Andrew Mason’s First Earnings Call: “Stop Sending Me Pole-Dancing Deals”

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Groupon CEO Andrew Mason just finished his first post-IPO earnings calls with Wall Street analysts. (We covered it live and looked at the numbers). “We believe we are on the cusp of a sea change” in behavior, he noted. “We’re about to see what technology can do for local commerce.”

Listening to the call, I’d say his performance was mixed. He sounded a little nervous at first, but warmed up to the task just as he did during the IPO roadshow, joking with the analysts that one of the most requested features Groupon hears from customers to “stop sending me pole-dancing deals.” (Don’t worry, they’ve got personalization technology to help filter those out).

Mason warmed up, especially during the Q&A session. He seems most comfortable diving into the details of Groupon’s business, less so during the scripted portion of the earnings calls. After all, he is from Chicago, which is more of an improv town.

Mason did flub a few lines, at one point struggling to find the right word to describe a statistic. “The opposite of ‘only’” was what he was looking for. But he recovered and it was an interesting stat. Citing a recent Lionsgate survey of people who came to see a movie which was being marketed through a Groupon deal, of the 93 percent of respondents who saw the deal, only 7 percent would have gone to see the movie anyway. And 3 out of 4 people who use a Groupon in general bring a friend with them, suggesting that merchants get a lot more value than just the economics of any given deal. Mason also says that “9 out of 10 people spend more than the value of the Groupon.”

Looking past the anxiety of a first earnings call, Mason did communicate Groupon’s focus on delivering longer term value to both merchants and customers, which is exactly what he has to do to take Groupon from version 1.0 to the next stage. “We are transforming our relationships from a one-and-done deal event to something that is longer term,” he concluded. This will be a recurring theme. Expect Mason to hammer that message home any time he can.