Imagine checking your email one morning to find that you’re a potential winner of a trip to the Olympics. You sign an affidavit and it’s official: you and a friend are going to the games. Your flight is booked, accommodations are arranged and all you have to think about is packing your red, white and blue. Pretty cool, right?
The promotions experts at Tenthwave’s Long Island office may have the pleasure of notifying lucky winners, but they’re also responsible for planning, executing and fulfilling contests and sweepstakes for clients like eBay, VISA, Paypal, Duncan Hines and Pepperidge Farm.
So why would a brand like VISA want to send 80 people to the Olympics? Promotions are intended to create awareness, encourage retention and acquire new fans. Awareness reinforces or adds value to the brand’s identity, retention rewards loyal costumers and acquisition allows brands to collect data, generate new traffic and ultimately stimulate sales.
Promotions also help a brand relate to its fans. “What’s most engaging is product, then value, then knowledge or something bigger—that something bigger is promotions,” says Steve Caputo, Managing Partner and Director of Promotion Marketing. The more valuable the prize, the more people participate in a promotion. A trip to the Olympics, a $30,000 scholarship and cash are big motivators for consumers to engage with a brand.
Besides dreaming up prizes, brands need to decide which type of promotion—a contest or a sweepstakes—is right for them. In a sweepstakes, the winners are chosen by randomization software, so that the prize is obtained by chance. In a contest, every entry must be reviewed and scored according to predetermined judging criteria, so that the prize is obtained by consideration.
Because the legal side of promotions is lengthy, it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable lawyer on hand to write the rules, register the promotion with state governments and make sure potential winners are aware that prizes valued over $600 require a 1099 tax form.
“There aren’t a lot of digital shops out there that understand content strategy, SEO, back-end development, social marketing and promotions, but Tenthwave does it all,” Caputo said. As a full-service agency, Tenthwave will continue using promotions to help brands catch their digital wave.