The lost art of consumer promotions

It was only a few years ago that there were more than a handful of specialist consumer promotion agencies. Every brand in the supermarket, every beer in the bottle shop had a promotion, special offer, money back guarantee, buy one get one free, free gift or a special product when you send postage and handling!  

Consumers would enter voting competitions in their millions by SMS and send in hundreds of thousands of entries via post to enter a prize draw. Things have certainly changed, and consumer promotions became rare as supermarkets decided the competition rules and cleaned up their stores.  

But like anything old, it can be new again, and now is a great time to be considering consumer promotions in the marketing mix, especially when face to face in person activation is a little more challenging. 

Promotions can: 
  • Generate sales 
  • Reward loyalty 
  • Drive incremental/new users 
  • Create brand awareness 
  • Block a competitor  
  • Launch a new product 
  • Get some quick wins 

They are also measurable and with the potential increases in sales (when done correctly), can be a solid investment for a brand 

BUT, there is a science to getting consumer promotions right and when it’s done correctly, can lead to a more successful result. The scary thing is that statistics show us that 50% of promotional concepts will not change consumer behaviour and 50% won’t generate enough awareness. That’s half of the promotions out there that are not effective, which to me is not a great way to spend marketing budgets.  

However, done correctly, and with insight and experience, these Promotions can deliver on brand objectives and drive great results. 

Here are some top tips for consumer promotions based on the latest research: **
  • Three is exponentially better than one, because consumers believe that they have an increased chance of winning.  
  • Consumers love choice – give it to them in the prize options 
  • Consider the role of minor prizes 
  • Frequency prizing trumps a major prize at the end 
  • Make it easy to enter, easy to understand and easy to win 
  • Make sure the consumer knows in seconds what they can do to win – clear promotional messaging is an art  
  • Don’t put barriers in the way. The more hoops the less entries 
  • Consumers really hate 25 words or less – you are likely to get a 93% drop off in your competition 
  • Build a promo microsite and make sure it is optimised for mobiles. Use it for promotional stats to share with your client 
  • Don’t use social media as the mechanic to enter, people really don’t like it much.  
  • Promote the promotion – if consumers do not know about ithow can they enter? 
  • Don’t be lazy, get a permit, it’s the law and consumers prefer a game of chance, not a game of skill 10 times over 
  • Remember data privacy and security. Its super important to get it right 
  • Make sure the promo is legal and has the correct terms and conditions which protect both the brand and the agency and make the competition fair for all 

At the end of the day, it’s really about ‘what’s in it for me’ when it comes to consumer psyche.  Give them what they want and make it easy.  

The other super interesting fact at the moment is that there is a group of people out there who have been trained on the art of entering comps but there are few comps to enter. We are also seeing interest from higher socio economic groups who will enter if the prizing is right, and right now people just need a bit of help and support, so give away utilities and cash,,,,, CASH WILL ALWAYS BE KING,,, we just need to make sure we dress it up so its brand appropriate.  

Want to know more about how to run a successful promotion? Make sure you call an agency that has the depth of experience in running these promotions and knows how to create the strategy behind the activity. Remember, only a handful get it right, make sure its yours! 

Is it worth considering changing tactics to a consumer promotion? Happy to chat and see if we can give you some helpful advice!


Stats courtesy of IMI Promotrak 2019 **


Alicia Beachley
Marketing and Brand Activations Specialist
CEO | April5 Agency