Students in the Internet Advertising class at Minnesota School of Business-Blaine had a unique opportunity to Skype with Gigi Swanson, digital alliances and partnerships strategist with Valpak. Because Valpak is headquartered out of Florida, the meeting took place virtually.
Valpak is owned by Cox Target Media, a leading digital and direct marketing company. You may be familiar with the company’s blue envelopes that are filled with coupons and mailed out to consumers 12 times per year. Valpak distributes coupons for merchants throughout the United States and Canada. Valpak also offers digital coupons at www.valpak.com, an online site for printable coupons and coupon codes.
Richard Grossman, chair of the internet marketing program at Globe University and Minnesota School of Business, set up the meeting with Swanson as an opportunity for students to learn from someone in the industry.
“Gigi Swanson is a great example of someone who really knows internet marketing and is very fluent in its language, so I knew she would provide the students with a unique insider’s perspective on some of the latest trends in the industry,” Grossman explained.
Swanson spoke about Valpak’s use of QR codes to engage consumers, and the challenge in tracking coupon redemptions to determine effectiveness of campaigns. She also discussed the evolution of mobile and staying on top of the technology curve to stay competitive in reaching consumers.
“Change takes time,” Swanson noted. “We need to look ahead in terms of innovation and the next big thing. We try to be deliberate in looking at models to implement 3-5 years from now.” She added that the team started piloting QR codes, which are now being utilized, more than four years ago.
A new partner of Valpak, Roximity is a new app that can help your car find deals as you drive. It syncs your smart phone to your dashboard system to track your location and find the best deals. It’s all voice controlled, and responds to voice commands. Some of the newer models of Ford and Lincoln vehicles currently have the Sync AppLink that can access this app.
Swanson explained that while keeping up with change is important, Valpak has been successful in keeping both their traditional and new approach. Using both print and digital coupons has resulted in higher client retention rate.
The students had the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the Skype session, and were excited about all they had learned. “It was good to hear from someone in the industry to learn about the direction internet marketing is going,” said Mike Manderschied, business management student.