The Perils of Couponing From A Marketing Perspective

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I can’t deny it, I love the show “Extreme Couponing”.  It’s well done, entertaining, and a great look into the psyche of some obsessive compulsive individuals out there. My wife and I always find ourselves shocked and feeling somewhat cheated by the fact we are always paying full price.  Then, we always say how we don’t have all day to devote to clipping and searching for deals, that time is money, and so on. In that way, we console ourselves I guess.

With the emergence of Groupon and a slew of others, it seems we are quickly becoming a coupon-crazed society.  I suppose it stands to reason, with unemployment so high, there must be more deal searching and time for that searching. But if you’re like me, you see an economy like this as an opportunity, not a setback.

That’s precisely why now, more than ever, I’m against coupons, and all things deal-like.  There’s one simple reason for this: perceived value.

If you decide to discount your product, you are cheapening it in the eyes of the consumer.  You are setting a dangerous context by which it will always be measured, even if only subconsciously.  If a consumer can buy something for 50% off the “normal” price, at best they’ll forever know they’re not getting a deal at full price.  At worst, they’ll think of that product as not worth the price. That’s not a good place to be.

Why don’t you see a Chanel product in Ross or Marshalls or another discount store?  Because Chanel is worth full price, at least to those who buy it.  Those consumers are willing to buy it for that price because of its perceived value.  It gives them confidence, pride, satisfaction and more.

Show your potential customer why they should buy your product. Make them want it.  Make them yearn and strive for it.  Make them want to show their friends they have it.  Put that desire in their mind.  I’m betting you’ll gain a much more loyal customer that way.

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