Local Couponing Aggregation and What’s Next

Thanks to the growing buzz of local couponers Groupon and its cohorts, consumers are being exposed to and adopting the deep discount coupon opportunities in their neighborhoods. The next step in the evolution of local coupon advertising is aggregating all the coupons and displaying them in lists and on maps. The one stop shop approach compiles daily deals so consumers don’t need to subscribe to each individually via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The newest and best example of local coupon aggregation launched last week in TheDealMap, a  service by the Center’d group:


TheDealMap not only aggregates the coupons from the Groupon-type Daily Deal promoters, but allows local retailers to add their own deals. Greg Sterling provides a comprehensive description of TheDealMap’s features.

What’s next for local couponing?

Truly mobile coupon redemption

The new online coupon processing models still use a form of “clipping” that forces purchasers to print out their coupons for redemption. Services must do away with the print model so coupons can be purchased on the spot and redeemed via screen bar code. Groupon and others have been restricting use to start one day after purchase so that their clients don’t receive deep discounts that cannibalize profits. Expect less discounted on-the-spot couponing to emerge that will still get customers in the door.

Multimedia / video couponing

Replicate the infomercial. Anybody that will sit through an infomercial and purchase a product (and many do) will potentially do the same on an online video presentation. Expect local retailers to repurpose marketing campaigns that would have used TV media by applying their TV ad budget to a deep discount online video offer. Media campaigns would be easy to embed in the current couponing systems.

Value-add local advertising models trump banner ads

Local advertising now works in real time too. We’ve discussed the problem with traditional brand banner-style advertising that provide little immediate incentive to a consumer who wants either a direct monetary benefit (discounts are “instant money”) or a quick solution to locating the neighborhood stores where they can buy a product most cheaply.

Pre-internet, local newspapers made the bulk of their revenue advertising sales and classifieds. The demand for local transactional data is no different than 20 years ago. Today, there is immediate value in getting your deal across to a local buying pool in real time because transaction engines like TheDealMap are positioned to become local trading networks. It worked with Craigslist, arguably Local Transaction Engine 1.0.

All the major (and minor) mobile players – Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter and Facebook – are targeting local couponing strategies. Expect the transaction model based on couponing to morph into new local trading systems for classifieds, delivery services and other daily life necessities.

The spawning of a commercial business model for local media

Local journalistic ventures seeking funding sources can develop affiliate relationships with the coupon aggregators and services themselves. Couponing can provide an immediate quantifiable ROI attractive to local merchants that traditional CPM-based banner advertising misses, particularly when a local venture is just starting up. In fact, any local portal network can add couponing systems to attract consumer audiences monitoring such deals, and to develop affiliate revenue sources.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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