The Secrets Behind High Value Coupons

By now we all know that coupons are a marketing promotional tool to get consumers to try a new product or to keep buying a brand.  Promoting a new product often results in high value promotional coupons to entice customers to purchase this new product.  Have you ever wondered the reasoning behind that?

In some cases issuing  a high value or even free item coupons may result in a cheaper tactic than offering a free sample.  Have you ever considered the cost involved  in offering a free sample?   From the manufacturer’s point of view, they have to manufacture the products in special packaging, promote the free sample and finally mail that sample.  I started thinking of these costs when I received my sample of Quaker True Delights, it came packaged in a medium sized box that I imagine was not very cheap to ship out.

On the other hand with a free item or high value coupon the manufacturer pays for having the coupon printed, the face value of the coupon and a handling fee.  In some cases this may result in a higher outlay for the manufacturer BUT think of this: the manufacturer has given the consumer the opportunity to purchase the item full size. It has provided the consumer with the opportunity to give the product more than an initial try.  A free or high value coupon also promotes goodwill among consumers, it makes you think of the “generosity” of the manufacturer.

High value coupons are also a great way to aggressively penetrate the market.  Consider the coupon for $1 off any Green Giant Steamer vegetables.  Before these vegetables were available Steamfresh Vegetables pretty much dominated the market for frozen vegetables ready to steam in the microwave.  So what did General Mills do when they released their competing brand?  Issue a high value coupon that made the product free or nearly free to anyone.  They didn’t do this once, or twice but three times.  That’s very aggressive marketing.

But high value coupons are also used by companies to phase out products from the market.  Take the recent example of the coupon for $2.50 off one Equal sugar substitute product.  This coupon came out right around the time the brand released a new box count of 115 packets.  Retailers still had in their inventories the old 100-count box.  By issuing this coupon, and people using it on the smallest size package available, the manufacturer probably made sure that a good portion of the old package was taken off the shelves by consumers.

Another example is the Glade Scented Oil promotion that went on last fall.  This was a very generous promotion to remove from shelves what you would consider “summer or spring” scents such as Hawaiian Breeze and make room for the holiday scents.  But also what do you see now being promoted more than the Glade Plus Ins?  Glade’s Sense and Spray or Lasting Impressions, their two new products.

I think at some point manufacturers make the decision of what’s easier: call back product that’s already on the shelves or think up an aggressive promotion to get consumers to buy those products.  Can you think of any other recent high value coupons and speculate the reasoning behind them?