Acquiring customers and keeping them loyal is easier said than done. Marketing Agency Customer Communications Group (CCG) makes a living out of helping its clients do just that. Its most recent venture has been developing a CRM Road Map for companies to optimize their customer database and analyze consumer purchasing habits.

Offering incentives to consumers is a simple, cost-efficient way to obtain more information about consumer spending habits and behavioral likes and dislikes. Printable coupons are becoming more popular, especially with traditional brands. Companies are placing printable coupon offers directly on their home pages, sending users coupons offering site and product feedback, and giving coupons as an incentive to sign up for a company newsletter.

Coupons, Inc. (, has developed the technology to place printable coupons in the hands of consumers. Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons, Inc., says that giving a consumer a coupon right away, as opposed to sending something later that day or a few days later, is an attractive feature to customers. ÒConsumers will interact and provide information if you give them something in return. An immediate, tangible reward has always been more popular.Ó

HereÕs how the technology works: A standard Web link (coded for one-time use) is placed in an ad banner or button, or as a link in an email. This is all linked into the clientÕs CRM program. When an ad is clicked, the system is messaged, authenticates the request when appropriate, and delivers the coupon to your printer (such as buy one, get one free) bypassing local settings. In other words, you have no control over printing out the coupon, so you canÕt make 20 copies. A user is also unable to log in and out several times in hopes of printing out extra coupons.

Clients include Dial soap, McCormick spices, NestlŽ, and Johnson & Johnson, to name a few. Kathleen Ferry, senior account manager for Medical Broadcasting Company, has been using this technology for a campaign for Tylenol. ÒFor the past two years, we have been employing a continuity program for the Tylenol brand that includes eCRM and e-couponing technology to keep in touch with consumers. WeÕve found that samples, sweepstakes, and e-coupons are the most popular features. WeÕve polled the consumers and more than half of the survey respondents reported that they had taken advantage of the programsÕ offers and special promotions.Ó

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