Pending Business: Coupons

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Newsflash: We’re using more coupons and grabbing more BOGOs these days. Have you been to the grocery store lately? Pick an aisle, any aisle. Do we need an audit to tell us the price of almost anything you buy is at a record 40-year high? Even store brand food is getting more expensive. Check your mailbox, some pre-COVID free publications are roaring back with coupons and limited time offers. Check in with your 20- or 30-something children. What was once an, “Oh dad, so embarrassing!” is now part of their pre-shopping ritual.

For years, coupon redemption was the first mover in advertising accountability, providing tangible results for any size retailer. All I heard on sales calls was, “They came in with the ad (coupon) in their hand, but with you radio guys, we never know.” Sales survival meant quick pivot and adjust to the piles of proof retailers would put in front of our collective eyes. So how does this new inflation driven coupon-clipping frenzy impact day-to-day radio sales? Stay with me as we focus on an immediate sales and marketing opportunity.

Here’s a refresh of what to practice:

  • Immediacy. Radio ads can be all about “today” when copy and schedules are adjusted to reference time-sensitive offers.
  • Cross Reference. “Look for our ad______” is a simple tag line that provides a solution to a roadblock objection.
  • Use your digital assets. Talk to your digital team. Can you package a link or better yet a downloadable offer that will allow you full K.P.I. credit?
  • Careful. Try NOT to compete head-to-head with zip code-focused, coupon clipper-type free magazines or coupon bundles. Price points can be so efficient, you may hit an embarrassing dead end. Leave the geo-targeting to your digital team.
  • Be smart. Will your audience and programming support an enhanced response to the coupon offer, or is it best left as a visual in a free publication or coupon bundle? Reality check before you move forward.

It’s been nearly 135 years since the first coupon was offered by the Coca-Cola company, and only 12 years since Target offered what was possibly the first electronic coupon. Saving money is always a high priority for every consumer, thus making the coupon concept timeless. Inflation is pushing the coupon culture into high gear.  Radio is the timeless complement to make those coupon offers more impactful. Keep your sales toolbox current so when the time comes to count the coupons, you know what to do.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: