Coupon redemption was down more than seven percent in Q1 2012 as compared with the same period last year — due largely to a pullback in coupon distribution in Q4 2011. This pullback was driven, in large part, by "over redemption" earlier in 2011. So, what was the result of all this back-and-forth? How about a nearly three percent drop in unit sales across all grocery store departments in the early months of 2012!
With all the factors weighing on consumer behavior, it would be an oversimplification to attach this sales drop solely to fewer/smaller coupon drops. However, it can't be denied that promotion focus shifted (along with expenditures) and with it went some opportunity for conversion.
No doubt the decision makers were making moves based on the information at hand. But, did they have all the information they (really) needed? Was dialing down coupon distribution (really) the correct play? Now, the latest trend is for CPGs to increase trade promotion and shopper marketing. Likely a good move, but will the specific choices made be the result of reliable research or simply a reactionary redirection?
In these current economic circumstances, there's no room for guessing nor wasting resources and without the necessary business intelligence, count on the first to bring the second. And neither looks good on a financial statement or a year-end performance review. It's about optimization; not overreaction. Picking the right partner — one who (really) knows the industry and has experience delivering real insight — is the best way to achieve the first and prevent the second. Every time.