Prize Marketing; Another Way To Capture Audiences

In today’s highly fragmented marketing channels, finding new ways to attract customers and engaging existing audiences has become an increasingly difficult task. There are a variety of marketing methods that are proven effective and one in particular has produced some very effective results within the promotional marketing[1] sector - prize marketing. In short, everyone likes wining prizes. There is always a thrill associated with winning a vacation, television or whatever else is being offered.

Imagine a customer at their local store, wanting to buy a chocolate bar, but they do not have a particular one in mind. Do they choose the one with the brand name, wrapping and nothing else, or do they choose the one that tells them that a dream holiday may lie just on the other side of the foil wrapper?

Prize marketing involves the use of promotional items such as holidays, products, electronics or any industry-specific items of value that give the customer an extra incentive to buy a particular product.Today’s prize marketing is bigger than ever with prizes that range from small rewards such as a free pen through to a dream job or lifetime product supply. Take for example of Queensland Tourism. There “‘best job in the world”[2] campaign, where people were invited to apply for a dream job as a caretaker in one of the world’s most beautiful spots, was well publicized worldwide. The campaign was reported in many news outlets at the time and received a lot of PR coverage.

Brands that have competitions or engage in prize related marketing gain a number of benefits in the marketplace. For one, it is simply more eye catching to see packaging or PR that outlines a great prize to win, and also helps foster positive associations in the mind of the consumer. It also gives a great PR opportunity down the line when someone does win the prize (if it is especially large and valuable).

Take the example of the McDonald’s Monopoly campaign, which gave visitors who entered the restaurant the ability to win prizes, ranging from televisions and consoles to entire houses and large cash prizes. Not only did it attract visitors to the store to buy something for a chance to win, but also set the stage for some great PR opportunities, such as the case of a 17 year old who won 814,000 dollars after collecting a few stickers from the food packaging.[3]

There are risks with a prize campaign if not properly planned and implemented, which is where a prize management [4] company is used to fulfill promises. A poorly run campaign can end up having negative results for a company, undermining any previous positive brand associations and numbers of loyal customers, particularly in the modern day where negative PR and word of mouth can spread like wildfire through social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.

A famous example of this is what took place in 1992 with Hoover offering free flights to those who purchased one of their cleaners or washing machines.[5] Flights were initially offered to Europe, and then the United States. It soon became apparent that they could not sustain this, and customers began to complain that they were not receiving what was promised in the promotion. This mistake ended up costing them tens of millions in court fees and settlements, as well as many customers and positive brand equity that had existed before the disaster.

Prize marketing can also help in what is one of marketing’s most valuable assets; details. Most consumer prize marketing campaigns give a code within the product and then invite the consumer to enter it at the company website, together with their contact details. Not only does this drive traffic to the website, but it also gives the company their contact details which can be used in future email campaigns.