DIY for Online Promotions: Getting What You Pay For

We live in an age where we pride ourselves on do-it-yourself or DIY—from home improvement projects to home beauty hacks. However, brands may want to think twice before jumping in the game of online DIY promotions. While there are some very inexpensive options out there, you will likely get a product or service that is lacking in quality and benefits. Not to mention you are using a service that does not provide the liability coverage that a third-party administrator does.

There are plenty of alternatives for these off-the-shelf online promo solutions, but many come with the same features and design. Another thing these platforms come with are their shortcomings:

  • An underdeveloped platform or one that doesn’t integrate across all social platforms
  • Ease-of-use is misleading or not as advertised
  • Not mobile friendly
  • Lack of flexibility for design and functionality
  • Few customization options – templated promotions look the same
  • Limited customer support mostly via email
  • No investment in platform functionality or design; just a focus on selling more solutions
  • No legal governance or guidance for rules of the promos provided
  • Lack of protection from legal liability for running these promos
  • Inability to offer a popularity contest by which entries are collected from multiple social media platforms and aggregated for consumers to vote
  • Inadequate fraud protection or entry limits
  • Require the brand to pull the data from the platform and clean the data

As a result of these deficiencies, promotions are watered down to fit within the constraints of the platform while leaving the brand exposed to potential legal liabilities. Promotions are intended to break through the clutter and differentiate a brand; what is going to stop your competitor from developing the exact same campaign using the same platform? When you consider eliminating consumer engagement components such as popular social media channels from your campaign because the platform doesn’t support it, you should consider the impact on success metrics. Plus, it’s hard to believe that some of these off-the-shelf services do not offer a phone number for customer support.  If something goes wrong with the promotion and your consumers have user grievances, wouldn’t you want to get on the phone with someone who is going to solve your problem immediately instead of sending an email to a general mailbox?  Ultimately, brands that compromise their promotion strategies to save money risk running a promo campaign that misses the mark with their consumer and falls short on results.

Promotions are an incredible way to engage with consumers and drive sales but they are also some of the most regulated types of marketing campaigns. Running a promotion comes with both legal risk and the risk of consumer complaints about how the campaign works and the fairness by which the winners are chosen. These off-the-shelf promotion platforms do not provide any legal guidance for the promotion rules, nor do they indemnify their clients for their promotion. They also do not have adequate fraud protection to identify and prevent fraudulent activity, which puts the fairness of the campaign at risk.

As with avoiding potential legal liability with DIY online promotions, it’s wise to consider a third-party promo agency like MRI to ensure the promo you offer differentiates your brand, provides a positive and fun customer experience, keeps your company out of trouble, and most importantly, achieves your marketing objectives. At the very least, keep in mind that with the current offerings of DIY online promotions, you—and your customers—risk getting what you paid for.