Really?! You tell me I instantly won a fabulous prize, and then you give me a $10 coupon off my next purchase?!

Coupons are NOT prizes!

As a marketer, offering entrants a coupon at the end of an unsuccessful instant win entry, or via email after any standard online form entry is a great marketing idea. It encourages the entrant to try your product or service at a discount. Why some marketers think giving me a coupon as a prize is a good thing, I will never know. It’s obvious that it’s a terrible idea.

Remember Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Why don’t they put themselves in the entrant’s place? How would they feel if they ‘won’ a coupon or discount? I know I feel annoyed. Do you think any brand wants to be associated with annoyance in the consumer’s mind? How likely am I to buy their product or use their service if my first response to them is unpleasant? They may have the best product in the world, but I will probably buy from their competitor. I also feel if they can’t run a promotion well, I wonder: How well are they choosing their other suppliers? If they can’t choose a great agency to run their marketing promotions, what else are they making poor decisions on?

Rant Over

That said, coupons for a FREE product are good prizes. It saves the sponsor money on shipping and allows you, at your convenience, to pick up your prize. Many times you get to choose the flavor, scent, size, etc., as coupons for free samples tend to be for items found at a grocery store or pharmacy.

What do you think when you ‘win’ a coupon or discount? More importantly, how do you feel??