Social and mobile media have changed the expectations about and the mechanics of consumer promotions. Sixty-five percent of promotions and component games are played out on mobile devices. Increasingly, brands are experimenting with promotions limited by geography, gated by game play, or influenced by other fluid eligibility requirements.
To understand what works best now, Prizelogic analyzed 800 distinct consumer promotions. Here is my interpretation of their findings.
Prizing. Cash is king. Everybody wants it because it meets all kinds of needs. iPads and the gadget of the week are over. Consumers crave instant gratification and access to valuable commodities they don’t have and can’t buy — money, time, and convenience. Promise stuff that’s in short supply or not readily available.
Consider offering an array of prizes. Let consumers choose either what to compete for or what they win. This dramatically increases the perceived value of the prize structure and converts 25–30% better than a traditional fixed prize tier.
Mechanics. Make it simple, easy, intuitive, and fast. We are a nation of ADHD game addicts who grasp the familiar, as long as it requires a minimal commitment of time, energy, or skill. Remember, two-thirds of the audience are participating with one finger or two thumbs. We have no patience for complex rules, difficult steps, or multiple gates protecting the prize. Promotional games shouldn’t be a chess match.
Give consumers control. Ask them to rate, vote, and offer opinions. But minimize the steps and reduce the friction to optimize participation. Enable entries using email, site visits, social media pages, hashtags (#), photographed receipts transmitted by MMS, or text messages.
Instantly acknowledge actions and entries. If possible, tell consumers where they stand, what their status is, or where they are relative to the prize. The more consumers see how close they are to victory, the higher and better the engagement.
Link promotions to real-time events so consumers can be involved in sports, broadcast, social, or cultural events via social media. Leverage the shared experience and give participants the feeling that they are the first to do something new, different, or interesting. Try to construct a buzzworthy event using consumers’ data or pictures. Elf Yourself or the Museum of You are great examples of surprise and delight promotions that capitalized on real-time social media behavior and ultimately achieved mass virility.
User Generated Content (UGC). Many brands ask consumers to create content, submit pictures, or shoot videos. Use of UGC promotions has tripled in the last couple of years. These tend to attract hardcore promotion fans at the expense of less committed but equally interested prospects.
UGC promotions also require more complex terms and conditions, more channels to reach a useful scale, more filtering and curation, and are more labor intensive. They also rarely work better than a standard sweepstakes, though often they generate reviews, consumer endorsements, and random insights or quotes that have legs beyond the immediate promotion.
Everybody loves a good promotion. Consumers from Millennials to Baby Boomers are looking for ways to get something for nothing and be momentarily distracted or amused. How promotions are structured, what is asked for, and what is offered in reward determine the results.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.