Association News: Coupon Gumbo In New Orleans, Industry Coupon Conference Highlights

Coupon Gumbo in New Orleans:


The Association of Coupon Professionals Celebrates
13th Annual Industry Coupon Conference


The Scene

In our industry, managing change is like making a delicious gumbo, ensuring each ingredient complements the next, which is why New Orleans provided the perfect backdrop for coupon experts to share insights and explore industry trends. Coupons are entering a pivotal moment in time as demographics shift and preferences change. The professionals who gathered in the “Big Easy” set out to explore the leading influences in today’s marketplace through content, conversation, and activation.

The Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP) celebrated its 13th Annual Industry Coupon Conference in 2018, “Coupon Gumbo”. The event marked another successful annual gathering of established industry thought leaders and many first-time attendees.

The Annual Industry Coupon Conference brings together national and international representatives from retailers, manufacturers, coupon proces­sors and solu­tion providers that sup­port man­u­fac­turers or retailers. As the only national conference dedicated exclusively to the overall coupon industry in 2018, it highlighted throughout its programs the current industry landscape and future trends as well as changing consumer shopping habits and the impact of emerging technology.

Speaking of technology, to complement its ongoing promotional and informational strategies, this year ACP again facilitated an exciting, live Twitter feed specifically for the conference.  Using the hashtag #ACPGumbo, attendees shared everything from expertise and insight, engaging questions for presenters, to collegial and fun comments about their experience at the conference. This made for complete conference communication on a variety of platforms to the benefit of those in attendance.

“Evolving shopper behavior, emerging ecommerce, new technologies and innovation create continuous disruption” said conference chair Donna Schelby of Valassis. “Conference attendees gain exposure to new possibilities and can then initiate fresh conversations propelling the coupon industry to embrace and move with the ongoing change.”


The Industry Experts

 The conference kicked off with a series of optional educational workshops. These workshops reviewed many aspects of the couponing industry in an informative and engaging format. Topics included:

  • Coupon Basics
  • Coupon Vehicles, Distribution & Redemption Trends
  • Misredemption, Fraud Controls, Best Practices
  • Family Codes & GS1 DataBar
  • Future Innovation and Initiatives

In the main conference session, the keynote presenter, Tom Furphy of Consumer Equity Partners, and former VP Consumables at AmazonFresh, shared his unique perspective – traditional retail, disruptor ecommerce and equity investing – to take a look at current industry trends, helped the audience develop a perspective on where things could head, and assess the implications on marketing and couponing.

Attendees discovered the latest trending issues impacting the industry including: ecommerce, Omnichannel, the shopper path to purchase, universal digital coupon updates, as well as best practices to maximize efficiency and effectiveness while minimizing risk, and consumer insight.

Highlights included:

  • John Ross, President & CEO IGA Inc, the co-author of the Google Book ZMOT: Zero Moment of Truth, and author of the recently published Fire In the Zoo. He is a champion of data-driven decision-making, shopper-focused marketing and active listening. He discussed shopper influence, consumer confidence, converting customers, and the innovation driving results happening in independent grocers.
  • Attendees heard firsthand during a live consumer panel how consumers feel about coupons, the process, and the brands and stores they like.
  • Peapod provided an overview of the industry, promotion practices and future projections with the activation of shopper marketing in the new e-grocery world.
  • Valassis shared insight on how shoppers interact with technology, and what motivates them to purchase.
  • Steve Grosklaus, Leo Burnett, shared insights on audience segmentation, reengaging lapsed users, and shifting consumers to loyalty.
  • Retailer & Manufacturer Panel included Walmart, Target, Proctor & Gamble and others.
  • A progress update for Universal Digital Coupons.
  • Consumer trends and insights from Inmar and Kantar.

The Valued Supporters

The conference was developed under the leadership of the Association of Coupon Professionals in collaboration with the Joint Industry Coupon Committee, Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, GS1 US, and the Coupon Information Center.

Sponsors included: Gold: Valassis; Silver: Premier Packaging, Pinpoint Data, Redemption Processing Representatives, Sonoco Promo Peel, Arrowhead, Inmar, YouTech, SMS, Popwallet; Bronze: PrintFlex Graphics; Breakfast: Cunningham Electronics Corporation; Break: Mandlik & Rhodes, Atlantic Coupon Service.

The Award Winners

As is conference tradition, a spotlight award for Lifetime Achievement was presented.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award granted by the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP). The award is designed to recognize an industry professional who has succeeded within his or her own organization and spurred change and growth within the coupon promotion industry.

The award recipients are recognized as an exceptional leader who has advanced the welfare of his or her company, industry and profession, has contributed to the success of initiatives, developments, applications and/or practices that support coupons as viable marketing tool; be recognized for his or her ethical standards and individual integrity.

Michael Kushnerick of Colgate-Palmolive was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mike has been working with Coupon Promotions for more than 30 years.  There isn’t a major issue that has come up over the years that he hasn’t had a significant impact in investigating, strategizing or problem solving.

Susan Jones, Inmar and Laura Czekala, NCH Marketing Services received the Industry Impact Award.

The award is presented to individual(s) who display outstanding achievement within an annual period, the award was designed to honor those who participate and achieve specific goals. ACP’s Awards Committee selects the recipients of this award each year based on the above criteria.

Susan is a respected industry expert, and presenter contributing to the efficiency and effectiveness of coupon in initiatives with of organizations such as the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC), and the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP). She serves on the JICC Digital sub-group, and the ACP Digital Task Force, and Coupon Best Practices Committee.

Laura is a respected industry expert, contributing to the efficiency coupon in initiatives with of organizations such as the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC), and the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP). She serves on the JICC Digital sub-group, which is working in Universal Digital Coupon Standards  and the ACP Digital Task Force, and Coupon Best Practices Committee.

The Leadership

The annual ACP elections were held.  The overall board of directors currently consists of fifteen retailers, manufacturers and solution providers who work with the Executive Director to keep ACP proactive, visible and vital in the coupon industry. The following companies and individuals were elected to two-year terms:

  • Pam Samaniego, Catalina Marketing
  • Matthew Cheung, Flipp
  • Darcy Douglas, Kantar Media
  • Mike Sonsthagen, Promotion Eyes
  • Ron Fischer, RPR
  • Lisa Haley, Wakefern

In executive committee elections, Pam Samaniego, Catalina was elected Treasurer and

Mike Sonsthagen, Promotion Eyes was elected secretary. These are both two-year terms.

The Future

For 2019, we will go from the Big Easy to the Sunshine State, where we will convene in beautiful Orlando, Florida, April 30-May 2 at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista. As always, the Conference will attract the leaders of the industry to discuss trends, innovations and best practices in coupons.





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