All over the place, there's a bunch of little good deals.
Mostly I ignored these for years - and I think it's smart to not go chasing little things at the expense of bigger things. If you've got some creative or business skills, there's almost certainly some better use of your time than cutting coupons.
Starting about a year ago, though, I became a much more serious student of marketing. I'd paid plenty of attention to marketing in the past, but 'round about a year ago, I started systematically paying attention to it.
Part of that was just interacting more with the world - including actually checking out the numbers on all sorts of offers, things I'd have normally ignored.
Some of them are pretty bad. A loyalty card where you buy-10-get-1-free isn't a very good deal. It's basically just a 10% discount, but worse because you might not get the discount, could forget or lose the card, means you've got to carry more junk in your wallet or bag, and so on. It can be an okay thing, maybe, if it doesn't change or inconvenience your spending habits - but that's why they create the things, so you do go to the inconvenience of going to their place more often and spending more there.
Sometimes though, deals are fantastic. A number of companies that know that the lifetime value of a customer is big for them will offer quite significant loss leaders to get you in there, and that's real. Sometimes you'll see a credit card that'll give you a $750 bonus for signing up if you've got great credit. (That's valuing their points at about one cent each, which is straightforward if 10,000 points = $100 statement credit and they're offering 75,000 for signing up)
Also, it's often possible to get an expensive high margin item for free regularly. I tend to work in cafes a lot and order a lot of coffee, so my annual coffee cost is kind of insane. But that number is drilled down a lot when there's something like this -
Pacific Coffee in Hong Kong has a member's card where you put like 200 HKD on it to start ($25 USD) on it to start, and then there's some promo each month. When I was in Hong Kong last, it was buy one drink, get one free. Okay cool, I usually get 2+ coffees and sometimes 4 when I work a lot of hours in a cafe, so that shaved a lot of money off my coffee bill. Starbucks has offered similar things in the past the in the USA.
The majority of little offers are junk and they're definitely not worth chasing around if you've got other skills. But if you're generally curious about retention and loyalty programs and customer acquisition in business anyways, it's both fascinating and about 1 time out of 10 you ask, what they're offering could be good.
Money doesn't care where it came from - if your annual coffee bill goes from $1200 to $600 for a few minutes of buying a Pacific Coffee card, then that's $600 more in your wallet at the end of the year for a few minutes of work. Not worth chasing after regularly, but useful if you're standing in line anyways to look at the brochures.
I have a background in marketing and I agree with you - most of the deals are pretty lousy, and frankly speaking unimaginative.
Great membership deals strengthen the customer relationship and make customers spend more money. In this case you don't probably buy more coffee during your stay in Hong Kong in general but you've become the regular at the Pacific Coffee and they'll get a bigger share of your coffee cup.
I wonder what they could sell you on the side, maybe have a vending machine for downloading audio books. :)
Thanks a lot for the info. As an alternative to coffee, I use yerba mate (it's very similar to green tea).
Just got a comment on "Having Your Own Ethics is Lonely" by a reader. He asked one of the hardest questions about becoming successful - what happens when you're improving when your friends aren't?
I found this blog because I'm looking for advice. I've realized four years ago that I was unhappy with myself. I lived a poor, and dead end life. So I decided to look closely at my lifestyle and eliminate some bad habits and replace them with good ones. I also got a second job to make more money, and lived in relative poverty by choice. And it worked! I'm healthy financially and I've gotten a chance to learn anything I've wanted to know. I'm strong and smarter than I used to be. I think I know what God is, and everyday I work to be better than the day before. But, I can't connect with my old friends because they do all the things I dont want to be a part of any more, because they dont care to do well for themselves as much. In a way, to put it bluntly, they're not usefull to me. I'd rather make friends with people I truely admire and respect. I dont feel like I can tell them that I basically think they're bad people. They've done nothing to harm me personally, but I want nothing to do with them. What do you think?
Indeed, that's one of the hardest parts about becoming successful.
Most people don't like to change after they get established. If you improve quickly, it can upset and turn off old friends and cause breaks in friendship.
Perhaps the worst time is when you're still on a shaky ground with your old improvement. I remember one time, I was going through a super healthy kick. Lots of gym, weights, very clean and healthy diet. But with one of my buddies, we always ate junk food together when we got together. Pizza, chicken wings, burgers and fries, stuff like that.
We grow up being told what to do and what not to do and can't wait until we're adults and can do whatever we want. When we finally get there, there are new people like bosses, cool people on TV, and the government who try to tell us what to do again.
I don't mind getting into a little trouble here and there, so I tend to push the envelope a bit. However, even if you want to stay on the right side of the law, here are a few things that you probably THINK you have to do, but don't really.
Have any more to add? Put them in the comments and I'll add good ones here!