The common denominator for all promotions: rewards. Whether it’s a sweepstakes, contest, game, loyalty program, etc., consumer participation is dependant upon a reward. So if everything hinges on the reward, why do they seem like an afterthought for some campaigns?
Selecting the right reward can be intimidating. There are a lot of variables to take into account. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The best rewards will vary from brand to brand and even from promotion to promotion. But, there are a few considerations brands can make for each promotion to get on the right track.
The first consideration you should make regarding prizing is whether to reward one large grand prize or multiple smaller prizes. Of course you can do some combination of both, it all really comes down to your budget. But let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a quality grand prize vs a quantity of smaller prizes.
The three most common types of grand prize rewards are cash, destination vacation, and car. But really anything with an estimated retail value of above $10,000 is enough to be considered grand. The largest advantage of a grand prize is its marketability. Advertising your promotion by showcasing the grand prize rewards will definitely get attention.
Some sweepstakes, contests, and games choose to reward multiple smaller prizes. The advantage this has over a grand prize, is that you give more consumers the feeling of being a winner. The more prizes there are, the higher chance fans have at winning. The best use of this tactic is when brands incorporate coupons and offers as instant prizes. For example, if consumers know that they have a 1 in 3 chance of at least getting something, even just a coupon, that will provide an exciting incentive for promotion participation.
Ultimately, the choice of quality vs quantity falls in your hands. For some promotions, one might make more sense over the other. For example, a sweepstakes main appeal for consumers is typically the exciting grand prize. But why not offer coupons as a reward to incentivise consumers as well? By balancing out your prizes, you can benefit from both quality and quantity.
The second consideration brands must make is whether to provide instant rewards or delayed gratification. This consideration goes hand in hand with quality over quantity. Usually a grand prize comes with a sweepstakes drawing, in which case the winner will not be chosen until a specific date.
With smaller prizes or coupons, you can reward fans instantly when they make an entry. With instant rewards, consumers get the high of feeling like a winner, and will be more likely have a very positive reaction with your promotion. On the other hand, delayed gratification can be used to encourage repeat participation. You can provide consumers with the incentive to make multiple entries in order to increase their chances of winning.
As with quality vs quantity, we find it best to balance both instant and delayed gratification with your promotion. If you are running a sweepstakes, we have seen a positive response when brands add an instant win element. And it works the other way as well! Many instant win games see increased repeat participation when there is a larger grand prize for fans to look forward to.
The final consideration brands must make is whether or not to reward prizes specific to their brand, an event, or a season. The advantage of a branded reward, is it will attract more loyal consumers, vs ‘sweepers’. Sweepers are people who actively look for sweepstakes and contests to enter just for the chance to win. These consumers hold little to no value, they are not interested in your brand. By offering a branded reward, you will most likely see less participation in your promotion, but the quality of participants will be much higher.
Additionally, some brands choose to reward prizes that relate to an event or season (like summer, or a holiday). This can add an extra layer of excitement to a promotion and can encourage participation. It is important to make sure the prizes you choose are still something fans will want. For example, just because sunscreen is a common summer item, doesn't mean people will want it as a prize in your summer themed promotion.
In the end, the choice comes down to whether you are running a promotion just to create buzz and get high participation or if you want to create a stronger bond with quality consumers. Generic rewards have little to no risk and will yield higher participation. While branded rewards will typically weed out the sweepers and attract loyal fans.
Consumer participation is dependant upon your programs rewards. Be sure to make careful considerations about your prizing and your fans will thank you!