Being in the local media space, each New Year I reflect on my buying habits of the past 12 months and how I found local businesses. This year I realized that I used a wider variety of media than in the past to find local service providers including the following: Angie’s List for a housecleaning service; the print Yellow Pages for an exterminator and a garage door repair; a door hanger for a carpet cleaner; a mass e-mail blast from a local salon for a new hairstylist; direct mail coupon for an oil change and so on. However, perhaps the most intriguing local media player I used this year was Groupon.
A friend sent me a link to register for Groupon so she could rack up $10 credits on Groupon.com. I began receiving offers over e-mail and passively looked at them until the deal I didn’t know I was longing for popped into my inbox: a New Year’s Eve package for two at the Westin with a room, dinner, drinks and dancing for $149!
To prep for my big night with my husband (don’t have too many of those with two young kids), I went to the nail salon to get primped. I had never been to this salon before (which I found out about via my local Mommies Network) and my new manicurist, Kimberley, asked what my plans were for bringing in 2010. I said we were going to a party at the Westin. She immediately replied — did you buy the Groupon deal? I replied that I did and she began to tell me that her salon was participating in a Groupon deal the very next day — a manicure and pedicure for $25. We began talking about Groupon and here are her thoughts: “They’re marketing geniuses. They’re going to deliver me 300 customers with one e-mail.” And, in fact, she was right — Groupon sold 352 manicure/pedicure packages for the salon.
I began polling my acquaintances about Groupon and can’t believe that they’d never mentioned their deals to me previously — as if I would be encroaching on their good deal territory. One friend bought five deals to a local Indian restaurant while another bought three manicure/pedicure packages to another salon as holiday gifts.
I look forward to my Groupon’s each weekday and while I’ll pass on today’s $25 acupuncture deal and am still considering the $79 teeth whitening “side deal,” I’m looking forward to my next manicure/pedicure and the delivery of my organic fruit and vegetables — all things that I never would have purchased without being prompted by a simple e-mail. Will this replace my need to find a plumber, garage door repairman or gutter cleaner? Probably not. Point is, it’s getting people excited about receiving inbound marketing in a combination of a beat the clock game and a can’t-say-no reaction to a good deal all the while exposing them to mostly local small businesses that otherwise might fall between the cracks of traditional media.
I’m interested to see what the new year will bring for Groupon and its recent $30 million round of funding — partnerships, more cities, more deals and more competition, I’d bet … Also, interested to hear from my manicurist/salon owner what she thinks of the deal after the fact and if she’d do it again — did she make any money on her 57 percent discount on the service, plus the Groupon fee?
As someone interested in the local space, what media did you use in 2009 and did it change from prior years?