Corporate Eye

Brands Find Success with Mobile Coupons

Mobile marketing is it these days, and brands are aggressively experimenting with the available mobile technology to connect with consumers when they’re on the go — particularly just before they make a purchase and while they’re making a purchase.

Currently, a widespread, easy, and convenient mobile coupon distribution system is lacking. In other words, brands can make coupons available through mobile applications, mobile websites, text messaging, and so on, but it can still be challenging for consumers to redeem those coupons.

While it seems to consumers that it should be easy to use a mobile coupon, Tiffany Tan of Clorox Co. explained to eMarketer, “the reality is that most retailers where consumer products are sold don’t have a universal coupon reader system at the point of sale.” Tan is confident that technology advances will catch up to consumer demands related to mobile couponing. She gave eMarketer her list of what her team would love to see in the future of mobile couponing:

  • The ability to target based on prior purchases
  • A mobile coupon experience that happens at the shelf

Chris Duncan of OfficeMax offered another perspective on mobile couponing to eMarketer. Currently, OfficeMax uses mobile couponing as part of its loyalty program that ties into its mobile app. Duncan’s views on mobile couponing challenges differ from Tan’s. Looking at mobile coupons as a loyalty driver and reward system, he views the challenge not as technology but in “getting engagement from a critical mass.”

Duncan sees the advantage to mobile marketing as its speed, but OfficeMax views mobile as a complementary part of its broader couponing and marketing strategies where mobile often becomes a component of a larger marketing effort that includes all channels.

Regardless of which view point you support related to mobile marketing and couponing (or if you have a different view on mobile marketing entirely), there is no denying that mobile is where consumers are and brands need to be there, too. There is no recipe for success yet, and technology is continually changing. As Tan told eMarketer when discussing the Clorox target audience of mothers, “With over half of the population on smartphones by the end of this year, we want to make sure that we are everywhere she is.”

The question for brand managers is this — is your brand everywhere that your target audience is?

Image: bydwiel

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.