by Scott McCannell
Three years ago, we started using coupons in our clients
ads. We met resistance at first, usually in comments
like Coupons are old fashioned or Nobody
uses coupons any more.
I dont care whether coupons are old fashioned
or whether our clients competitors use them. I
do care that our clients get a good return from their
advertising dollars. Here are four reasons you should
use coupons in your space advertising:
1. Coupons tell your readers you expect response:
When a reader sees a coupon in your ad, she assumes
you will offer her a sample, a demo program or a brochure.
It tells her that you expect her to request what it
is you have to offer.
We know this from experience. In a recent Readex survey
regarding of one of our ads, a reader said about our
client, This company wants you to contact them
about the item or items that you want more information
2. Coupons give your readers another way to respond:
If you want more response, make it easy for your reader
to respond. Include your 800 number and Web addresses.
But what if your reader is stuck on an airplane? What
if she is reading your ad while waiting at the dentists
office? What if she doesnt have a pen to write
down the phone number or URL? Do you expect her to remember
Your reader can tear out a coupon and put it in her
pocket or briefcase and file it away for later actionand
often she will take action:
Many readers tear out a card or coupon and leave
it in a pocket or drawer for days or even weeks before
deciding to send it in. Bob Stone, Successful
Direct Marketing Methods
Coupons help you track response: As part of
a well-thought-out, disciplined system of tracking that
includes recording calls and measuring Web-traffic,
coupons can help give you a better picture of total
response to your ads. However, its often hard
to convince clients of the importance of tracking response
closely. And not because they dont want the best
return on their investment but because the world is
moving too quickly to focus that tightly. In situations
like this, coupons can help you gauge relative response
rates to the same ad in two different publications or
to two different ads in the same publication.
Coupons give you an opportunity to cross sell:
We havent restricted coupons to direct mail or
print advertising. We use them on brochures and other
collateral material, too. People who request brochures
for one of our clients products will likely have
interest in other products. Putting a coupon to request
literature about related products on the back of a brochure
is a simple way to respond to that interest.
* * *
Three weeks ago, as I sat on Alaska flight 352 from
PDX to Orange County, I watched a sales rep for a Portland
manufacturer of medical equipment read SkyMall.
He must have been interested in learning Spanish, German
or Japanese because he carefully tore out the coupon
from a language course ad.
And tucked it into the case of his Palm handheld.
Scott McCannell is vice president and creative director
of Sanda Communications. Please send your comments about
this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.