From December 2012 – Digital couponing and payment sways consumer decisions – Traditional advertising methodology is now crossing over into direct marketing space. With the ability to target and personalize offers, direct marketing makes traditional coupons more relevant. Combined with mobile consumer shopping and payment, direct marketers now have more options to reach consumers and drive real-time purchase decisions.

It’s become commonplace that emails with product offers will follow a purchase, that cookies will lead to a banner ad reminding you of an abandoned shopping cart or website visit, and that relevant offers will appear on your social media dashboards. These occurrences aren’t at all coincidence, and are all the result of smart data and technology-based marketing. Location-based and digital coupon marketing was poised to take off in 2013, and through several advances in technology, it has already showing results.

Mobile couponing is already showing great strides in 2013, with predictions that 10 billion mobile coupons (up 50% from 2012) will be redeemed in 2013. With the implementation of Passbook on the iPhone, a proliferation of mobile wallets, near-field communication payments and more far-fetched facial recognition payments, you can LITERALLY reach people where their wallet is, on their smartphone. This compounded with apps for loyalty cards (I personally use CardStar) and apps to load gift balances on (My wife regularly uses the Starbucks app for this), is allowing the digital couponing space to explode with relevant, targeted offers where you are.

Inference advertising mixed with geofencing technologies using smartphones is taking real-time marketing into overdrive. One telling example of this technology is from UberMedia, as outlined in a recent Mashable article.
Nike wants to sell more of Carmelo Anthony’s shoes. Where do they start? Well, with Carmelo’s Twitter followers. Pairing UberMedia with Twitter on smartphones, when they were within 100 steps of a Foot Locker or Nike store, an ad popped up directing them to the store with an offer. Brilliant! Match the desired audience (who follow the athlete) with an offer they might want through the method of preference (Twitter on smartphone), and serve it when they are physically near a store. Worried about “Showrooming?” These technologies breathe new life into brick and mortar locations. Since the UberMedia platform is an opt-in service, it alleviates much of the “creepy factor” that comes with privacy concerns. Users can disable this service when they please.

So already in 2013, we are seeing more and more of how marketers are using ongoing testing and transactional data, to learn that a specific consumer has a preference for a specific product. Then using loyalty programs, point-of-sale data capture, and now mobile payment technologies, they create a repeat customer, who perhaps can be given “sharable” offers to pass on to their friends and create new customers. Like loyalty cards that identify a repeat customer and join purchase data, mobile phones link a specific consumer to purchase behavior. Now with the addition of social data and activity, a 360-degree view of the consumer is truly possible, with ads they actually WANT to get. These technologies have gotten more secure, user-friendlier and more prevalent so far in 2013, and all indications lean to this trend continuing in the years to come.