Sara Lee tests social couponing

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Sara Lee tests social couponing
Sara Lee tests social couponing

Sara Lee recently ran a social coupon campaign with social marketing firm SocialTwist that resulted in 81% coupon redemption. While the campaign only generated around 65,000 website visitors in 30 days, it is one more example of brands testing out traditional direct marketing tactics in the realm of social media.

In January, the brand presented consumers with a $1 off coupon for Jimmy Dean D-lights breakfast sandwiches but were encouraged to share the offer with three or more friends in order to receive a coupon for an additional $1.50 off. According to SocialTwist, more than 64% of visitors made the referrals and received the $2.50 off coupon, with the referral chain extending to up to five referrals per initial referral. SocialTwist founder Vijay Pullur said that his company has seen similar results with its other clients such as ConAgra Foods' Hunt's tomato products, which saw a 55% redemption rate.

That price incentive “is really the promise of social commerce,” said Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan. He said that consumer-issued referrals are more effective than business-to-consumer marketing because recipients are likely to be more welcoming. “It's gentle. It's, 'Hey, I saw this and thought of you.' And there's so much more opportunity with that,” said Wengroff.

Sara Lee had the potency of social referrals in mind when developing the campaign. “At Sara Lee, we know that direct friend-to-friend referrals are highly credible because consumers know their friends personally, know their likes and dislikes, and naturally target the shared messages better than any demographics or psychographics,” said Michael McDowell, manager of shopper marketing at Sara Lee, via email.

This type of campaign may showcase the future of traditional print coupon programs, said Wengroff. According to Inc.'s Digital Coupons Trends Report for 2010, savings from coupons distributed via newspapers in 2010 grew only 7% from 2009, meanwhile savings from digital coupons increased at nearly six times that rate.

“People aren't buying the Sunday paper; people aren't going to their mailbox,” said Wengroff. “So [coupons distributed socially online] is a great way to reach people where they're reading [because] they're reading their email and Facebook or Twitter streams.”

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