Digital Coupons Help Brands Reach Thrifty ProspectsThe slowing economy might curtail consumer spending. But reduced spending itself can be inhibited if digital marketers have anything to do with it.

Target marketing company ICOM says its recent survey shows that U.S. shoppers are more likely to use coupons now that a recession is coming. Or, now that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admits there\’s a recession coming even though everyone else already thought as much.

ICOM\’s questionnaire showed that 67 percent of respondents will be \”much\” or \”somewhat\” more likely to use coupons during an economic downturn. More importantly, digital coupons – as opposed to paper – are going to be big in the newly thrifty America.

Fifty-eight percent of consumers surveyed by ICOM said their coupon use would increase if they could download a coupon from the Internet and have it automatically connected to an \”electronically swiped frequent shopper card.\” In that vein, I\’m thinking that ICOM\’s revelations also bolster the potential of mobile coupons.

Think about it. According to iMedia Connection, seven out of 10 U.S. adults have a cell phone, and mobile penetration will jump to 85 percent by the year 2010. That means the vast majority of consumers already have a platform on which they can instantly receive digital coupons and keep them at the ready.

Mobile coupons also get rid of the extra step of downloading a voucher from the Internet onto a shopper card. Coupons instead can be sent directly to the consumer\’s handset via SMS or multi-media message (that is, text messages with photos attached). Sure, consumers would need to give their permission before marketers can start sending them coupons. But permission-based messaging ensures that the coupons are being sent to the people who are most interested in using them anyway.

Besides, with the burgeoning of mobile Internet, soon consumers can surf the Web on their cell phones and download online coupons directly to their handsets. It\’s still better than the shopping card method, which requires a lot more equipment (such as the card, some kind of interface, and a computer).

So when you pair the cell phone users\’ willingness to use mobile coupons with the general shopping population\’s desire for ways to save money during the impending recession, the solution is obviously digital coupons. Overall, they give consumers what they want – that is, cheaper goods and services –  while promoting a brand.

Eydie Cubarrubia
Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
\”I\’d rather you text me\”