How coupons can boost all your advertising results

By Anand Dibble |

Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

- John Wanamaker

This quote, a favourite of marketing professionals everywhere, is as true now as it was when it was first spoken. Even though we have more ability than ever to accurately measure the results of our paid promotions, too many marketers rely on a combination of gut instinct and assumptions when deciding how they should appeal to people, where they should place ads and what they should look like.

One way you can get a better handle on your promotions (and this works offline just as well as it does online) is to use a coupon instead of a discount. These two options aren’t completely analogous, but a coupon gives you many of the psychological benefits of a discount while also giving you the chance to test a variety of placements and appeals.

Think of it this way:

If you use a regular discount on a good or service and somebody buys it, how do you know where this person came from? How did they learn about the promotion? Did they just find it accidentally and luck into getting the lower price?

If you use a coupon, you can answer these questions. You will, unlike John Wanamaker, be able to tell which half of the money you spend on marketing is wasted. You will be able to test a variety of different appeals, locations and designs to see what is most effective.

You will have the chance to track how much money you get back from your advertising efforts – and figure out where you’re spending too much and where you need to focus your efforts. If your coupon codes are different for different locations, this is as easy as collecting the data and viewing a spreadsheet.

This option is also available online if you use different coupon codes in different online locations. All you have to do is alter the banners or copy you use in different places to feature different active coupon codes. The possibilities are endless.

It’s just another way you can take more control over your offline and online promotional activities. Given the knowledge of how different places, appeals and design can bring in different return on investment, you’ll be able to approach your marketing efforts with new confidence and much more information.