Spotlighting Coupons in the Sunshine State:

The Association of Coupon Professionals Celebrates Success With “The Magical World of Coupons, Imagine: Innovation, Insight, Interaction”Annual Industry Coupon Conference


The Scene

From Mickey to Minnie, fairytales to fireworks, the Magic Kingdom to Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista just doesn’t get any more magical- except maybe when some of the most expert coupon professionals from all over the world meet to share their insight, experience and collegiality.  The coupon industry faces many unique opportunities and challenges and the professionals who just gathered truly make the absolute best in couponing look like “magic”.

The Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP) recently presented its annual Industry Coupon Conference for 2014, “The Magical World of Coupons, Imagine: Innovation, Insight, Interaction”.  The event marked another successful annual gathering of 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 coupons in 2014, it highlighted throughout its programs the current industry landscape and future trends as well as changing consumer shopping habits and the impact of social networks.

Speaking of social networks, to complement its ongoing promotional and informational strategies, this year ACP spearheaded an exciting, live Twitter feed specifically for the conference.  With a hot hashtag, #ACP2014Magic!, the conversation was energetic, with attendees sharing everything from expertise and insight, engaging questions for presenters, to collegial and fun comments about their enjoyment of the conference.  This made for complete conference communication on a variety of platforms to the benefit on those in attendance.

“This year featured longtime industry leaders and many new faces in the coupon world, all discussing the relevant opportunities and challenges,” said ACP Executive Director John Morgan.  “The energy and expertise was remarkable and clearly demonstrated the strength and viability of coupons.”




The Industry Experts


To kick off the week, The Association of Coupon Professionals in support of its mission to provide an industry forum that fosters expertise, education, and leadership that enriches the development, distribution, and redemption of coupons, ensuring they remain a viable sales and marketing tool, provided the Coupon 101/102 education workshop.  The workshop reviews all aspects of the couponing industry in an informative and interactive format designed for individuals new to couponing, or those who need an update and refresher course.  Presenters are industry experts and pertinent topics included:

  • Industry Overview
  • Effective Coupon Strategies
  • Coupon Distribution Types
  • Coupon Design
  • The Redemption Cycle
  • Family Code Management & GS1 Databar
  • Coupon Misredemption & Managing Risk


In the main conference session, as the keynote presenter, Kevin Coupe of MorningNewsBeat, shared his expertise in a presentation dubbed “The Future is Here, Now What?” where he utilized compelling and real-life examples rooted in consumer behavior, technological change and cultural legacies to create a presentation that got attendees thinking strategically rather than tactically and to embrace rather than reject change.

The ever-changing coupon industry is evolving with new technologies, and shifting consumer behavior in an unpredictable economy.  There was much to see, hear, and learn at the Industry Coupon Conference.  Highlights included:

  • “Understanding the Male Shopper:  How They Plan, Shop, Buy and Share.” Therese Mulvey, Vice President, Marketing Intelligence, Valassis shared insights on male shoppers, their growth, attributes and what influences them.
  • David Diamond, President, David Diamond Associates, an industry consultant with extensive experience in retail, packaged goods and coupons discussed “Emerging Technologies” and its impact on targeting, personalization and the ability to analyze and react to consumer response that is changing coupon promotions… and how it can be executed with traditional paper, internet printables and digital vehicles.


  • Mark Heckman, a consultant with expertise in digital technology and content, customer loyalty programs and retail marketing, was back again to moderate a Digital Coupon Panel with digital coupon leadersthat explored the successes, opportunities and challenges of this emerging coupon vehicle.


  • Health and wellness initiatives utilizing healthcare providers distributing targeted coupons are emerging. In a case study format participants learned how to pair content and incentives to encourage healthier choices that result in impressive new user acquisition and repeat purchases while traversing the rules and regulations unique to this new distribution vehicle.


  • Back again was the afternoon of track sessions where attendees chose from presentations tailored to their specific interests including: Digital Coupons, Redemption trends, Counterfeit Coupons, and Coupon Guidelines updates.


The Valued Supporters

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

The Conference Planning Task Force was led by co-chairs Stanley Wadford, Winn Dixie and Earl Ellsworth, Universal Marketing.

The Platinum Sponsor: YOU Technology.  YOU Technology is a leading digital coupon solutions provider The company’s scalable digital promotion platform revolutionizes the way retailers and brands impact consumer purchasing decisions online, in-store, and on the go. Based in Silicon Valley, YOU Technology’s clients include five of the largest U.S. retailers and nine out of the top ten CPG advertisers.

Sponsors included: Gold: CATALINA, RevTrax; Silver: Coupons for Education, Coupons Inc., Inmar, Pinpoint Data, Document Security Systems, WS Packaging Group; Bronze: Universal Marketing, Zavers by Google; Events: Mandlik and Rhodes, Brand Technologies.


The Collegial Recognition

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

This recognition, formerly the William B. Cargill Award, is the most prestigious award given by the ACP. This 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.

This year, Jane Michels of Coupons Inc. was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jane’s career has included 17 years of market research experience – five at AC Nielsen and 12 at IRI. She has been a leader in the coupon industry since 1991, when she created the Family Scan database at IRI. Today, she is the General Manager of Family Code Services and Retail Relations with, Inc., and maintains the only coupon family code database in the country for retailers.  She has been instrumental in driving the growth of Save-to-Card coupon offers since their inception, and she and her team made the explosive growth of these offers possible in 2010 and to the current day.  Jane is also a United States patent holder for designing the intelligent selection capabilities in her CouponFit Analyzer product, which allows manufacturers to efficiently and optimally manage their family code and item inventories.

Jane has been a member of the ACP since 1991. She has chaired several committees including the Sunrise 2005 Task Force. She is currently Co-Chair of the DataBar Best Practices committee and has been a member of several committees including Internet Coupons, Education, Hard to Handle, and Coupon Guidelines. She is exceptionally well-versed in the history of couponing, and with, In., has become a leader in driving the growth and success of print-at-home and digital coupons.



The Leadership

The annual ACP elections were held.  The overall board of directors generally consists of 14-19 members (currently at 15) who work along with the Executive Director to keep ACP proactive, visible and vital in the coupon industry.

Among executive committee members, Pam Samaniego of Catalina was elected Secretary to a two-year term and Stanley Wadford of Winn Dixie was elected Treasurer to a two-year term.

In addition to the executive committee, others elected to the board of directors include: ICSB, LP, Naomi Ali; Kantar Media, Andy Rumpelt; Promotions Eyes, Mike Sonsthagen; Redemption Processing Reps, Ron Fischer; Unilever, Annette Snyder; and Wakefern, Mark Verderame.


The Future

For next year, we will go from the Magic Kingdom to the Alamo, where we will convene in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, April 14-16, 2015.  As always, the Conference will attract the leaders of the industry to discuss trends, innovations and best practices in coupons.

We look forward to seeing you for more sunshine.

Comments are closed.