Coupons to Power Dial Web Promotions

Coupons, Inc. will promote The Dial Corporation’s products, through an exclusive agreement between the firms.

Through the one-year agreement, Belmont, Calif.-based Coupons — which operates Coupons.com — will provide the systems to power the printing of coupons at Dial’s Web site, which are redeemable at retail locations.

Coupons, Inc.’s technology enables Web surfers to print coupons at home. The coupons include both standard barcodes and proprietary 2-dimensional bar codes. Details of how Dial plans to implement the technology was not disclosed, although Ann Toca, director of advertising and consumer promotion at Dial, said the arrangement would involve targeted marketing and data collection.

“Through [the agreement] we are gaining flexibility and effectiveness in our direct marketing relationship efforts with our consumers,” she said.

The deal is a significant coup for Coupons, which is partly owned by offline couponing giant Valassis . Dial is one of the country’s largest consumer packaged goods manufacturer, with brands including Purex detergent, Renuzit air fresheners, Armour Star canned meats and its namesake soap.

The win comes as good news amid continued hardship in the market for online couponing ventures.

Despite a client roster that included Frito-Lay and Hershey Foods , rival outfit Save.com, in which Valassis also owned a stake, shut down last year after its backer said it would no longer support the money-losing firm.

Valassis said the decision had been prompted by an effort to lessen its exposure to the underperforming market for online coupons, which was suffering because advertisers and investors were leery about the business.

At the same time, other Internet ventures including CoolSavings.com and Catalina Marketing’s Web ventures have been troubled. CoolSavings disclosed in July that it has about $2.2 million remaining in the bank, after having posted a second-quarter loss of $1.9 million, and revealing that it has liabilities totaling about $20 million.

Also in July, Catalina said its interactive unit, which operates online-offline coupon service ValuPage.com, saw quarterly revenue 84 percent lower than a year earlier.

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