Without bright teeth to serve as exit lights, exhaled breath might lose its way and instead escape through the gills that are hidden somewhere on every human body.
Would you be sold on an at-home teeth whitening kit described this way? While this particular Groupon offer didn’t entice me to buy, it did charm me with its tongue-in-cheek nod to evolutionary theory.
And when I checked on results, the email did appear to drive sales for the merchant. Some 1,180 individuals sprang for the $38 local deal, if not seduced by the light-hearted copy, perhaps convinced by a discount of 61 percent to pull out a credit card.
Groupon filed to go public on Thursday, June 2. The company’s financial statement shows a heavy investment in marketing to build a subscriber base. Groupon spent $263.2 million on advertising and sales emails in 2010. That’s up from $4.5 million the previous year.
That spending helped the company attract 83.1 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter of 2011, a significant increase from the approximately 150,000 members it had at the end of 2009’s second quarter.
Let me entertain you
In his letter to investors, Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason described his vision for the brand: “We want the time people spend with Groupon to be memorable. Life is too short to be a boring company.”
In support of the quirky and un-boring, Groupon has added members of Chicago’s improv community to its customer service operation. Its marketers have also developed a formula for its direct email copy, which includes a signature catchy opener. Here are a few examples from my email archive. Although the particular offer may not be useful to me, I’m frequently intrigued enough to read the description.
- For a rock climbing gym: “In the beginning, man loved mountains, but after centuries of silent dismissal, man now climbs mountains to conquer his feelings of neglect.”
- For an online language-learning program: “Although visitors to foreign lands often communicate at a basic level by pantomiming, Americans inevitably give away their tourist status by gesturing with an accent. Pole vault over language barriers without resorting to charades with today’s Groupon.”
- For an in-home wine tasting: “Grape juice magically transforms into wine in the same way milk becomes cheese and a 1972 Dodge Dart becomes an even older 1972 Dodge Dart. Tipple the tasty transformation with today’s Groupon.”
- For an upholstery fabric offer: “Gold-etched upholstery was a fashion statement in 1970s suburbia, much like shag carpeting and smoking in bed. Redesign the past with today’s Groupon.”
Initial public offering
Groupon is not yet profitable. The CEO notes in his letter to prospective investors, “As with any business in a 30-month-old industry, the path to success will have twists and turns, moments of brilliance and other moments of sheer stupidity. Knowing that this will at times be a bumpy ride, we thank you for considering joining us.”
Is Groupon positioned for profitability? Have you purchased a Groupon or used one of its competitors in the daily deal space?