There are numerous factors that contribute to the success and/or failure of promotions yet, as marketers and the industry in general we are still putting activity into market that is unlikely to deliver on any ROI or brand objectives.
There are multiple reasons for campaigns not succeeding. The FMCG environment is challenging when it comes to promotions and support opportunities and it is becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with savvy consumers.
This said, successful promotions are exceptionally beneficial for brands. If the initial objectives are clear and the promotion is closely tailored to meeting these objectives the results can make a real difference.
On the other hand, poorly considered and constructed promotions will have little or no effect at all, and in some cases can be more damaging.
So what are some of the problems?
- Overcomplicating when ‘keeping it simple’ is key
- Using the wrong entry mechanics
- Using a promotion when it is not the answer
- Failing to communicate the offer clearly (or at all)
- 25 words or less; need I say more!
- Inexperienced agencies/people working on these campaigns
With these challenges in mind, how do we fix it? We need to go back to basics, look at what connects with consumers and drives their behaviour. We need to move away from gut feel and assumption and work on true motivators backed by research and experience.
It’s the simple things. Did you know, by using a 25 words or less mechanic, you are only attracting seven per cent of potential consumers to the promotion. That’s 93 per cent of people who don’t enter a promotion purely because of this mechanic. This is not speculation, it’s in the latest IMI ConsumerTrack research.
A game of skill is seen as quick and easy and it doesn’t require permits. Often it’s an assumption that permits are too expensive or take too long, but I challenge that thinking and knowing what we know about consumer behaviour when it comes to these promotions, I can’t understand why there are so many of these still running.
These game of skill promotions still require terms and conditions to cover them, and if you are preparing these, it’s a quick extra step to get the licenses to run a game of chance. Plus, it gives you so much more freedom to structure promotions that people really want to enter.
What most people don’t realise is that laws around permits are changing and Victoria has recently removed the need for permits, leaving only NSW, ACT, and SA, and these states are constantly under review.
There are always blanket permits that can be obtained for a promotional period of one year, which is a great option if you run multiple promotions a year.
Prizes are all about choice. We know simple things like three prizes works twice as hard as one prize, and we also know smaller and more aspirational and relevant prizes will motivate a consumer to act.
To demonstrate this, if you have $10,000, you will get a much better result if you are to give away three prizes of $2000 and invest the balance of the $4000 into weekly and/or minor prizes, or just a bunch of relevant minor prizes and promote the fact that there are lots of prizes to be won.
On prizes, it’s all about choice and relevance. Cash is still king, but things such as utilities and petrol are slowly creeping up and taking over cars and holidays as the most aspirational of prizes.
If you are going to give away a holiday or a car (and you have an option), don’t tie a consumer into a trip to Disneyland, entries increase significantly if you offer a choice of destinations, or better still a travel voucher.
If you have decided to run a campaign, know your audience. What motivates them, the media they consume, the way they like to enter, what you can reasonably ask them to do to be involved and what they like to win.
Starting with the objective in mind; it might be loyalty, trial, data acquisition, awareness or just a straight out sales driver, the framework, mechanic and structure might be completely different.
Brand health is another significant factor as is the means to promote the activity. Consumers are not just going to buy anything, especially if they are being asked to multi purchase or pantry stock a brand they will never use.
Consumer promotions, loyalty promotions, sales drivers – broadly speaking, all types of brand activation can be incredibly successful. It all comes down to science and experience.
On the flip side, many promotions fail and it’s disappointing when you see average campaigns that miss the mark. When a brand gets it right though, it’s exciting to see exceptional activations because when they work, the work!