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Marketers Ready To Try Mobile Couponing

  • Ad Age, Friday, June 30, 2006 12:15 PM
Cost-conscious consumers needn't worry about clipping coupons to get discounts on products. Now all they have to do is answer their cell phones. That's because the long-anticipated era of mobile couponing has apparently arrived. In the next few weeks, major marketers and retailers including Hollywood Video,, TGI Friday's, and Bath & Body Works will try it for the first time, while Target, Best Buy, and other mass marketers are expected to use cell phone-targeted coupons for the 2006 holiday season. "Mobile couponing has arrived," said Brent Dusing, CEO of Moonstorm, a mobile-marketing-solution provider. Dusing said the marketers are using Moonstone's Cellfire program, in which a consumer downloads a virtual coupon "wallet" to a mobile phone and shows the phone with the coupon code to a store clerk. The coupons may be worth a free movie rental or $5 off dinner, and are being promoted through shelf-talkers, click-to-call offers on Web pages, and through other advertising offers. Users must consent to receiving the coupons, because the process requires them to reveal their location. That way, marketers can send the coupon at the right moment--right as the consumer is approaching the retail outlet. Some 200 million Americans have mobile phones with locating devices; Sprint, for one, has a searchable local directory that can recommend nearby restaurants, clubs or bars, and almost all Verizon Wireless phones soon will have similar capabilities.

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