An Examination of Heavy Coupon Use, Opinion Leadership, and Self-Confidence: An Abstract
The primary objective of this study is to profile the heavy coupon user based on both social influence (i.e., opinion leadership) and individual difference (i.e., consumer self-confidence) variables. If heavy coupon users also influence the coupon use of other consumers, their importance may be magnified for marketers seeking to increase participation in their coupon promotional efforts. Meanwhile, if heavy coupon users also influence other consumers in a more general sense, their importance is magnified further. “Americans generally are twice as likely to cite word of mouth as the best source of ideas and information as they are to cite advertising” (Keller & Berry, 2003, p. 5).
Given that the study sought to get opinions and attitudes of avid coupon users, a convenience sample (n = 308) consisting of members of a social couponing website (www.afullcup.com) was used. The mean differences for low-, medium-, and high-saving couponers were significantly in the predicted directions for both generalized and price opinion leadership, supporting hypotheses 1 and 2. In addition, the means of self-confidence for low- and medium-saving couponers were both significantly lower than those of high-saving couponers. However, the self-confidence means difference between low- and medium-saving couponers, though in the predicted direction, was not significant. Hence, with two of the three mean differences having been found significant, there was partial support for hypothesis 3.
In total, the results of this study found, as predicted, that self-perceptions of both price and generalized opinion leadership and self-confidence increase in concert with coupon savings. The finding that heavy coupon users tend to see themselves as generalized opinion leaders is an important one. It underscores that heavy couponers feel that their influence online and otherwise extend beyond the realm of just price information and couponing. This is a finding that can be leveraged by marketers to focus on heavy coupon users as opinion leaders for both coupons and price-related influence, as well as general product information such as new product launches.
The results of this study hold practical implications for marketers. Particularly relevant in the Internet age, word of mouth is playing a much greater role in promotion of goods and services, as well as the dissemination of information related to such goods and services. As marketers are better able to locate and target consumers who are most likely to use and appreciate the use of coupons, they will also be able to simultaneously target opinion leaders who are willing to spread the word of new products and other vital information.