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Valassis Ltd
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Seasonal marketing campaigns

It’s that time of the year again. Summer has been and gone in the blink of an eye, the nights are drawing in and nobody will complain if you put the central heating on. Halloween and Bonfire Night have already taken place and Christmas is now firmly on the horizon – we’re officially at peak retail season!

Seasonal festivities such as these represent a great chance to add a seasonal twist to a marketing campaign and their impact should be underestimated. As many of you will have noticed, the Halloween celebrations become more expansive each year, while a well-thought-out Christmas campaign can propel firms into the wider consciousness.

Tips for a super seasonal marketing campaign

Get planning

We all know people who stock up on Christmas gifts months in advance. A similarly organised approach to your advertising campaign can pay off. Don’t do the marketing equivalent of rushing to the petrol station at 11pm on Christmas Eve and grabbing what’s left on the shelves.

Specially-designed products, coupons or services can also be a great way to tempt an impulse-buy. Customers will be aware that these won’t be available in a few weeks so make them impossible to turn down.

Reuse old ideas

So, you have a seasonal marketing campaign that has worked in the past? Use it again this year. Of course, it would be foolish not to tweak campaigns to account for any changes in customers’ purchasing habits, or recent trends in your sector. But consider this – chances are customers who used your coupon or offer last time around will be eagerly waiting to see if you’ll be offering a similar promotion this year.
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Tapping into local loyalty

Whether you own one shop, several locations, or are part of a national brand, your survival depends on happy customers and repeat business. No easy task in the face of intense local competition. But costly if outdated or ignored. Consider this:

• 46% of consumers are likely to switch providers

• U.S. “switching economy” is up 29% since 2010

• 82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition

Here are some of our top tips to boosting local loyalty:

1. Deliver brand consistency and relevant value - Deliver relevant, local, value-oriented messages. What will be irresistible and appreciated by those who frequent your place and can spread the word? Deals - delivered via coupons and vouchers - matter.

2. Know your competition and differentiate your business - Study the competition. What makes you different? Capitalise on your unique strengths or create new ones. For ideas on what will resonate with customers, keep tabs on industry news.

3. Leverage your data – make the most of the customer buying behaviour embedded in your transaction data to understand the unique geographic and psychographic characteristics of your customers. This will help you locate lapsed customers and your big fans, and create customised offers that show you understand them.

4. Advertise in your communities - When you advertise, go where the locals go, with at least part of your media spend. Why? Nearly two thirds (63%) SMB owners confirm that marketing/selling directly to the local community is a key component of their company’s success

5. Use hyper-local targeting online and offline - If you find a pocket where loyal customers live, there are likely to be more who fit the same profile and it would be worth sending your coupons and offers.
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Walmart’s new grocery pickup service – great for convenience, not so perfect for promotions

In the US Walmart has launched a new free online grocery pickup service. Shoppers make their grocery list at home, send it to Walmart, drive to the store at their convenience, and have their groceries loaded into their car without even having to get out. For UK shoppers this sounds like a dream compared to their current shopping habits. If consumers aren’t going online for their groceries, the alternative is to head to the nearest supermarket, find a decent parking spot, wander the aisles looking for everything on the list and then carry heavy bags back to your vehicle.

There is however one drawback. Shoppers wanting to make the most of this convenient new service are unable to use coupons. Not so convenient perhaps?

Unlike many grocery delivery services which charge delivery or subscription fees, ordering online and picking up groceries is more economical. The minimum order in most of Walmart’s stores is just $30, with no service fee. Customers make their selections online and prepay with a credit card.

And therein lies the problem when it comes to coupons– if you’re paying for your groceries before you even get to the store, and employees have everything bagged up for you when you arrive, there’s no opportunity to scan coupons or ask for any price adjustments. So the listed prices are the prices you pay.

Many of Walmart’s customers say that’s a problem. In a newly-released report, the retail research company Field Agent revealed results from a survey of 500 shoppers who had used Walmart’s online grocery pickup service. The number-one reason that shoppers said they might be less likely to use Walmart’s grocery pickup service in the future, was the inability to use coupons. This was cited by 59% of those surveyed, well ahead of the 46% who cited the standard main concern of online grocery shoppers – the inability to see, touch, smell or pick out their own goods. Altogether, a whopping 91% said the ability to use coupons, or to take advantage of other in-store discounts, was either “very” or “extremely” important to them.

Here’s where digital coupons come in. Although Walmart doesn’t yet offer them, the combination of online grocery pickup and digital coupons is the perfect recipe for a time-starved shopper.
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Gazing into the crystal ball: 5 futuristic advertising channels

The world of technology is rapidly developing and providing marketers with a wide range of advertising channels. We gaze into the crystal ball and predict some of the major channels around the corner.

1. Smart home devices

Google, Apple and Amazon are all investing billions of dollars into smart home devices, from Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa to the Nest thermometer.
To date, these devices have no advertising component to them, but it’s inevitable that this will change. After all, the devices are collecting incredibly valuable behavioural data about users that advertisers can use to perfectly personalise their approach.

2. The sharing economy

The Sharing Economy is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.

Airbnb, one of the current leaders in the sharing economy, could offer a welcome basket with a suite of coupons for local attractions (all paying AirBnB an affiliate commission)?

3. Virtual reality (VR)

From Oculus Rift to Google Daydream, VR is getting plenty of hype. Virtual reality also represents an important market for advertising. Imagine this: a car ad that lets you walk around the car, sit inside, and even test-drive it — all from the comfort of your living room. One company, Omnivert, already claims to have served more than 500 million VR ads to date.

4. Augmented reality (AR)

Not to be confused with VR, AR is technology that augments your everyday activities. Google Glass is probably the most well-known example to date. Once this technology is commonplace, a walk down the cereal aisle at the supermarket will likely include some virtual coupons, right inside your glasses.

5. Connected and self-driving cars

Virtually every car produced today has Bluetooth technology. As self-driving cars become street-legal, expect your car to have a large computer-like screen and a strong WiFi connection. Given that “drivers” will no longer exist, a long commute will involve surfing the web, watching content, and — you guessed it — a slew of ads.
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When it Comes to Couponing, Familiarity Breeds Content

In today’s retail environment, shoppers continue to navigate over-scheduled calendars, social media saturation, and message overload. In this environment that includes multi-channel savings vehicles, shoppers are still turning to coupons as their tried and true savings tradition.

In our latest survey we found that almost all consumers use coupons when supermarket shopping (99%) and almost all (96%) are actively looking for promotional offers more often or as much as a year ago. Consumers reported saving a whopping £3.4 billion in the 12 months to April 2017. There’s an argument that it’s the familiarity of coupons and of the accompanying routine that appeal to our comfort and sensibilities.

However, while coupons from printed sources still account for the majority share of use, the growing popularity of digital media cannot be ignored. In a 2017 report, 71 percent of consumers used paperless discounts received on their smartphone/mobile device or downloaded them onto their store ID/loyalty card.

Digital couponing’s continued growth relies on its ability to become familiar. The chances of developing a liking toward a new experience are improved if that experience has at least some familiar elements in it. A successful evolution in digital couponing relies on the incorporation of these bridges between the new experience and the familiarity of traditional print couponing.

Even through constant evolution, couponing continues to be a very familiar routine – and one that truly does breed content.
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Getting to grips with digital devices – latest stats

Consumers now spend more time with digital than with any other major media. That’s according to a survey by Valassis US that identified key consumer trends. They now spend over 5 hours a day on their digital devices and these devices are fast becoming intrinsic to the shopping experience as consumers plan, browse, buy and share. How can retailers tap into this?

Valassis US data reveals all…..

The stats:
• 9/10 consumers move between multiple devices when making a purchase
• The average consumer is connected through 5 devices
What this means:
In short, the more devices the merrier. Advertisers need to use cross-device targeting techniques to track the same user across their multiple digital devices (be it desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile). Reaching a consumer across-device with consistent messages will increase the likelihood of response and store visits.
The stats:
• When researching on the go, shoppers are looking to make a purchase within the hour
• 74% of millennials are willing to receive location-based mobile alerts
• 72% of consumers check their mobile devices for coupon offers while in store

What this means:
People are busy and often spontaneous. Localised mobile ads are the best way to engage key prospects when they’re near your store or a competitive location. Delivering helpful, local content and a strong call to action, such as a special offer or coupon, during these critical decision-making moments will increase the likelihood of conversion and purchase.

The stats:
• 85 hours/month spent using smartphone apps by 18-34 year olds
• 43% of consumers use mobile apps on their smartphone for savings
What this means:
For the first time, mobile apps have surpassed mobile web commerce. Considering that m-commerce has grown rapidly, this is an opportunity retailers and brands should not overlook. Apps that let users research products and prices in-store or receive relevant, timely offers, such as coupons, are a great way for advertisers to leverage mobile to drive sales.
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Consumer coupon experience

It’s important to understand that consumer experience is key to any promotion’s success. Yes, data does tell us that consumers are willing to sacrifice some level of anonymity and time for the reward of a coupon. In fact, the 2016 RedPlum Purse String Survey cited that 23 percent of shoppers would “do just about anything” in order to get a coupon. However, marketers should use tactics such as email sign ups, survey forms or video views sparingly and focus instead on the consumer’s coupon experience.

By using available shopper marketing data, a marketer can effectively target a coupon to a consumer. If done accurately and within appropriate context, the results can be beneficial to both the consumer and the marketer. By leveraging geographic, demographic and shopper behaviour, the marketer can learn a great deal about a coupon recipient, enabling them to refine and target their coupon campaigns.

As the industry works to make digital coupon delivery more targeted and more mobile-friendly, consumers will benefit from a greatly improved experience. Brands and marketers in turn will benefit from the more intelligent and contextual matching of the right shopper with the right coupon offer.
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New Valassis Survey: Consumers Prioritise Savings in Age of Convenience

Shoppers not only want convenience in an age of home delivery and online shopping, but they prioritize saving – making time to uncover the best deals both online and offline. That’s according to the RedPlum Purse String Survey of 8,550 consumers carried out for Valassis US.

Overall, 53 percent of respondents indicated they spend over two hours a week looking for deals and savings from all sources. About 25 percent of millennials and parents spend over four hours a week in search of deals.
Consumers are clearly looking to save, and 41 percent of respondents said they use an equal mix of print and digital coupons to do so – a 6 percentage point increase from last year. More than half (52 percent) print out digital coupons for use in stores.

According to the survey, 71 percent say they would use a coupon code from a print advertisement to buy online – increasing to 78 percent for millennials and 79 percent for affluent shoppers ($100K+ household income).
The recent research indicates that shoppers don’t necessarily differentiate between the physical and digital shopping worlds when it comes to sourcing good deals - they want to be able to redeem print and digital deals both in-store and online.

Mobile also plays a key role in how consumers save. More than three quarters of respondents and 93 percent of millennials use mobile while in a store to look for coupons and discounts. Additionally, more than half of millennials say they have used their mobile device to compare deals online and in-store. Showcasing the power of mobile and geolocation data, 57 percent of consumers surveyed said they have visited a business after receiving an offer on their mobile device when they were near that location. Targeted mobile couponing is a powerful tool to reach people at a key purchase point – when they are in or near a store and looking to spend. Marketers and retailers take note!
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Half of UK SMEs are passing up SMS marketing opportunities

When it comes to marketing opportunities, around 98 per cent of branded or business-related texts are opened by mobile users, and 90 per cent are read within three minutes of being received. These figures are impressive. However, only 50 per cent of SMEs are currently utilising SMS technology for marketing opportunities.

This is according to a report commissioned by TextLocal, which also highlighted that, by 2018, 92 per cent of businesses expect to have a mobile strategy in place.

The most popular uses for SME marketing include sending out special offers and coupons, or confirmations of delivery schedules.

According to a report by Salesforce, the top five reasons consumers opt in to a brand’s text messages are: coupons or deals (77 per cent), personal alerts (50 per cent), being in the loop (48 per cent), more meaningful content (33 per cent), and no need to visit a physical location, website or app for information (31 per cent).

The report also compared SMS against other social media platforms and found that nine out of ten consumers would rather use Facebook as a social platform, with only ten per cent wanting to use it as a tool for interacting with brands.
Ofcom estimates that 93 per cent of the UK’s population now own a mobile phone, with the majority keeping them to hand for more than 16 hours a day. Despite the fact that the UK has around 80m active mobile phones in circulation,
It’s clear that smartphones are transforming the way British consumers behave and businesses need to tap into this with their marketing and promotions activity.
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Millennial marketing

Following their survey into which brands are firm favourites among millennials, marketing industry media outlet The Drum has pinpointed exactly how these brands have marketed themselves. Here’s a summary of the promotions which have found favour with this generation:

Offer experiences
Cadbury regularly includes promotions in their marketing mix, from ‘Adopt a cow’ with Buttons to ‘win a luxury holiday’ with Mini Eggs. Not only does Cadbury boost sales at struggling points of the year with rewards but also draws the experience-seeking consumer group in.
From free movie streaming and gig tickets to a hotel stay or free flights, there’s an opportunity to attract millennials.

Promotions and loyalty – from food to fashion
Over two thirds of UK consumers use discounts, coupons and promotional offers when eating out and more than a quarter of Brits will only dine at restaurants that offer promotions, with figures rising among millennials. It’s worth noting that these coupon craving extend beyond millennials, however. Our recent survey shows that almost all consumers use coupons when supermarket shopping (99%), saving a massive £3.4 billion in the 12 months to April 2017.
Sharing experiences on social media is common and millennials have FOMO (fear of missing out) if they don’t join their friends eating out, so they are looking for alternative ways to save money, becoming the norm with diners.
Loyalty perks is increasing in importance for this group. Asos also came out on top in the fashion loyalty survey as the most recognised brand, rewarding customers, and it seems that this is what places it in overall number one for this category.

Personalisation
Brands can get ahead by providing personalised communications and rewards using a loyalty platform. Millennials favour the personal approach and like to see the human side of the brand. If you take a look at any successful business, browse through Twitter posts or attend a marketing event, the need for a ‘human’ approach towards consumers is blindingly apparent. This incentive appeared in the market research when the group named their favourite travel brand - Airbnb. Millennials describe the company as “unique”, “human” and “experiential”, as the brand pushes its focus on making its destinations a ‘home away from home’ and to not just go there, live there.
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