Promotion Solutions

    What is the Best Way to Make Your Promotion a Success?

    Promotions such as sweepstakes, loyalty programs, contests, discount coupons and instant win games can, if implemented properly, have a huge impact on sales.

    In the U.S. alone, 69% of consumers have made a purchase due to a promotion in the last year, and 54% have purchased due to a promotion in the last 30 days. Promotions drive sales, but there are many factors that will determine if your promotion will be a success.

    In order to achieve the highest possible return on your marketing investment, it is important to know the key elements that will make your promotion a success.



    You are running a sweepstakes. What is the single most important choice you can make for your promotion that will ensure the highest success?

    • Deciding on the number of prizes offered?
    • Determining the odds of winning?
    • Choosing what types of prizes will be offered?
    • Coming up with a cool innovative way to play?
    • Selecting the right name for your promotion?

    C. Choosing what types of prizes will be offered.

    It's true, selecting the right incentive for your promotion will be the single most important decision you will make. Choosing the most desirable prizes for your target audience will drive highest participation in your promotion. But how big an effect can choosing the right prizes be for your promotion?

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    Assuming everything else remains the same in your sweepstakes (the name, the creative design, the prize budget, etc.), if you were to test offering different prizes until you found the ones that were the most desirable to your consumers, how many more people do you think you can get to enter your promotion? In other words just by changing the prizes offered, how many more people do you think you can get to participate in your promotion?

    • 2 times increased participation?
    • 5 times increased participation?
    • 8 times increased participation?
    • 16 times increased participation?
    • 24 times increased participation?

    D. 16 times increased participation!

    In fact, it has been shown that if everything else is the same for a promotion selecting a prize that is less desirable to the target audience can result in a 5% participation rate, while selecting the most desirable prize can result in an 83% participation rate. That’s right, you can increase the number of people who participate in your promotion by 16 times just by selecting the right prizes.

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    If you were running a sweepstakes in order to drive sales, which of the following instant win prizes would have the largest impact on purchases?

    • 2,000 iPods
    • 5,000 iPods
    • 10,000 iPods


    Spending more of your budget on the number of available prizes will typically not increase the overall performance of your promotion.

    As shown in the example above, increasing the quantity of prizes from 2,000 to 10,000 iPods shows no increase in promotion performance. In fact, increasing the quantity from 100 to 2,000 only increases performance by 3 percent. Determining the most effective prize pool can translate into substantial savings for your promotional budget.

    Another major factor contributing to the participation rate of a promotion is the aspect of choice. Providing your audience with flexibility in their potential prize can be a key draw.

    As the chart above shows choice of prize can double the impact of your promotion!

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    The Top 10 Reasons Promotions Fail

    There are many factors that contribute to the performance of a promotion. Below is a list of some of the more common reasons a promotion can fail to realize its maximum potential.


    The brand itself is not healthy

    There is poor price, value or satisfaction with the brand. This will discourage participation in the promotion.

    Trade sales are not engaged

    Be sure that retailers are encouraged to promote the consumer promotion.

    Entering the promotion is too much work for the consumer

    Make participation easy. Offer multiple methods of entry including POP and Internet.

    Consumers do not know how to participate

    60% of consumers do not enter promotions because they do not know how to participate.

    POP Activation

    The promotion is not activated at Point of Purchase. Create compelling point of purchase materials.


    The promotion is not offered long enough to drive incremental sales. Usually 8 to 10 weeks is optimal; however, the optimal period varies by the product's purchase cycle (e.g., gum= short time period, car = long).

    Lack of word of mouth

    Word of mouth can increase the performance of a promotion by up to 1/3. (However, any increase of 10% or more due to word of mouth is excellent).


    A poor creative can reduce the participation in your promotion by over 50%. Be sure the creative focuses on the Brand, the Prize and How to Play.

    The Offer

    A prize that is not compelling can reduce the impact of the promotion by 78%.


    The competition is offering an equivalent or better promotion.

    Planning for a Successful Promotion

    There are a number of elements that contribute to the overall performance of a promotion. The following are key components that require the correct approach in order to achieve optimum success.

    • Do it right or don't do it at all. It is better to create one exceptional promotion than several mediocre promotions.
    • Prizes. Impact of the prizing concept is 16 times (5% vs. 83% participation with the same brand but with different prizes) -- test your concepts!
    • Creative. Impact of the creative is 5 times (12% vs. 65% participation with the same offer but with different creatives) -- test your creatives!
    • Mechanics. Impact of how to play is 6 times (6% vs. 35% participation with the same offer but with different methods of entry).
    • POP Activation / Creatives. The impact of POP activation is 5 times (15% vs. 75% participation with the same offer but different POP creatives).