This is the question which every merchant who gets into affiliate marketing has to answer at some point. I have seen merchants perceive coupons and promos as variables that make one look “like a discount shop”, bringing the brand value down and hurting the image of the company. I disagree with this position.
Back in 1975 when Hugh Davidson — the famous British marketing expert (graduate of Cambridge, my alma mater, by the way), and the bestselling author of “Offensive Marketing” and “Even More Offensive Marketing” — wrote:
In general the purpose of advertising is to improve attitudes towards a brand, while the object of promotion is to translate favourable attitudes into actual purchase. Advertising cannot close a sale because its impact is too far from the point of purchase, but promotion can and does.
Paraphrasing Davidson, affiliate marketers can do a wonderful job preselling the end-user (provided your brand/product/service is competitive and there is demand for it), but a promotion can be that ultimate motivator which leads the end-user to the point of purchase, and drives the conversion that every party desires. While some may believe that coupons “will destroy affiliate marketing”, in reality, a sound combination of coupons/promos with other marketing methods helps affiliates put together aggressive and successful marketing campaigns for the merchants they promote.