Thought Leadership and Insider Information from Brian Tierney Jr. at Realtime Media

Prizes are Important: They are the incentive

Whether or not it is an accepted truth, consumers enter digital promotions for one reason - for a chance to win a prize or earn a reward. Who would enter to win nothing?! Sweepstakes, contests, instant wins, and loyalty programs offer brands a prime opportunity to drive engagement and first-party data collection in exchange for prizes.

The chance to win a prize cuts through the clutter and noise of all other advertising people are bombarded with on a daily basis – from banner ads, to email marketing, tv, radio ads, social media, SMS/text ads, the list is never ending.

According to Forbes, the average person is inundated with up to 10,000 ads EACH DAY!

The chance to win a prize is enough to break through the ad noise and grab a person’s attention for that key split-second and have them engage with YOUR brand.

And the moment any wins a prize (be it big or small) they always tell their friends – i.e. word-of-mouth advertising – the holy grail for marketers and brands!

Looking at promotions through this lens, it becomes clear just how critical your prize strategy is to the success of your promotion. With over twenty-five years of experience executing sweepstakes, contests, instant win games, and other promotions for our Clients, we know the ins and outs of prize strategy and fulfillment execution.

Through this blog, I will outline how I draw upon our long tenure of experience, our centralized Company expert knowledge, and process for developing and executing exciting prize pools that drive marketing results for our clients, including Burger King, the NFL, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Walmart, L’Oréal, Netflix and many others..

How Do I Know What to Include in My Prize Pool?

The key to developing your prize pool is first understanding your consumer base, and matching it with what type of promotion you are looking to run.

When thinking about your consumers, consider the following questions:

  • How do consumers interact with your brand? Are you a CPG brand that has a large presence in retail stores? Then consider retail gift cards! Are you an up-and-coming app looking to engage users on mobile? Fulfill prizes directly to users on mobile via Venmo or PayPal! Do consumers purchase your product for use with travel? Award a once in a lifetime trip! Matching your prize to the context that consumers interact with your brand is a critical step in shaping your prize pool.
  • Who is your core demographic? Understanding your core demographic will help you create an even more specific prize pool. For example, if your core demographic is recently married couples with a high interest in cooking, consider building a prize pool that offers kitchen gadgets, or the ultimate kitchen makeover.

When thinking about the larger promotion that you are looking to run:

  • What type of promotion are you considering running? Each promotion type lends itself to different types of prize pools.
    • Sweepstakes and Contests work great with grand prizes and prize pools that are smaller in the number of prizes awarded, but offer large, high-value prizes that users may not purchase for themselves.
    • Instant Win Games and Consumer Rewards & Loyaty Programs give brands the opportunity to award a large volume of lower-cost prizes such as gift cards, retail items such as hats, t-shirts, and mugs, and more!
  • How many prizes do you want to award? Ultimately, the decision on how many prizes is up to you, but as a general rule of thumb, the more prizes you are looking to award, the more chances a potential winner has to win! When a user feels like their chance of winning is high, they are more likely to engage and enter the promotion.

The final piece to consider when planning your prize pool is, what is the size of the budget that you are looking to allocate to prizes? This is the most important question that you need to ask yourself.

If you have a budget of $10,000 to allocate towards prizing there are two ways that you can take your prize pool - a small number of high-value prizes, or a mid-size number of medium-value prizes. Completing a simple exercise, your prize pool can go in two directions:

High-Value Option, Three (3) Winners:

  • Grand Prize: $7,500 Check
  • Runner Up: $1,500 Prize
  • Third Prize: $1,000 Prize

Medium-Value Option, Forty One (41) Winners:

  • Grand Prize: $2,000 Brand New TV
  • Five (5) Runner Ups: $500 High-End Headphones
  • Fifteen (15): $200 Venmo/PayPal Payouts
  • Twenty (20): $125 Worth of Product Swag

In the end, people love to win any prize – even $20 gets people excited – so never let the prize budget deter you from using digital promotions as a key piece of your consumer engagement and marketing strategy.

Prize Winner Communication - The Ultimate Key to Success

If you think about what makes Amazon so successful as a global retailer, you will likely immediately think of the benefits of Amazon prime and the 2-day (now sometimes same-day) shipping. While this is an amazing feat that Amazon expertly pulls off, what you may not realize is that 2-day shipping for Prime Members is just one leading consumer benefit that comes from their focus on customer success.

They offer unmatched transparency into the shipping and fulfillment process. Consumers not only have to-the-minute reporting on the status of their shipment, but should any issues arise; they are proactive in their correspondence and offer an immediate solution.

By creating a focus on your winners throughout the post-promotion experience, your brand can reap the benefits of a positive consumer experience. Make yourself accessible to prize winners across all major winner milestones. As we see it at Realtime Media, there are two (2) major touchpoints that all winners should receive:

  1. Winner Outreach and Confirmation: Reach out to winners to let them know that they have won and when they can expect to receive a prize. This also serves as a perfect place to collect any additional information you need to fulfill the prize (such as mailing address or email address).
  2. Prize Release and Tracking: Let winners know when they need to keep an eye out, or take additional steps to claim their prize! For prizes that have tracking information available (this excludes most digital prizes), let winners know when prizes have been shipped and hand off any available tracking information.

The Realm of Possibilities - Prizes of All Sizes!

If you’ve considered running a promotion you have probably had a thought about a crazy prize you want to give away - “is this even possible?”

The answer to that question is almost always yes. In our 25+ years of awarding prizes, there are very few prizes that we have yet to award. While items such as gift cards, checks, retail items, and trips are always popular and very accessible prizes, we have coordinated the fulfillment of everything from cars and boats, to custom and limited-edition apparel, to full-size birthday cakes, and a full castle with staff in England!; and these are just examples from the last year!

How can Realtime Media Help?

As a full-service partner for prize fulfillment services, Realtime Media offers top-to-bottom support across all competencies within prize fulfillment and winner administration including:

  1. Prize Strategy & Procurement
  2. Warehousing & Fulfillment Management
  3. Winner Notification & Administration
  4. Customer Care and Support

We can work with your brand to take your prize ideas and turn them into a reality for your winners, while ensuring the prize strategy aligns with driving marketing results for you.

Explore more of our prize fulfillment services today, or reach out to schedule a walk-through of our full suite of services for the fulfillment, legal support, and development of consumer activations and digital promotions.