Hypothetically, if there was an award for the company with the most potential in 2011... that award should go to Groupon. Groupon’s growth rate over the past year alone has been quite staggering and in many ways it’s only just beginning. Although the reasons for the Company’s rejection of Google’s mammoth offer are still a little hazy, I feel that Andrew Mason and his team believe they can be worth more in future.. a lot more. John Battelle recently wrote a brilliant blog post about the potential of Groupon and why they may in fact be bigger than Google one day.
The big question for digital marketers is this... how can Groupon (or other group-buying/coupon services) be strategically used to not only increase lead generation but ultimately to create loyal customers? In other words... how can Groupon be a catalyst for loyalty?
3 steps to loyalty:
- Offer some tempting bait - If you decide to partner with Groupon, the deal you offer must be something customers are willing to buy. Here’s a thought... figure out the product/service your offer that has the greatest demand and offer that as a Groupon. Why? Because it will cause customers to walk into your store. Once you have them in store, you have already won half the battle. The principle of temptation works the same way in any scenario, whether it be an attractive member of the opposite sex or a well-valued Groupon... a tempting offer creates action.
- Prepare your internal army - Once you have chosen the offer that is going to create action, the next important step is to inform every possible employee at your company that you are going to offer this deal... on this day. The reason behind this is simple: Groupon is giving you the chance to put on a show. Think of it like this... your company is like a small-time band trying to make it big. Groupon comes along and manages to secure you a well sized crowd. Your job is to then play so well, that the crowd yells for an encore.
- Delight, delight, delight - The most exciting thing about Groupon is the amount of new customers it can draw for your business. When you offer a Groupon, expect customers to swarm in and be prepared to delight them in every way. I’m not saying that the day you offer a Groupon should be the only day you delight customers, but if you haven’t thought about delighting them in the past... offering a Groupon would be a great place to start. Customer delight is a long-term strategy and offering a Groupon could be the first step in that strategy.
Final thoughts: Planning (pick the bait), preparing (amp the army) and executing (delight everyone) are three fundamental steps in pretty much any theoretical business model. Add in research and post-execution analysis and you’ve essentially covered everything. Groupon has tremendous potential to help many companies, as a result... its opportunities for growth are currently plentiful. Marketers can utilize Groupon as a strategic catalyst for securing loyal customers. Forget the bait and switch... start the Groupon and delight.