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Sign me up: in praise of the daily deal

The daily deals sector has garnered plenty of headlines in the marketing press recently, including in this publication. That’s no surprise given its size (pegged at $1.25 billion by BIA/Kelsey) and judging by the players who’ve launched daily deals services — Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and AT&T — to compete with the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial. ?

However, marketers have cast a skeptical eye on this emerging tactic. A Rice University study published in June revealed less than half (48%) of small- and medium-sized businesses that have run a daily deal promotion said they would do so again. One argument among marketers not in favor of them is that merchants lose money running these offers. However, a surprising 73% of the 324 businesses surveyed said they had either profited or broken even. ?

I’ve been a fan of daily deal sites since 2009. I’m one of those Web surfers who checks deals every day, and I’ve plunked down my hard-earned for everything from pedicures to restaurant meals to yoga classes, and even a piece of luggage from one of the exclusive, invitation-only sites. ?

I love a good deal. Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of coupon-clippers. My stay-at-home mom and New York City fireman dad raised 10 children in the ‘burbs, so mom was necessarily a double-coupon queen and comparison shopper. A 50% discount offer for dinner at Bombay Talkie can certainly push me to purchase, but where marketers are falling down on the job is with retention. Very few have kept my attention after the initial offer or emailed me post-sale. ?

One exception was the high-end luggage brand. Immediately after purchase, I was prompted to opt in — and did — to their email marketing program. You can bet I open those Tumi emails regularly. Other merchants would do well to follow its lead.?

The Direct Marketing News virtual event, “Real-time marketing: Master digital technology for superior response” on October 20 will address the deals marketplace. “The Real Deal on Daily Deals” panel discussion will feature executives from The Body Shop, Thrillist and Forrester Research e-commerce expert Sucharita Mulpuru, discussing the implications of daily deal commerce for both local and national marketers.

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