CEO, April5

Promotions have many purposes and can bring many benefits to events, but there is a science behind getting them right.

1 promotion objectives

Why are you doing it? Be clear so you can assess the outcome. A promotion without objectives and clear measurable KPIs is a waste of time and money. Promotions done correctly can help you gain brand awareness, trial and/or loyalty. How you run your promotion will depend on the outcome you wish to achieve.

2 know your audience

How they enter promotions; online, SMS, paper entry form, etc. What they want to win, how they want to win it. If you get the prize right and match the prize to the target market, you will have a better rate of participation. Make sure the prize is popular and useful to your key audience, as it will make people want to enter.

3 there is a science behind prizing

Consumers want to have a good perceived chance of winning to make it worth their while entering the competition. With this in mind, three prizes are better than one, but more than three adds to cost, not the predisposition to participate*. Consumers have a significant preference for instant over delayed gratification by around five to one*. Research shows us that drawing prizes throughout the promotion is much better than a major prize at the end.

4 legal requirements

Know the difference between a game of skill and a game of chance and when you do and do not need a permit.
A game of skill is a judged competition; a game of chance is when someone has a random chance of winning. Asking a few questions does not constitute a game of skill, as you are likely to have more than one winner.
A game of chance requires a permit and the rules are different in each state. Permits are payable on the total value of the prize pool. It is best to speak to a promotional marketing lawyer or a specialist promotional marketing agency for all the most up-to-date information. Promotions need terms and conditions.

5 make it easy

Easy to enter, easy to find, easy to understand. The more complicated the mechanic the more likely consumers will not be bothered to enter. Many of us will have experienced entering a competition through answering a number of questions only to find the final entry detail is to provide a submission in 25 words or less. Research shows that about 60 per cent of the people who would have entered will give up*.

6 manage winners’ expectations

Although many prize-winners will be elated to have won, some winners may be impossible to please. This is where the terms and conditions can help. Terms and conditions should include a clause that refers to any changes to the prize not being permitted unless the promoter gives consent and it is in writing and agreed by both parties.

7 promote the promotion

The best promotion in the world won’t get any entries if people don’t know about it. If it is not on pack and there is no communication in-store, think about other opportunities to promote, such as consumer magazines – the supermarket ones are good – and online publications, but be specific about which ones you are targeting. Also use social media channels to help generate word of mouth and drive people in-store.

8 promotions on social media

Promotions on Facebook are governed by very strict Facebook rules. Make sure you are familiar with them before running your promotion. You also need to make sure that you include promotional mandatories (open and close dates, draw dates, permits, etc.) on your materials. Check your comments regularly.
*IMI Consumertrack 2011. IMI International specialises in researching what consumers want in this area.

Alicia Beachley is the CEO of April5. She can be contacted via email on