Valpak opens up mobile local couponing with iPhone application

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Valpak opens up mobile local couponing with iPhone application
Valpak opens up mobile local couponing with iPhone application

Direct mail coupon veteran Valpak is bringing its brand of local offers to the iPhone, introducing an app as the company pushes to become more digital.

The free application lets consumers access mobile coupons from more than 17,000 businesses. The app tracks the user's location by ZIP code to present locally targeted offers. The coupons represent businesses from a range of verticals, such as dining, auto, beauty, health, leisure, home and professional services.

"One of the things that we are attempting to do is to help Valpak extend its print business into the digital world," said Jim Buckley, director of the new media business development team at Valpak. "Our goal in doing this is to bundle our overall advertising strategy with our print business."

With the iPhone app, consumers can click on a coupon to use the device's mapping function to get a business' directions, or tap on the phone number to directly call the company. The application connects to the Valpak Web site, so a consumer can use his or her existing profile to access the offers.

Valpak has been beefing up its digital offering since August 2006, when the direct mail advertiser began offering printable coupons on its site. While its advertising business is still dominated by direct mail - 26,000 advertisers ran coupons in the June mailing - there are 17,000 advertisers running ads on Valpak.com.

"We expect these numbers to get closer as digital becomes a core part of our offering," Buckley added.

This mobile application is designed to extend Valpak's presence further into the digital space, and include the mobile phone. Another goal of the iPhone app is to keep the brand culturally relevant to a younger audience. The brand's target demographic is women ages 24 to 54. This app helps to reach the lower end of that target, and exposes the brand to even younger consumers.

"For us, the real challenge is that when people think of Valpak, they don't think digitally," said Buckley. "They think, 'Oh, they send a coupon to my house.' But this helps us change that perception.

"We expect to attract a new and younger audience with this application, which we think will improve redemption overall for our advertisers," he continued.

To promote the application, Valpak is using PR, social media and direct mail. The company is running an ongoing direct mail piece in its monthly envelope mailing, as well as using Twitter. It may also add TV, radio and print to the media mix.

The iPhone app is the first mobile application to launch, though Valpak.com is already optimized for mobile. Valpak is also designing applications for Google's Android smartphone OS and for the Palm Pre phone, which it expects to release later on this year.

"The opportunities are enormous for us in mobile," said Buckley. "It allows us the opportunity to extend our brand and to be anywhere at any time."

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