Coupons should not be used by a retailer or potential advertiser to count response in a particular media vehicle (… direct mail, Internet, magazine, newspaper). If a retailer or potential advertiser wishes to count or track response to a particular advertisement or a series of ads, the retailer should monitor a variable (total number of transactions, sales totals for all inventory, sales totals for advertised item(s) or revenue) over a given time period.
As you mentioned, many variables may affect the response to a retailer’s coupon offer — price, merchandise, percent of discount offered, coupon face value, store inventory, media used, weather, competitive offerings and location of the coupon within the media (… location on the page, page location within the vehicle, coupon location among other coupons within the vehicle). Additionally, market characteristics or demos may preclude high coupon redemption plus the age-old adage … “I forgot it!”
Coupons … Don’t Count!
Coupons are a promotional tool. When a retailer or potential advertiser considers using a coupon, he is reducing his profitability on that particular product or service. Non – coupon ads that include a simple, easily recognizable layout, with a dominant element (illustration/artwork) or theme, and an attention-grabbing benefit headline may generate a more loyal and profitable customer!
Last but not least, whether your potential advertiser is planning to use a coupon or not, a successful selling strategy for you, your newspaper, and your (potential) advertiser to always utilize is selling an advertising campaign as opposed to a single ad or single ad insertion. An ad campaign selling strategy affords your advertiser, your newspaper, and you a number of benefits. Major benefits include, but are not limited to, frequency which builds awareness to your advertiser (‘who they are and what they do’), time and advertising investment costs savings and creating, if not enhancing, results.