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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TwiloPR President Chris Heuwetter Interviewed by MediaBistro on Integration of Groupon into Communications Strategy

PR, Perfected: Should Your Client Be On Groupon?
What publicists should consider before putting a client on this daily deal site

By Jessica Howell – May 10, 2011

In March 2011, Illinois information technology consultancy Ajilitee did something that no one else had before. It offered select business-to-business services at a steep discount through Groupon, the website known for serving up daily deals hyper-locally to consumers across the world, at a price point that was higher than any previously featured on the site.

Up for grabs was a Business Intelligence Best Practices Audit or a Cloud Opportunity Map, each worth $25,000, but offered for only $12,500 during Ajilitee's three-week Groupon run. In the end, no one purchased the deal, but Ajilitee walked away with a significant amount of exposure in the marketplace, sparking stories in publications like Chicago Tribune, Fast Company, and BtoB Magazine, among others.

Ajilitee isn't alone. Daily-deal-model websites similar to Groupon are popping up at a staggering rate, and at the same time, the collective buying concept is quickly leveraging social media and location-based tools to grant consumers increasing bang for their buck.

The payoff for businesses, however, is often bittersweet. In a recent study by marketing expert Utpal Dholakia of Rice University, 42 percent of businesses that had previously run a Groupon promotion indicated that they would not run such a promotion again, highlighting the importance of a solid overall communications strategy.

A Supporting Role, Not the Lead
In West Palm Beach, Fla., Dr. Zoraida Navarro landed 189 new patients in one weekend by working with Groupon to sell spider vein treatments and laser hair removal. The promotion, which was picked up and covered by the local CBS broadcast affiliate, was so popular that Dr. Navarro ran it a second time, securing 450 additional patients.

Chris Heuwetter, president of TwiloPR, implemented Dr. Navarro's Groupon promotion as part of a much larger communications strategy. "We wanted to position Dr. Navarro's practice as tech-savvy and social media friendly, therefore getting on board with the new daily deal phenomena was part of our approach," he says.

"Other daily deal sites were part of the strategy; however, Groupon had a 90-day exclusivity agreement which we wanted to honor. Our loyalty paid off as we subsequently negotiated a merchant agreement which allows a new promotion every three months."

"We were over the moon with the success of that deal," he sums up. And customers were, too. Those who purchased the Groupon felt they were part of an exclusive, in-the-know club, which led to the strong demand to run a second promotion, Heuwetter explained.

Watch the TwiloPR/Navarro CBS broadcast piece that highlights our Groupon success below:

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