From news segments on the Today Show, to featured articles in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, Groupon has become one of the hottest brands of 2010. For those of you who haven’t heard, here is the rundown of Groupon. They are a company that links social media with e-commerce. The name itself links the words “group” and “coupon,” and means literally that. Coupons are typically offered for 50% or more off of the regular price of items or services. Customers can access local coupons online, through their mobile device or through live feeds on Facebook or Twitter.

The most important characteristics that you should be aware of when considering if Groupon is right for your marketing needs are: locality, exposure, and urgency. Let’s start with locality. If you need to market a product locally, this may be the outlet for you. Currently, Groupon reaches 300 markets. The consumer only obtains information for their provided city. Marketers are utilizing Groupon for everything from local retail to services. Here’s the catch, and maybe the most important ingredient for a recipe for success… offers can only be obtained by meeting a minimum number of sales; this encourages customers to spread the word about the daily feature through various social networks. Also, coupons are premiered for a limited time, typically one or two days which provides incentive to take advantage of the offer quickly before it expires, a phenomenon called “Grouponomics.”

Groupon’s economic model has certainly proved to be successful during the post-recession holidays with its feature, “Grouponicus” (the link of Groupon with Christmas and Hannukah), the theme “filling your loved one’s gift buckets with experiences, not gift cards.” The holiday promotion allows coupons to be redeemed for an extended period of time to drive holiday sales. Hundreds of companies have leveraged sales through this promotion. The success of Groupon has not gone unnoticed. Google reportedly made a $5 billion dollar buyout offer to Groupon, the highest of several offers made. Currently Groupon has more than 19 million subscribers across 100+ cities within the US. 2011 will be an interesting year for Groupon as they continue to grow and expand.

Happy Holidays to all and our Best Wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year.