foods.

Learn more about this influential demographic and how to achieve resonance with them on MediaPost Engage: Moms blog.

 

Socializing the Customer Experience

Written by Brad Lawless

Do Your Social Accounts Reflect Your Customer Service Ethos?

Do Your Social Accounts Truly Represent Your Brand Promise?

Shopper Social Marketing Shouldn’t End at the Cash Register

The Internet provides unlimited access to product and pricing information along a shopper’s path to purchase. While some choose to research a product at home on their laptop or tablet, others stand in front of one retailer’s shelf and use their smartphone to discover product details or find competitive pricing from other retailers.

Forrester analysts predicted that 50% of American shoppers would “access the Internet multiple times a day, from multiple locations, with at least three devices” by the end of 2013. These ultra-connected shoppers expect not only always-on access to information but also want new levels of responsiveness from brands and retailers in their experiences as customers.

Social media has transformed the way many brands market to their shoppers, but few companies truly understand how social content and platforms can help them in their customer experience management efforts. According to 360Connext.com, “86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that organizations consistently meet, or exceed, their expectations.” Engaging with fans through social platforms can definitely help a company exceed, or at the very least, meet the expectations of those shoppers.

I recently sat down with Jeannie Walters, 360Connext CEO, to discuss the changing nature of customer experience in the ever evolving world of social media.

Brad: What are the customer experience table stakes for companies today? In other words, what must companies do to ensure good customer experiences with social media?

Jeannie: Companies need to have a plan of action for responding to customers’ social media inquires, and then they actually need to follow through and respond. Customers today expect real time responses in social and digital. When they look for help in those channels, you need to be ready to respond or manage their expectations regarding other places they need to go to find answers to their questions.

Brad: How has social media changed general expectations for customers today and is it reasonable?

Jeannie: Customers want their problems solved. Expectations change along with emotions. If I’ve already called the store or had something repaired and it breaks again, my emotions start to escalate. People are irrational. When we get upset, we expect someone to quickly address our reason for getting upset.

Brad: What’s the benefit to companies for addressing customer concerns in a timely manner?

Jeannie: Loyalty can go up if you if you address concerns in the right way, if you solve a problem with empathy and compassion. I’ve seen loyalty ratings swing as much as 12% in those cases.

I recently read of a customer experience experiment in the medical industry. For years, doctors have been advised by lawyers never to apologize for mistakes. The lawyers felt apologies would open up potential for increased malpractice suits. In this case, the researchers found that simple apologies actually decreased the incidents of malpractice suits.

Brad: What’s the biggest customer service gaffe you’ve seen online?

Jeannie: I don’t want to name specific brands, but the worst thing is when the person representing the brand becomes personally offended and starts to respond to complaints as an individual. At that point, they start lashing out at people under their care. I think we’re beyond some of that due to smarter hiring practices. Today’s social media manager is necessarily much more savvy than people doing the job a few years ago.

A more consistent issue is neglect. If a product or restaurant receives a 4-star review online, that post often contains clues on why the reviewer withheld the critical 5th star. Most companies ignore the advice their customers give on how to move from adequacy to excellence.

People love to focus on the practice of social media complaints, but many brands never respond to the natural advocates talking positively about their brand. A simple thanks for some online support will go a long way in transforming a once-in-a-while cheerleader into a passionate fan.

Brad: What’s the best customer service example you’ve seen in social?

Jeannie: Warby-Parker — They are exceptional. They go out of their way to give video shout-outs to people who are fans. I mentioned them once in a blog post and they hit me up on Twitter that same day.

Brad: What still can’t be done in social?

Jeannie: Anything complicated that requires a lot of touch points.

Last year, I experienced so much pain just ordering a Father’s Day grill. I paid extra to have someone come and set it up. They arrived late, dropped the box on my porch and left. I tried to reach someone via social, but realized the big brand was too siloed to do anything about specific about deliveries. The social manager had no pull with the delivery department, so I Just stuck to calling them on the phone.

When people use social to get product info, they don’t want to talk with the person managing the brand’s Twitter account. They want direct access to a product expert.

Brad: What one piece of advice would you give companies to improve their social customer experience management?

Jeannie: It starts with the foundation of the promise. What are you promising in your customer experience? Companies should completely understand the foundation of their customer experience promise and ensure their  social accounts reflect that ethos.

Most brands get very excited about the promise of social, but their resulting implementations come across as very dry or miss the brand promise. Solving a shopper’s problems with social means not only getting them necessary information prior to the sales, but staying around to support them with answers and additional usage information after they take the product home.

 

 

 

Brand Building and The Power of Inconsistency

I recently attended the Hub Symposium where the SVP and Global Chief Marketing Officer of Harley Davidson, Mark-Hans Richer, spoke about brand consistency versus customer individuality within the scope of shopper marketing and in the media landscape as a whole.

Since the dawn of advertising, brands have striven to be consistent. Even as more and more channels have opened up from which to shout messages, brands have stuck to their guns and held their traditional, digital, PR, promotions and myriad other agencies accountable to maintaining the brand voice and graphic standards. They spend millions of dollars in customer research identifying their unique selling proposition; brand personality and the rest of the brand speak.

Enter the era of social media and the power of the people who have found their voices.  Suddenly brands have found themselves thrusting into a world of inconsistency, but is that a bad thing? Not according to Mark, who harnesses the power of inconsistency on behalf of Harley Davidson. In fact, Mark says, “Inconsistency is the foundation of innovation.”

He went on to point out several brands who are brilliant in their inconsistency, Geico and Starbucks. I’ve often scratched my head at Geico. The gecko was a clever visual pneumonic for their name and partnered with “a 15 minute call can save you up to 15% on your car insurance,” led them to the top of their industry. But then they added campaigns with visuals of money with googly eyes, and the campaign sporting a commercial with “Happier than a vampire at a blood bank.” The campaigns are all so different. What were they thinking?

According to Mark it’s all about the consistency of meaning, not the execution.

Exactly! Particularly now that social media has entered the equation. Consumers are now daily writing their own advertising messages on behalf of brands they love through Pinterest boards, Twitter, blog posts and more. Their content has become the ad. This is terrifying to many brand managers who dread the thought of losing control over their brand’s messages.

Harley on the other hand embraces it. Their mantra: we fulfill dreams of personal freedom. They have over 1,500 sub brands and are at the top of their competitors across every demographic including women. They are building relevance target by target by selective inconsistencies in order to address their needs and perceptions. Harley looks to create epic experiences with its audiences by celebrating its consumers and featuring them in their advertisements.

Take a closer look at their dealerships and you see each has its own Harley Davidson logo. They encourage individuality at the dealership and “treat every customer as a custom.” Who doesn’t think that idea in itself is epic? I can only imagine their customer satisfaction scores.

papal postcard copyThey don’t just sell motorcycles, dreams and epic experiences…last year they sold 10million t-shirts (they only shipped 245,000 new motorcycles to dealers). And Mark had the pleasure of meeting the Pope and delivering to him a Harley motorcycle jacket from which they created a papal postcard.

 

 

 

Relationship Killers: Four of the WORST Mistakes Brands Make in Social Media

The biggest goal for any brand delving into social media should be to develop quality, productive relationships. That’s the bottom line. However, many brands still “don’t get it,” and consistently make mistakes that are damaging to them in social media and therefore damaging to their brand. In my opinion, there are four big no-no’s that not only kill those all-important relationships, but also tarnish your reputation:

1. Broadcasting:  Blasting out sales messages rather than listening and engaging has got to be the number one relationship killer of all time. Bar none. People hate to be sold—especially on social channels, where their main objective is to talk, get opinions, relax and have fun, or find answers to pressing problems. When a brand spends the majority of its time broadcasting, it’s a clear message to followers that they’re not interested in real, two-way communication.

Listening should be your first priority, followed by engagement. Don’t try to sell to people until you’ve earned their trust!

2. Taking Followers Offline to Resolve Issues:  If someone has a problem and comes to your social presence to try to get it resolved, the worst thing you can do is shunt them off to a customer service contact with a “form letter” response. Too often I see… “follow us so we can DM you,” on Twitter, or a quick move to traditional customer service channels on Facebook. People have an innate need to be validated—and “showing them the hand” is the fastest way to sour a customer relationship. Sometimes there are things that have to be resolved offline for legal issues, but the majority of complaints or requests for help should be addressed promptly and publicly in social channels. At the very least, if you MUST send them offline, do so in a friendly, personal manner. Address them by name, thank them for bringing the problem to your attention, and so on. Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes—how do you feel when you’re ignored or made to jump through hoops by a company you deal with?

Responding publicly has another important, beneficial, and cost saving benefit. Other people with the same issue, and you can/should assume there are many more, can receive resolution via your response, and see how you interact… and then make their own judgments about your brand character based on those interactions. If you’re doing it right, you will build brand advocates in the process, and when/if needed your best brand advocates will support you when they see that kind of open, honest communication.

3. Having No Brand Personality:  People who spend time on social media like to spend time with people—not logos. If you have a team of employees handling your social responses, don’t make them hide behind the brand logo when they interact with followers—give them a voice and a face. Ford does a great job of this with @ScottMonty building his personal brand along with theirs. Scott interacts with followers as himself, not the Ford brand. This humanizes the brand and fosters good communication. Being able to see the team members behind the company and interacting with them personally makes a big difference in fan loyalty.

When a company censors its employees and doesn’t allow them to participate in social discussion surrounding the brand, it’s usually because they’re afraid of “what might happen if…” They’re afraid they’ll spend too much time on social or say the wrong things. These issues can be resolved with a comprehensive social media policy so all employees know how and when they can and should interact. Remember, your employees should be some of your best advocates, and a natural extension of your “public face.”  You can’t do social right with employee censorship. Your people are your company’s personality. Let them shine for you. And… if you don’t trust your employees, maybe you have the wrong employees, or a business approach that will be difficult to sustain in this hyper-connected world.

4.  Making Social a Direct Marketing Channel:  Can you develop a relationship with a piece of direct mail? A TV commercial? A newspaper ad? An email blast? Of course not! Yet many brands treat social as an extension of their direct marketing efforts—mainly because that’s all they know. They’re used to handing off their marketing to an advertising agency and having them run with it so they can get on with their day. They think in terms of ROI formulas, but falter when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of one-on-one networking.  If that’s you, don’t feel too bad—it’s a habit that’s been drummed into you and hard to break. But you’ve got to break it! Adopt a whole new mindset around social, and think in terms of building relationships and an emotional connection to your brand, or you’ll always be frustrated with your results. Remember… Social Media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales. Return on Relationship™ = ROI.

This goes back to the “Broadcasting” mistake I mentioned earlier. Think in terms of providing helpful content, fun ways to communicate, sharing information and asking questions. Leave the direct marketing stuff in traditional channels. Get a sense of who your audience is and give them what they’re looking for in your social communications, or you’ll get “un-followed” or ignored in a hurry.

What other “relationship killers” have you come across when dealing with brands online, and how do you think they could be avoided? Conversely, which brands have you noticed that are “getting it right” in social media when it comes to Return on Relationship™?

Originally posted at TedRubin.com

20 Important Twitter Goals and Objectives for Business

Written by Ted Rubin

Many are asking what ROI they can get from Twitter. I believe when reviewing the following goals and objectives you will get a better understanding of the potential value. The basis of this list was posted by my friend and business associate Cheryl Burgess. I have expanded and edited with my input.

1.     First and foremost is to grow an engaged and relevant following

2.     Almost as important as #1 is… if you haven’t started already, start NOW!

3.     Generating brand awareness and business leads

4.     Servicing customers and lowering customer service inquires via traditional channels

5.     Expanding reach and creating buzz

6.     Sharing thought-leadership & participating in industry conversation

7.     Gaining competitive intelligence

8.     Monitoring your brand’s reputation in real time

9.     Building relationships with community

10.  Distributing rich SEO content

11.  Offering special discounts, white papers, blog posts

12.  Crowdsourcing ideas, products, etc.

13.  Finding, cultivating influencers and brand advocates

14.  Obtaining customer feedback on potential new offerings

15.  Developing relationships with bloggers and other micro media producers

16.  Establishing relationships and getting on the radar of journalists

17.  Recruiting for freelancers, permanent hires and interns

18.  Establishing brand leadership position by communicating, reinforcing vision, purpose, differentiation, relevance, etc.

19.  The Ability to proactively build a personal brand for Founders/Executives to represent your Brand/Business.

20.  Return on Relationship™… simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $’s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.

Technology is Changing, but Don’t Panic—People are Still People!

Written by Ted Rubin

Technology is always on the move—and we’ve made more technological advances in the last decade than any of us alive today have experienced in a generation. For instance, did you know that every 60 seconds, over 700 computers, 80 iPads, and 925 iPhones are sold today? Not to mention the monstrous amount of data we’re creating now. Over 1,800 Terabytes of data are created every minute, which is enough data to fill more than 2.6 million CDs!

We’re also consuming information differently than we did a decade ago. Brick-and-mortar book stores are going under in favor of online shopping and tablet e-readers… movie rental stores are disappearing in favor of subscription services… everything’s “going digital,” including our social lives. Tablets, apps, and smarter-than-ever smartphones now rule the day.

Some marketers are reacting to these rapid changes by telling us that the sky is falling. Email is dead…storytelling is dead… social media is taking over… nobody has time to read anymore… panic in the streets!

Yes, technology has forever changed the way we communicate, and there’s no going back. However, the same marketing principles apply to humans now that applied to them decades ago. The sky isn’t falling. People still love stories; they still respond to testimonials/reviews (maybe now more than ever); they still buy for the same reasons. They just look for and find information on different channels now. Also, they are pickier about how much information they consume and where they spend their time.

So what does that mean for marketers today? Well, this is where paying attention to social trends is important, because, people are driving these trends. Your customers share conversation about brands, make recommendations to each other based on experience, and seek out information that helps them make buying decisions. They’re just using new media/social tools to do it… and those tools make all this not only more valuable for brands, but absolutely imperative they foster, encourage AND participate. For instance, people still love to be visually entertained—only now, the power of YouTube takes us beyond TV and even viral videos, and into the realm of consumer (and brand) education and relationship building.

Social media tools don’t change what motivates people to buy. The marketing funnel still exists; we still have to attract an audience to our message and nurture them toward conversion. We just don’t have to wait for people to hop into our funnel based on reaction to display ads, TV commercials or direct mail. Social gives us a way to be proactive about building relationships through active listening and informed information-sharing. So now we can converse with prospects—build a rapport—find out what they want and deliver it. We’re still adding them to our marketing funnels, but essentially they’re already primed. They’ve had a chance to explore us, talk to us, take a deeper look at our content, and share their experiences with others—in many instances, before a single marketing message goes out.

Yes, there are still ads, and PPC is still a powerful tool. However, thanks to the data explosion provided by the social graph and technology advancements, even ad performance can be improved. We now have a faster, more efficient way of gathering data, creating ads, getting them in front of our niche markets, testing them and tweaking them to respond to trends almost in real time. That’s the power (and the beauty) of the digital revolution.

So don’t panic; your customers haven’t changed… they’re essentially the same consumers of information that they always were. They still respond to perceived value and relevancy, and they still love to be entertained and share stories. Social media doesn’t change them as much as it changes where (and how) conversation about our brands takes place.

The use of social media, and the “Return on Relationship™” it affords, is a two-way street. By listening more and broadcasting less, by engaging in conversation, we can learn more about our prospects and what they really want. And by changing how, where and when we communicate, we can make their experience with us much more rewarding and satisfying.

I would call that a win-win, wouldn’t you?

The “Real” Social Media Super Bowl

Written by Ted Rubin

Many are now talking about Super Bowl XLVI being the first “Social” Super Bowl.  It truly was, as an event, due to efforts of the Super Bowl’s host committee and their use of a Social Media Command Center.

In my opinion, the Super Bowl Social Media Center is proof that social media is now being taken seriously. It is not just an option that is a last minute throw in. Social media is now getting recognition as a legitimate news source, a practical and effective way to communicate with a large number of people in an interactive and engaging format. In addition this format enables, and more importantly encourages, the sharing of this information and interaction.

Brands spent more than ever this year on their Super Bowl advertisements and are now patting themselves on the back for their herculean efforts and competing to show whose commercials drew the most accolades.  In my opinion, much of those vast expenditures could have been better spent… or at the very least a portion should be devoted in the future to interaction and engagement that gives the brands a view into the hearts and minds of their consumers.

Social media, when executed, integrated and leveraged properly and strategically, can and will do more for a brand than a one-time commercial entertainment spend. Take for example the Pepsi and Coke commercials.  Coke and Pepsi both spent millions of dollars between the animated bears, Elton John and Flavor Flav in their commercials, but did either of those spends do anything to truly connect with shoppers? They are entertainment and the same as sponsorship of any entertainment event. They have value, certainly, as they make their names top-of-mind, bring a smile to the face of millions and create conversation… all valuable in the branding world. But… is that conversation about the brand or about the entertainment?  Social is a direct link that builds connections, relationships and allows the consumers to express what it all means to them in their lives, the way they live and ultimately in how they shop. I think the idea here is that consumers are looking to connect with each other and with brands to interact, provide feedback and be recognized.

For example, Twitter parties connect to hundreds of influential shoppers that broadcast to potentially millions of other shoppers. If orchestrated correctly during an event, and on a regular basis, and executed/connected to a myriad of other user-generated media, will create a more valuable connection… and be a door to future engagement.

The marketing paradigm is shifting with much greater “power to the people” facilitated by social media. If you want to continue to reach your market, it’s not just about advertising any more, but about building relationships. Just activating your audience, however, is not enough. A brand always needs to be working to keep these valued influencer and advocate relationships alive and strong and build an emotional connection. Always remember that brand loyalty declines due to lack of relevance — this has been evident for years and is clearly a direct result of not listening… and NOT hearing when you do listen. When building a social media presence, building relationships through engaging as many people by truly interacting with them, and doing what I call “looking them in the eye digitally,” is what will build value and loyalty for the long-term. Always keep in mind that social media’s incredible power is in allowing us to instantaneously connect to, interact with, and build relationships with our audience of thousands to gain high-value end results… but if you do not make them feel valued and speak to them on their terms, and bring value to the table, the results will be underwhelming and you will not be utilizing social for its true value and it will mean little more than those “branding” entertainment events.

Think REPUTATION, not ranking… CONNECTION, not network… LOYALTY, not celebrity.

Social Media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales. Return on Relationship™ = ROI.

 

Permission Marketing: Why Brands Should Be(a)ware!

Written by Ted Rubin

Social Marketing is ultimate in Permission Marketing, and therefore it carries the ultimate marketing danger with it: taking away the permission is totally in the consumers’ control.  Brands be(a)ware!

Permission Marketing puts the power in the consumer’s hands, by requiring that the marketers send promotional messages only to consumers who have given marketers permission to do so, whether explicitly (opt-in email list, for example) or implicitly (internet search).

On one hand this is fantastic because it gives marketers a chance to provide relevant information to interested parties, but on the other hand, brands need to pay all kinds of attention to how they’re using Permission Marketing, because the consumer can pull their interest plug in a heartbeat.

So how can we keep consumers from “opting out” of our brand messages?

It’s only fitting that part of the answer comes from Seth Godin’s definition of Permission Marketing:

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”

1.     Permission is a privilege, not a right.

Consumers do not owe us their attention, and they certainly do not owe us their permission.  We need to EARN their permission, and that’s not done by a gimmick or a flashy set of ads.

Permission is earned through quality offers, genuine interest in and deep understanding of consumer preferences/needs, and a consistent track record that builds trust.  Keep the trust -> keep the permission -> keep the consumer.

2.     Relevance is king.  

We all hear daily that content is king – so let’s take that one level further and point out that it’s not just the volume or brilliance of content that matters to your consumers, it is how that content relates to them.  If content is not relevant to your consumer, it is nothing more than a waste of your time and a reason for the consumer to take away permission for ongoing interaction with you.

 3. It’s all about relationships.

People must come first – in your growth strategies, in your marketing plans, and in every social media interaction that you have.  When you place highest priority on people, you take the time to do all those hugely important things that build relationships:

  • You operate from a mindset of SERVICE
  • You think about what you can GIVE TO your consumers, rather than take from them.
  • You ask them questions, listen to and clarify their answers, and get to know their pain points and what delights them.
  • You base your innovations on what CONSUMERS actually need and want.

And the result?  You get and keep your consumers’ permission to continue and build your relationship with them.   In other words, permission is your ROR (Return on Relationship™).

 As you head into 2012, remember that Permission Marketing is a two-way street, and the traffic signals are controlled by consumers.  Be their Green Light… not their stop sign!

 

 

Are FSI’s and Direct Mail the Original Spammers?

Written by John Andrews

Spam, a tasty meat product and the scourge of email inboxes everywhere. But Spam lurks in many other media channels and seems to get a pass, yet the effects are much more insidious. The waste of resources and unsustainable business practices really call into question this marketing tactic. Additionally, the continual discounting and deal promotion of brands and services is destructive to brand value as consumers discount the actual value. Consider this, have you bought a full-price pizza lately? If you answered yes, Google (enter pizza company here) coupon and save yourself five bucks.

What’s your daily trip to the daily home delivery of fresh made spam, the mailbox? I don’t know about yours, but mine is full of credit card offers (10 this month so far), coupon books, mailers and the like and I occasionally get a letter from a person I know. I long stopped receiving bills as my bank, utilities, etc., realized there is a huge cost savings to not send me paper and it’s just more convenient for me, leaving me a few extra minutes of my life each month to play Angry Birds.

Here is the real problem with physical spam. “Good” conversion rates for coupons are in the .0025% range. This means a nationally distributed coupon and an FSI (free standing insert, a.k.a. all that stuff that falls out of your newspaper) of 40 million or so yields a redemption of 100,000. Good for a brand if those customers are new users switching from a competitive brand. In fact, heavy coupon users are frequently disloyal users and why wouldn’t they be? Unless your an Apple user, who wants to pay full price?

Each week hundreds of FSI’s hit newspapers across the country resulting in a huge use of newsprint, ink, transportation, etc. But the brands are paying the freight, right? Not quite, who pays for 99.75% of these that hit landfills? You do, you pay local taxes right? But there’s more, newspaper circulation is falling faster than Colts tickets without Peyton playing. Maybe you’ve heard, the US Post Office is now losing over $7 billion a year as the prices it charges its customers does not cover the expenses incurred.

Again, you and I will be the ultimate funding source for this shortfall, including the hidden costs of disposal.

Sam Walton had a big idea, simply take all the gimmicks (his word) out of the retailing process and buy the products that Walmart carries for an everyday low cost (EDLC).

Pass that along to consumers with an everyday low price (EDLP) that eschews High/Low pricing (a great deal on Corn Flakes one week supported by excess margin on other basket items). This means no Triple Coupons, Green Stamps, Reward Cards or anything else that requires the consumer to do part of the work. Simply come into the store, buy your basket of items and on the whole, pay the lowest price.

Considering the average wage in the country is around $17 an hour, time spent sorting, clipping and handling coupons found in FSI’s is often a break even prospect at best. It’s time to stop the spam and make the best products possible and sell them at a fair price every day. May the best products and services win!