Don’t Throw Technology at a Promotion before Answering these Three Questions

As marketers, we are always on the lookout for the next trend. Part of our jobs is to stay ahead of the curve. This is a noble pursuit and one that has its place, but sometimes it can be detrimental to our end goal. This is especially true when it comes to running an online promotion. There are new social platforms popping up every day. Most recently, Periscope and Meerkat have made a splash on the scene. (You can read our thoughts about those here.) You may have heard the phrase “throwing technology at a problem,” well, at MRI, we call it “throwing technology at a promotion.” 

The goal of incorporating technology into a promotion is to make the user experience better and easier. Perhaps a new platform has a really beautiful and engaging user-interface. Awesome! That is sure to drive participation to your promotion. Additionally, a new technology may make it a breeze for users to enter. Great. The fewer barriers to entry, the more people will be willing to participate.

As tempting as it can be to engage new tools right away, and incorporate them into your online promotions, we encourage you to examine them critically to determine whether they will make your promotion’s user experience better and easier. You can start that examination with these three questions:

  • Do the users of this new platform match the target audience for my promotion?

Audience is the number one consideration when running any kind of promotion. Chances are you are running a promotion to try and engage new customers. Therefore, when considering a new technology platform, make sure you analyze whether your target new customers are likely to use this new technology tool. If the answer is no, you’re better off skipping the platform and focus your efforts on where your target audience is.

  • Does the user interface of this new technology tool integrate seamlessly with the other platforms I will be employing with my promotion?

User experience is paramount when it comes to running a successful online promotion. If the user experience is clunky, you will lose engagement because people will abandon entry if they have to follow too many steps or if the design and execution does not cater to ease-of-use. New platforms are often full of bugs and glitches. Make sure to put yourself in the shoes of the potential entrants.

  • Will I gain any valuable insight about my customers’ profile or their behavior from this new platform, or am I tempted to use it because “it looks cool”?

Every technology platform you employ in an online promotion adds a layer of complexity. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to determine if the benefit is worth the extra effort. One benefit may simply be audience size. If the new platform gets your promotion in front of a large pool of people who match your target entrant, great! Another benefit may be that it gives you a view of customer behavior not available on other platforms. Whatever it may be, just make sure the motivation isn’t merely “because it’s new.”

We are all about cool new technologies at MRI. However, we are also protective of our customers’ valuable time and money, which is why we spend so much time vetting new technologies before recommending their use in promotions. Follow these guidelines, and you can make sure that every piece of your promotion helps to meet your end goal.