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Happy Couponing

As lights go up and holiday parties grow near, I enjoy getting into the holiday spirit. One thing that happens this time every year is that my inbox starts filling up'?¦not only with warm holiday wishes from friends and family, but also with greetings from some of my favorite retailers. Subject lines such as '10 best gifts for under $100'?, 'Deck the Halls with 25% off + free shipping,'? and '12 Deals of Christmas'? are like little presents delivered straight to my inbox. However, these deals also make me slightly anxious as I consider how to take advantage of each of the offers. I think to myself,'? will I get a deal like this after the holidays? Should I use this coupon? Should I wait for an even better deal?'? According to an exclusive Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of U.S. consumers, approximately 85% predict that they will spend the same or less than last year on holiday gifts, and 30% of consumers will purchase presents for fewer people. This online survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that people are cutting back in a number of ways, which has led to an increase in coupon use over the last year.  Whether they are delivered to your inbox, via snail mail, or clipped out of the Sunday paper, coupon usage is predicted to increase even further.  Out of those respondents, 25% reported that they have used daily discount sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and Buy with Me; a new category of coupons that has recently exploded onto the scene. However, marketers should proceed with caution before jumping on the coupon bandwagon. SymphonyIRI Group data shows that coupons are not necessarily driving incremental sales, but more so offering discounts to those consumers already planning on purchasing the products. So, the '30% off all outerwear'? coupon J.Crew sends out will most likely be used by the consumer who has been eyeing that peacoat and is waiting for a sale to purchase it, not by a first time consumer to the retailer. Today I received a coupon from Ann Taylor Loft in my inbox for 40% off of my entire purchase in-store or online. I might have to make a stop on my way home!  If you've spotted any recent must-use deals in your inbox, post them here!

Happy Couponing

As lights go up and holiday parties grow near, I enjoy getting into the holiday spirit. One thing that happens this time every year is that my inbox starts filling up'?¦not only with warm holiday wishes from friends and family, but also with greetings from some of my favorite retailers. Subject lines such as '10 best gifts for under $100'?, 'Deck the Halls with 25% off + free shipping,'? and '12 Deals of Christmas'? are like little presents delivered straight to my inbox. However, these deals also make me slightly anxious as I consider how to take advantage of each of the offers. I think to myself,'? will I get a deal like this after the holidays? Should I use this coupon? Should I wait for an even better deal?'? According to an exclusive Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of U.S. consumers, approximately 85% predict that they will spend the same or less than last year on holiday gifts, and 30% of consumers will purchase presents for fewer people. This online survey of more than 1,000 consumers found that people are cutting back in a number of ways, which has led to an increase in coupon use over the last year.  Whether they are delivered to your inbox, via snail mail, or clipped out of the Sunday paper, coupon usage is predicted to increase even further.  Out of those respondents, 25% reported that they have used daily discount sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and Buy with Me; a new category of coupons that has recently exploded onto the scene. However, marketers should proceed with caution before jumping on the coupon bandwagon. SymphonyIRI Group data shows that coupons are not necessarily driving incremental sales, but more so offering discounts to those consumers already planning on purchasing the products. So, the '30% off all outerwear'? coupon J.Crew sends out will most likely be used by the consumer who has been eyeing that peacoat and is waiting for a sale to purchase it, not by a first time consumer to the retailer. Today I received a coupon from Ann Taylor Loft in my inbox for 40% off of my entire purchase in-store or online. I might have to make a stop on my way home!  If you've spotted any recent must-use deals in your inbox, post them here!

Troga, Anyone?

Like most people in today's world, I find it difficult to shut down and disconnect. Moving from meeting to call to email,  I am always on and always accessible (via phone, text, email, bbm, Facebook, you name it). Exercise has always been my form of release, a way to shut down momentarily. A few months ago, I began feeling somewhat bored with my usual cardio/weight training routine, and was finding it increasingly difficult to turn everything off like I was once able. Then I remembered - several years ago, a doctor recommended I try yoga to kick a nail-biting habit. I, of course, dismissed her advice because yoga was 'weird.'? Now, trying to switch things up a bit, I decided to take her advice and jump on the bandwagon. Though Yoga has been around for centuries, it has just recently boomed into the bustling billion dollar industry that it now is. There is a yoga for everyone- partner yoga, power Yoga, laughter yoga, even naked yoga. Sitcoms today such as Modern Family poke fun at the success and proliferation of the practice, coining the term 'Troga,'? or treadmill Yoga. So I took the plunge, and fell in love instantly. Before my first class, the instructor told us to forget about what had happened that day, that week, that hour, and just focus on being present. And it worked. Everything seemed to quiet down and shut off for a bit while in Warrior I. After my first few classes, I of course 'needed' to buy the latest and greatest in Yoga paraphernalia ' a new mat, a super-absorbent and custom Yoga towel, and a packages of trial sessions from a few local studios. Given my newfound love-affair with Yoga, I began to take notice of the many journals, sites, blogs, communities, deals and steals out there in the Yoga world. I am now subscribed to receive email blasts, news and promotions from almost every studio or shop within a 5 mile radius of my apartment. Yoga, an ancient practice rooted in transcendence of the mind and spiritual enlightenment, and my new form of freedom and solace, now buzzes me at least once a day, letting me know that the ___ Yoga studio is having a $5 community Vinyasa class on Sunday. Ironic, right? Will I unsubscribe? Probably not. Even Yoga has had to adapt to fit the times and I can't blame it. And, though I might not be connected in the now traditional sense during class, the goal of practicing yoga is still to try to connect (to yourself, your inner energy, or something greater perhaps). Maybe these ancient yogis were onto something back then'?¦And hey, who doesn't love a discount?

Five Wines to Drink Before Noon?

by Scott Stephens, VP, Interactive If you're like most web users, you currently have multiple email accounts that serve different purposes. (1) There's the work email account - strictly business, expect for the occasional thread from a friend who still hasn't bothered to put your personal account into his/her address book. (2) There's the "professional" personal account - most likely a Gmail account that uses your full name and is reserved for your LinkedIn profile, your professional blog and/or Twitter account, non-current-work related networking opportunities (i.e. job seeking), etc. (3) There's the "original" personal account - that Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL account that you've had for 10 years and can't bear to get rid of since you have no idea how many old web accounts are tied to it, and you're afraid you'll lose access to something if you get rid of it. Then there could also be (4) the anonymous account you use when you're filling out registration forms on websites that you never want to hear from again, (5) the Tiger Woods / Ashley Madison account that you use for "discrete encounters", or (6) the porn account (sometimes lumped in with #5). Most of us have the first 3 accounts on the list above, which quickly adds up to receiving several hundred new emails on a daily basis. This obviously presents an enormous challenge for marketers. How do you get your message to rise to the top amongst all of that noise, so that the recipient opens, reads, and interacts with it? Which brings me back to the title of this post. Over lunch today I was doing the scan-and-scroll across 50+ new messages stacked up in my "original" personal account, and I saw an email from www.snooth.com (a great wine reviews site BTW, if you're interested) with a subject line that said "Five Wines to Drink Before Noon". It's a grey, dreary Tuesday here in Boston, so the thought of drinking wine in the morning was eye-catching (shhhh...don't tell my boss).  I opened the email, read it, clicked through to a couple of reviews, scanned their Facebook page, and subscribed to the Twitter feed - in short, everything they wanted me to do. This struck me as a great example of a marketer using eye-catching headlines and copywriting to capture user's eyeballs. They also do a great job of pushing their content out via multiple channels - email, Facebook, Twitter, etc - using consistently well conceived content that engages their target audience and starts a conversation. The message - as always - is that content is king. Without a great headline I would have skipped to the next email on the list. The secondary message is to also make sure you have an overall strategy for delivering content to your audience consistently across multiple channels. Today, I engaged with Snooth.com from an email. Tomorrow it will be via an update coming across my TweetDeck, or a Facebook update. They've now elevated themselves much higher in my content consumption sphere, shifting from an occasional glance across the "original" personal account, to the top-of-mind space where I choose to interact with content on a daily basis. And as long as the copywriting coming across those channels is equaling compelling, I'll continue to engage with Snooth. But if it falls off, they'll quickly move back into my scan-and-scroll, no matter what the medium. What do you think - are content and delivery channel equally important, or does one outweigh the other?  And is drinking wine in the morning (on weekends) advisable? Cheers!

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