Thursday, July 28, 2011

Student Discounts Part II

by Meghann on July 28, 2011

But, first – food! ๐Ÿ™‚




Speed workout with the Tampa Tri Team. Hurt. So. Good!



Chicken Apple Sausage in a Sweet Potato ‘Bun’ ๐Ÿ˜‰


And the debate continues…

Whoa! You guys have a lot to say regarding the Student Discount Debate! Keep the comments coming!

I did want to interject a couple of points that didn’t hit me until I was driving home earlier this evening. You see, I come from a marketing background where the goal is to secure customers (and repeat customers) by any means necessary. Generally the quickest and easiest way to do this is by offering a discount.

A large part of my former position was planning and executing the company’s annual user group. Every year we would offer an ‘early bird’ registration discount to anyone who registered for the event XX amount of days before the event. After that, the event would be full price. What most people didn’t know was that we only budgeted for people purchasing tickets at the early bird discount rate. We would draw people in who missed the deadline by offering them the discount anyways. They felt special and technically we wouldn’t lose that money because we had budgeted for that anyways.

In my new position – as a social media consultant – I see the same thing happening with other events I help with. One group would distribute discount codes like crazy because people love discounts. If that code saved them $5 then they were 65% more likely to register then without the code. The code was primarily for people who ‘liked’ the Facebook page, but people used the code without ‘liking’ first all the time. As long as they were a paying registrant (extra $5 or not), my client was happy and wouldn’t turn them away.

When I set up one local business on Facebook I created a Facebook deal where a customer’s first check-in would guarantee a free donut with any coffee purchase. When the owner saw this his exact words were “Why only their first visit? If that check-in brings people in, then they can check-in as many times as they want and I’ll give them a donut each time.” He saw the business potential there and sunk his teeth into it.

Companies offer student discounts because they’re trying to draw students into their business. If they come in once – enjoy the discount- and then spread the word to their friends then the business has more than made their money back. If one local movie theater around here offers a discount, while the other one doesn’t, I’m 100 times more likely to go to the one with the discount. Yes, the theater is losing a dollar, but they’re gaining my business where they probably wouldn’t have it in the first place (considering the ‘cheaper’ theater is an extra mile out of my way).

I could go on and on here, especially with how many times people google ‘XX race discount code’ or ‘Victoria Secret Online Discount Code’ (how many of you have used the $10 July birthday month code when your birthday is in February?) Or my old gym that encouraged me to save $$ using my student id because they wanted me to join and if that got me to join then they were happy to do it.

My point is – it’s all relative.

I’m not saying it’s morally or ethically right (because it’s not!), but I wanted to take the marketing stand on why companies offer discounts in the first place. They want the business – plain and simple.

Again, I want to repeat I’m NOT taking sides. The point of my first post was to open a debate. I could go either way and I LOVED how there were so many passionate people vouching for each side. Seriously, check the comments out and see for yourself!

On a closing note, I asked one of my clients about the student discount debate – his response? “If they come in the door because I have the discount code and keep coming back because of it, then they can be a 20-something playing the role of a student and I’ll greet them with a smile every time.” ๐Ÿ™‚

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