Savings.com is a leading online source for savings, personalized deals, and the most knowledgeable money-savings experts online through its DealPro community. Valpak offers localized print and digital savings fueled by a network of franchisees in communities across North America. Through this acquisition, Cox Target Media substantially expands its business across traditional, digital, social, and mobile platforms to solve unmet marketing industry needs.
“Cox Target Media and Savings.com were both looking for ways to expand value to businesses and consumers, and realized that when combined, our resources and offerings in print, online, and mobile would be powerful and unlike anything else available to marketers,” said Michael Vivio, president of Valpak and Cox Target Media. “This acquisition brings together national and local savings content, community expertise, and multi-channel marketing capabilities to provide the best of all worlds for marketers and consumers.”
Before joining Valpak and Cox Target Media, Michael was the publisher at Austin American-Statesman and CEO of the Statesman Co. As publisher, he was responsible for all business and editorial operations at the Statesman and its affiliated publications, including the Statesman.com, which has the highest local reach of any newspaper website in the U.S..
Before joining the Austin American-Statesman, Michael was publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald. He began his career as a newspaper carrier for the Dayton Daily News in 1978 and held advertising positions at the Marion Star (Ohio) and Suburban News Publications. Michael also owned an independent marketing firm in Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What are some things you liked about Savings.com that led to your acquisition of the online savings site?
Michael Vivio (MV): There are a number of things that we liked about Savings.com. It is one of the largest online savings sites, with more than 5 million visitors monthly seeking coupon codes and online offers from national and online retailers. Since it launched in 2007, Savings.com has saved consumers more than $600 million. Savings.com brings a powerful digital platform, and relationships with leading online and national retailers and brands, but it also brings a community of DealPros who help drive consumer awareness around online savings content via social engagement.
We have also been working with Savings.com as a partner since last fall, so we knew they would fit culturally with us.
This acquisition enables both Savings.com and Valpak to provide better products with greater reach to our customers, and ultimately better experiences and savings for consumers.
FC: Is there a difference between the typical user and advertiser of Valpak and Savings.com?
MV: Traditionally, Valpak has focused on offering local deals to consumers through its Blue Envelope and Valpak.com. Savings.com has worked with national retailers to provide deals to its online community. Both companies will continue to thrive in their respective playing fields, but advertisers will now be able to leverage both.
FC: How do you see Valpak and Savings.com working together to provide additional value to users and advertisers?
MV: Working together, Valpak and Savings.com will offer national merchants the next generation of pay-for-performance advertising that lets marketers drive sales with lower upfront costs than they typically encounter with traditional promotional options. Essentially, Cox Target Media has created a completely new business model where large-scale advertisers have lower upfront costs and pay based on consumer purchases. We can provide geo-targeted messages and hyper-local customization, social engagement campaigns, as well as national reach.
FC: What does the acquisition of Savings.com mean for franchisees of Valpak? Do they stand to benefit from the transaction?
MV: Yes, Valpak franchisees will benefit from this transaction. Valpak has roughly 170 franchisees that provide Valpak’s direct marketing products to 54,000 businesses in over 100 markets. Valpak franchisees will continue to work with local and regional merchants to engage consumers but this acquisition enables Valpak consumers to also access national retailers, such as Macy’s, Kohls, and others national brands, online and in the Valpak envelope.
FC: What can you tell us about Savings.com’s DealPros, and how do you plan to leverage this resource going forward?
MV: The DealPro program is a knowledgeable community of bloggers that works together to help people save money. DealPros are some of the most influential experts and authors on the web and social media, selected to be a part of the Savings.com community based on the quality of their content. DealPros supply and syndicate content to Savings.com that consists of deals, blog posts, and contributed media articles. This national network has helped Savings.com create a culture that is truly about helping consumers make every dollar count. The Savings.com DealPros will now be able to supply and syndicate content to Valpak.com as well.
FC: What are your thoughts on popular daily deal sites like Groupon? What kind of impact has this new local marketing channel had on your business?
MV: Sites like Groupon have taught consumers to pay for coupons, so we have a lot to thank them for. Our e-commerce product is a different model, which we believe has unique benefits for the consumer AND the merchant.
FC: What are your plans with respect to mobile advertising?
MV: Valpak currently has Smartphone apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Savings.com will soon offer a smartphone app for Android devices. The new relationship will enable all of the Savings.com and Valpak.com content to flow across platforms, providing consumers a richer, more rewarding experience on both apps, and advertisers the opportunity to reach consumers wherever they are looking for deals.
FC: What are some common characteristics of your top performing franchises?
MV: Our top franchisees are deeply entrenched in their communities. The sales people know the local business owners, the natural barriers and boundaries for consumer traffic patterns, and they live in the markets they serve so they are deeply invested in the success of the product and the consumer experience. After all, advertisers aren’t just clients, they are neighbors and friends.
FC: What are your growth targets for Valpak in 2012, and beyond?
MV: Cox Target Media and Valpak changed cooperative direct mail over the past 44 years, and now Cox Target Media is changing the sensible shopping landscape again with this acquisition. We are always looking for new ways to be as relevant to consumers as possible, and ultimately help them make the most of the dollars in their wallet. We will continue to look for new opportunities that allow us to do that.