The headline and lead in the Sunday NYT business section naturally caught my eye.
The e-mail marketer hopes that its staff of 400 writers and editors will keep it one step ahead of its discounting competitors on the Web.
I’d love it if catchy copywriting could carry the day for coupon web sites. But I don’t believe it will work, and I don’t honestly believe it is the core of Groupon’s competitive differentiation strategy.
With sales promotions, it’s all about the offer, and being clear about the offer. Clever copywriting may have helped Groupon create the category, but it won’t be enough to keep them on top.
Compare Groupon’s headline today
71% off Seattle Drum School
With Social Living’s (the competitor from Amazon)
Chef Shop , 2.5 Hour Cooking Class, $33
Both headlines are basic, and Social Living’s offer is actually clearer. Whether I even bother to click depends partly on my interest in drums vs. cooking, and partly how much time I have to screw around that today.
Groupon’s email teaser copy is a little more clever, but I don’t even know what the specific offer is until the second sentence.
Playing a musical instrument is a skill that will serve you throughout your entire life, like safe cracking, horse whispering, and puppy juggling. Add to your resume with today’s Groupon: for $40, you get four 30-minute private music lessons on…
Social Living’s attempt at clever is awkward but it gets the point across.
Hey, good lookin’. Whatcha got cookin’? How’s about cookin’ a little somethin’ up with us when you get this brand-new recipe for great savings out of the frying pan and into the oven? Heat things up with a 2.5-hour cooking class from ChefShop and you’ll be dazzling your dinner guests…
The NYT article hints that Groupon knows it needs a more robust idea going forward, and this idea is intriguing
The hope … is that its users will eventually perceive it as an impartial guide to a city or a neighborhood, somewhat in the manner of the local paper’s weekend section.