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Coupons: print or digital?

Coupons have traditionally been one of the most recognizable – and usable – print marketing items available. The "win-win" nature of coupons and circulars, wherein both the consumer and the marketer benefit, have made them a go-to strategy for all types of retail businesses.

However, with the growing ubiquity of digital and online media, many industry experts are debating whether or not these popular retail items will survive in print or digital format.

Suzie Brown, CMO of marketing firm Valassis, told Direct Marketing News that she believes print media's "tried-and-true" appeal will ensure its survival over any other.

"Traditional media is still a major influencer despite all the digital attention and hype," Brown writes. "Eighty-seven percent of all consumer packaged goods coupons can be found in free-standing insert coupon booklets, according to NCH Marketing Services."

"By contrast, of the 260 billion coupons distributed through the third quarter of 2010, approximately 1 percent or less were distributed through online media," she adds.

There is also the indisputable familiarity with print coupons that consumers retain – a condition that many experts argue will take a long time to overcome.

In the mean time, retail marketers should consider offering print coupons and circulars to help promote and communicate with consumers.

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