'Like' Minded

Catalina ties "like" activity on Facebook to its coupon program

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In a growing trend to develop connections and measuring tools to social media, coupon distributor and developer Catalina, along with its CouponNetwork.com website, have created a way through Facebook to reward customers for engaging in and promoting branded products.

The "Like Rewards" program bumps up the value of coupons found on CouponNetwork.com for consumers who "like" their favorite branded offers. On the popular social site, people can click a "like" button under any post or comment they see as a show of appreciation. For those who click "like" on a company Facebook page, communications from that page will start to flow into that person's own Facebook page.

Brands can also thank their new fans with additional savings, officials with the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Catalina told CSP Daily News. When customers redeem the Like Reward coupon in the store, they can receive additional discounts.

"Catalina's printers at the point-of-sale [POS] can enable that kind of online, offline relationship," said Susan Gear, group vice president and general manager of Catalina's Coupon Network operation. "The way I describe it is like in any relationship, it's that first gift-giving exchange. And we're able to surprise and delight with an extra reward in the store" when customers come in to redeem the coupon.

Consumers today are aware they're providing a service to the brand when they advocate and as a result, expect to receive rewards, Gear says, adding how the larger goal is to start an ongoing conversation with the consumer. Companies can also collect and analyze data from customers redeeming the coupons, giving retailers the ability to draw composites and to a degree, determine the power of the program to lure customers into the store.

"We're really excited to learn more about the consumers we're engaging with socially," said ErinLifeso, director of marketing for Balance Bar, Valhalla, N.Y. "Understanding more about who our fans are will help Balance Bar create better and more mutually-rewarding relationships with them."

"Like Rewards is designed to help brands engage today's social consumer with a brand experience that recognizes and rewards their advocacy right at the start," said Gear. "It is also the first truly measurable way to integrate social brand building into your digital strategy."

This past December, CouponNetwork.com introduced "Video Rewards," a solution that increases the value of a coupon featured on CouponNetwork.com when a consumer views an online video about the featured product. The Like Rewards are to a degree, an extension of that.

Earlier this year, Catalina introduced social sign-on features, allowing visitors to simply register or sign-in with CouponNetwork.com through their Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, MSN or AOL accounts. Social registration allows visitors to speed through the registration process and does not require them to create and remember another username and password.

CouponNetwork.com was also integrated Pinterest "PinIt" buttons, allowing their consumers to "pin" their favorite coupons onto the fast-growing social site.

Catalina operates CouponNetwork.com, an online marketing platform designed to connect bargain-minded shoppers with their favorite retailers and brands. The site features printable online coupons and "YourBucks" reward offers. YourBucks Rewards are dollars-off coupons the consumers earn when they purchase participating products. Like cash, YourBucks rewards can be used to purchase anything in the store—no minimums or restrictions.

Catalina uses proprietary and integrated marketing platforms both inside and outside the store. Those marketing platforms enable brand executives to deliver relevant messages to consumers in the proper environment. Catalina leverages one of the world's largest, transaction-level, shopper-data warehouses to develop, deliver and measure shopper engagement with approximately 90 million households annually. Media distribution channels include 50,000 food, drug and mass locations worldwide, including 18,000 U.S. pharmacies.