FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A new industry committee established to promote couponing to both consumers and manufacturers is moving ahead to formulate campaign strategies.
The Coupon Industry Committee, a steering committee of the Promotion Marketing Association of America, New York, was created in response to declining redemption rates and to enhance public perceptions of coupons, said Alan Schultz, committee chairman.
"We have a simple mission," he said. "Our mission is to promote the usage of coupons to consumers, retailers and manufacturers in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of coupons as a promotional tool."
Schultz, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Valassis Inserts, Livonia, Mich., outlined the committee's objectives during the Association of Coupon Processors meeting here earlier this month.
The campaign will be jumpstarted with $80,000 in funds pledged by the eight companies represented on the Coupon Industry Committee: Actmedia, Norwalk, Conn.; Donnelley Marketing, Stamford, Conn.; Indiana Data, Bloomington, Ind.; NewsAmerica FSI, New York; Carolina Manufacturer Services, Winston-Salem, N.C.; NCH Promotional Services, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Catalina Electronic Clearing Services, St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Valassis Inserts.
Schultz said the group will promote couponing with a campaign driven by the "100 Years of Couponing" theme that set the tone for the ACP meeting.
The campaign will be launched on two separate fronts; one effort will target consumers with an emphasis on value and convenience while a separate effort will focus on manufacturers and stress the advantages of couponing, Schultz said.
"The overall objective is to communicate the positive benefits of couponing as a promotional vehicle, that it helps [manufacturers] accomplish business objectives, accomplish brand objectives," he said.
"If we pool our resources and work together we think that a cohesive focused effort can make some positive change," he added.
"Redemption rates are down, and the number of coupons redeemed per household has started to decline and those are some alarming trends," Schultz said.
During an earlier presentation at the ACP meeting, "100 Years of Couponing: The Statistics, " Jane Perrin, senior vice president of marketing, NCH Promotional Services, tracked redemption rate patterns and coupon distribution growth.
In 1994, 310 billion coupons were distributed by 3,000 manufacturers, she said. Among the 3,000 coupons on average that reached each household last year, 62 were redeemed, for a redemption rate of 2.06%. By comparison 20 years ago, 35.7 billion coupons were distributed by 1,000 manufacturers and redemption was 2.16%.
The 1990s, however, bring new challenges to couponing, she maintained.
"What has changed? The consumer has changed. Consumers are more educated, more cynical, more diverse, have more access to information, more access to technology and less time," she said.