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Written By Chris Giddins
7 minute read

As a technology provider, we are dedicated to understanding the future of promotional marketing. That means we are always looking at the cutting edge of development and are excited to bring new knowledge to our audience. We regularly speak with industry insiders to help better serve the industry and felt that sharing those insights would be of great value to you. 

In a world where 75% of consumers have an affinity with companies that offer rewards, it’s more important than ever to make the most of promotional marketing. These leading professionals working for highly successful and innovative companies provide constructive revelations about the challenges and future of a promotional focused marketing strategy. 


1-57Alexander is an innovative and dynamic businessman with a passion for business that was cultivated at an early age and has never wavered. He has impressive global experience in entrepreneurship and business strategy across the 5 countries he’s lived in. His dedication to leveraging technology products to innovate on behalf of customers even earned him the impressive title of Most Enterprising Marketing Strategist at the Nanyang Business School in 2015. 


What are the biggest challenges that you think those in the industry (yourself included) face today?

Accurate tracking of transactions across devices are one of the biggest challenges that the affiliate industry is facing. Downloads of commerce apps grew by 20% year-over-year (YoY) in 2018, following a 28% YoY growth in 2017. The trend is clear: customers are shopping more and more on their phones using native shopping apps, which presents a great challenge for the industry to adopt in-app tracking technology.


What are your thoughts on how promotional marketing will change over the next five years? 

I don’t expect the general consumer sentiment to change all that much. People will continue to be price conscious and will keep welcoming a good deal. With that said, we already see customers demanding responsible and sustainable shopping options which impacts promotional marketing. I see it as a very healthy trend that will only become bigger. 

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What other trends do you expect to see over time? 

I expect loyalty to increase in popularity — maybe not so much in terms of brand loyalty, but more so in terms of loyalty schemes that allow customers to earn credits when shopping. Customers like to be rewarded when shopping and I expect that a good reward can easily be perceived as lucrative as a good discount.


2-7Joel is responsible for all partnerships across Perkbox’s leading global employee experience platform, which was named one of the fastest-growing companies in Europe. He’s an inspirationally knowledgeable and talented strategist with invaluable expertise and a focus on vision and structure. With experience as a founding member of Next Jump (one of the world's largest operators of employee perk platforms), Joel has demonstrated that his enthusiasm for marketing is second to none. 


What is your view on how the role of promotions and coupons evolved in marketing over the last five years?

There are some brilliant technology providers who are making it much easier for advertisers and publishers to connect and work together to deliver rewards and incentives. For example, gift card API solutions, card-link API solutions, and real-time voucher code tracking and reporting.


What are the biggest challenges that you think those in the industry (yourself included) face today?

The industry needs to overcome the mentality of ‘if it ain't broke, don’t fix it’. We need to ensure that our colleagues across the industry (particularly newer entrants) are encouraged to break the mould, take risks and try new things — otherwise, everybody will continue to push the same things day in, day out.


What are your thoughts on how promotional marketing will change over the next five years? And what trends do you expect to see over time? 

I think that card linking and open banking will surpass some of the more traditional methods of rewarding and incentivising users. And those who have amassed the most useful data through these channels will ultimately have the strongest long-term value proposition for advertisers.



With over 10 years in the performance marketing industry, Mark has a reputation that precedes him. He is one of the creative minds behind Vouchercloud’s affiliate marketing proposition and actually ran the first ever multichannel affiliate offer in the industry. He was also part of the team that built the world’s first voucher app, so is an exceptionally important industry professional we are fortunate to learn from. 


What is your view on how the role of promotions and coupons evolved in marketing over the last five years?

This industry has evolved over the last five years. We have developed from a channel solely focused on customer acquisition into something that can add a great deal more value. We’ve been through a period where merchants have, through their chosen commission rates, said that there are certain sales with less value to them, for example, sales to existing customers. 

Over the last five years, we, as publishers, have been getting far better at integrating with merchants and proving without a shadow of a doubt that there’s value in the coupons space. There’s clearly still a huge appetite for customers searching for and using discount codes — especially in the last five years — and there’s a huge amount of space to grow even more.


What are the biggest challenges that you think those in the industry (yourself included) face today?

One challenge never seems to go away. This was, and still is, Google. If you bring it back to the publishers themselves, so much resource is focused on SEO enhancements — sometimes to the detriment of product improvement. The only winner in all this is Google. It’s a zero-sum game. 

Don’t get me wrong, SEO is hugely important. The challenge is to still put enough resource into other areas to stay innovative — to achieve those big steps forward. We’re not going to evolve as an industry, or an individual publisher, if we don’t keep a focus on other areas too.


What are your thoughts on how promotional marketing will change over the next five years? And what trends do you expect to see over time? 

Closed environments, I think, will get more popular. Environments where only a certain number of users have access to, like employee benefits or student discounts. There’ll be a trend where publishers start to create more of these closed environments to secure higher value offers. Ones which are only available to these exclusive people. 

I think card-linked offers will also see its heyday — using bank cards as an alternative to cookies or a standard affiliate link. It may not significantly change the online landscape, but it will impact the brick and mortar retail landscape dramatically. Linking a card automatically and securely to a publisher means that said publisher can pre-negotiate discounts with certain merchants. The user will then shop as normal in stores, using their linked card, and automatically get money off.


Skilled experience in all forms of marketing, from digital to email, is what makes Jesper an exceptional manager. His detail-oriented and analytical approach combined with his love to be challenged make him one of the strongest members of any team. His positive outlook never fails to motivate his colleagues and produce outstanding results and strong partnerships. 


What is your view on how the role of promotions and coupons evolved in marketing over the last five years?

In an age of marketing and retail uncertainty, digital and partner marketing is one of the few industries that can be agile and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Couponing continued to incrementally grow in an industry that is heavily cashback focused. In addition, browser extensions really took off, as their core is all about cutting down and simplifying the user journey while still providing the users the best deals available. 

As the industry is constantly changing and improving, it continues to remain an adaptation of the same industry we all know and love. Furthermore, with Uniqodo strengthening its foothold in the last few years since its inception, its solution has really bolstered newer players coming into the market, allowing them to offer unique codes to users, ensuring there’s no leakage anywhere else. On an industry-wide level, this has helped brands feel a lot safer when creating a strategy around discounting, ensuring the right site is displaying the right code, to the right user.


What are the biggest challenges that you think those in the industry (yourself included) face today?

As an industry that constantly must push to prove itself, we now have access to a lot more and better analytics and data than we did five years ago. Working to ensure brands and partners stay educated on the market and how voucher codes fit within it is now easier than what it once was. 

It continues to be a challenge, nonetheless. The ability to be innovative and display outside-the-box thinking to brands that are constantly looking for new ways of working can be tricky, but fun. With the constant shift of retail going deeper into the digital space, those of us in the industry need to ensure we can continue to create a sense of security for them while still proving our own worth, or in the industry’s own words: proving our incrementality.


What are your thoughts on how promotional marketing will change over the next five years? And what trends do you expect to see over time? 

Brands will continue to move over to SaaS platforms over the next few years. It’s the nature of this industry to always come up with a solution to a problem that may arise, and this is exactly that. The SaaS platforms are working hand-in-hand with the rise of affiliate marketing agencies and their knowledge and expertise to provide a wealth of data to brands that they otherwise might have difficulties accessing, analysing, or understanding. 

When it comes to the voucher industry specifically, this will continue to become even more automated and standardised. At the same time, fraud and cannibalisation will continue to decline with the help of solutions. An example of this is Uniqodo, which increases the user-to-voucher site trust, and in turn to voucher publisher trust exponentially. 

With brands having improved access to tapping into their data, strategy behind vouchers will also continue to evolve. Site-wide codes are likely to decrease, whereas more targeted discounts will be the name of the game. This could involve focusing on higher margins and minimum spends, more time constrictions, product focuses, or driving more people in-store, to name a few examples.


The take-away

The offerings that technology providers are bringing to the table are undoubtedly revolutionising promotional marketing and will continue to do so in the future. Their technologies have made invaluable integration and partner marketing possible, ultimately improving the delivery of rewards to customers. But, more importantly, they’ve actually proved that there’s a huge value to brands using discount codes. 

The promotional marketing industry will continue to grow and evolve in the future with the ever changing demands of consumers. These industry leaders have warned that another rise in online shopping will create a huge amount of data. Don’t forget that this requires in-app tracking technology to retain control over it and offer security to your customers now and in the future.

But perhaps the biggest mistake to avoid is playing it safe. It’s tempting to stick with what you know, but thinking outside the box and staying up to date with new and contemporary ways to provide rewards will be what sets you apart from the rest. It will also help you fulfil your customers’ desires (like sustainable shopping options and card linking) and allow you to have fun along the way!


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