07.02.2009
Sunday newspapers may be the source of half the coupons Americans receive, but marketers always are looking for new distribution methods.

They use the mail, in-store distribution, loyalty cards, in-store circulars, weekday newspapers, product packages, magazines and the Internet to reach the household's chief purchasing officer (aka - the mom).  Some coupons even are packaged and sold, such as citywide dining and retail coupons that many schools use for fundraising.

The Internet is relatively low volume now, but it is the fastest growing method of coupon distribution.
"With prices for consumer goods rising, we can only expect that a (coupon-driven) ‘good deal’ is of increasing importance to shoppers.  The Internet provides an easy vehicle to search for coupons,” said Alisa Joseph, vice president of advertiser marketing services at Scarborough Research.

MetroSeeq is a relatively new Web site that helps consumers find sales, deals and coupons for food, restaurants and groceries. The company combines search engine technology with Google maps to help you identify savings in your area.

So who are the folks redeeming all these coupons?

Coupon research firm CMS reported in a 2007 study that coupon use increases with education. Bachelor and master’s degree households with incomes of $150,000 or more are the biggest users.

CMS projects the household that uses coupons spends 20 to 30 minutes per week on couponing.  The effort results in savings of 10 to 15 percent on total grocery bills.

Since the average family of four spends $6,000 per year on food for the home, housekeeping supplies, personal care products and non-prescription drugs, coupon shoppers save $600 to $900 per year. And that’s an amount that moms can certainly appreciate.

What’s the next horizon for targeting moms with coupons? It’s the mobile phone.

Yahoo has already partnered with Borders to deliver coupons via mobile phones. Look for marketers and technology companies to use your phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) to send you geo-targeted discounts.

The message for marketers is to know your customers.  If they are price sensitive, and if you can get a coupon to them, that seemingly old-fashioned strategy can be very valuable.

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