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PR, Perfected: Should Your Client Be On Groupon?

What publicists should consider before putting a client on this daily deal site

- 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.

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