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Call me crazy, the anti-saving queen, the discount defector, the over spending psycho shopper – I don’t like coupons!

I do like being rewarded with gifts for my loyalty, finding items with extreme value for a fair price and being a recipient of a bonus tied to a purchase. To me that’s all cool. However, you will never see me packing a coupon at a nice restaurant or signing up at Groupon. See end of story of their story.

So what’s the difference?
The difference is: How it’s packaged and the psychological message that accompanies it.

My aversion to discounting started as a child. My mother and grandmother were coupon addicts, my mother still is. So from the get-go it was part of my rebel nature. If my mom did it, I was not going there. (Sorry mom)

Later in life, when I started selling things that I created and built with lots of sweat and investment, a client wanted a fire sale price or discount. I processed that request as if the buyer didn’t see the value in what I delivered; they were uneducated or maybe just cheap, either way my ego was insulted.

As I matured as a business person and understood the costs of goods/services, overhead and profit, paying full price for things was tied to my value system. As an entrepreneur supporting other entrepreneurs and economies I felt it was my duty to pay a business, that provided a quality/valuable product, a fair, and many times full price, so they could be around next year.

I also have been around many whiny people who do not value themselves, always feel like they are a victim and don’t run a business. Their affinity to discounts, and their chest pounding with feelings of triumphant, when a business has to discount—annoys me.

Discounts, two for one, buy one, get one free—all scream desperate, needs sales badly or worse – sneaky marketing.
Maybe my knowledge of business gives me an unfair advantage or my knowledge of life cuts through any faux coupon cloud.

First point.
My opinion on coupons and discounts is not universal, I am a market segment (professional, educated, not poor, supports capitalism, high level of quality standards, values principles of business) that certain sellers need to understand and speak to. To get me to buy one needs to package a quality offering, price it in a fair manner and stand behind it with enough resources (that hopefully you’ve earned).

Second point.
There are many consumers who are not like me (my mother, a college student, a single mom with 4 kids etc.) and successfully selling to them may look different. The recent recession has had an impact on pricing strategies. The key, to discounting or not, needs to align to the values of your buyers.

Third point.
I’ve witnessed many a brand demise when quality companies resort to deep discounting. Instead they should focus on better communications on their value offering, product experience and performance. Apple , Rolex, Mont Blanc or BMW don’t discount.

Another story, three more important points.
Even though I’ve hammered against the concept of discounts and coupons, today in The Wall Street Journal there is an excellent story on Groupon, an online company that was offered $6 billion from Google and they passed. Groupon offers local, online visitors, daily deals with significant discounts. I applaud their confidence in themselves, the intriguing business model and their success. The story is worth reading.  Three messages that stuck with me were, 1.) the founder first started  the company on a different path and lost over  $1,000,000, Don’t give up! 2.) The founder believes the success of Groupon is credited to the simpleness of the idea vs. the first company concept was complex. Simple is good. 3.) Livingsocial.com is another similar local/discount model and Amazon just pumped $175 million into it. Isn’t business fun!

For more on coupons, view: Are you as consumer savvy with your advertising as you are with your groceries?