WWIF #9: Deals Done Right?

Given that Groupon is quite the rage among some folks right now, I wonder what potential the business model might have for associations, particularly as a possible sponsor benefit.  Groupon essentially offers deals or discounts from businesses only if a minimum participation threshold is met.  Here's how Groupon describes the way it works:
  1. Each day we feature something cool to do at an unbeatable price.
  2. You only get it if enough people join that day… so invite your friends!
  3. Check back the next day for another awesome Groupon!
What if associations created an equivalent of Groupon for their members, either as an exclusive sponsor benefit or a standard benefit for companies becoming a business partner/associate member?  While a daily discount may not be possible depending on your number of business partners or sponsors, perhaps a weekly special offering?  Or maybe a daily offering occurs in the weeks preceding or following the big event(s) for which you've recruited sponsors.
  • Members could opt-in to receive the special offers, so that's a nice benefit for businesses who don't want to be spamming an association's members with unsolicited advertisements. 
  • The limited time nature of the offerings could create a bit of buzz; i.e., people Tweeting and talking about that great offer from ABC this week.
  • Limiting the deal/discount to a time only when sufficient member participation is met is a low-risk way for business partners to test your market.
  • It could appeal to business partners that might not sell their products or services the same way the majority of your associate members do, opening up a new value pipeline for them.
You can learn more about the benefits Groupon believes it offers to businesses here.

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