Overcoming Challenges 
in Sweepstakes and Promotions:
Winning Strategies to Optimize Your Next Activation

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    There’s nothing like the prospect of winning big to inspire consumers. In today’s competitive marketing landscape, sweepstakes and promotions have emerged as powerful  tools for connecting with customers on a deeper level: boosting  brand awareness, fostering loyalty, and driving business growth. Research compiled by global marketing solutions company, Snipp  Interactive, reveals high rates of engagement, with an average of 34% of customers acquired through contests. Arguably even more  valuable, the same percentage of consumers are also open to receiving future brand communications.

    “Our clients have overwhelmingly discovered that promotions  help them amplify business goals by both adding new customers  and retaining existing ones,” says Snipp Chief Revenue Officer Christopher Cubba. “Among the strategies Snipp supports are accelerating purchase frequency, increasing basket size, fostering relationships between brands and retailers, providing data and insights, enhancing overall engagement and taking care of things like sweepstakes management.”

    Yet despite this incredible potential, activations can be fraught with challenges that put a brand’s investment at risk – from inadvertently violating compliance regulations to failing to adequately optimize the program or capitalize on data collection possibilities.

    This guide is designed to help your brand avoid common pitfalls as you explore the power of compelling campaigns to captivate your target audience and yield meaningful results.

    Overcoming Promotions Challenges2

    Five Common Activation Missteps – and How to Solve Them


    Not Maximizing Data Collection

    In the modern marketing landscape, data is a potent currency that fuels strategic decision making. Although brands aim to embrace data driven approaches, sometimes they fail to adequately capture and analyze the data that would be foundational to more personalized, impactful outreach. In fact, the ability to extract zero and first-party data is one of the most powerful by-products of sweepstakes and promotions, yet one that brands traditionally overlook. “Fortunately, there are ways to build your promotions that allow you to acquire and  analyze this critical data,” says Cubba. 

    “With the right activation, you’re trading value to get value…the reward for information about their preferences, purchase patterns, household information or other data,” he points out. That’s particularly critical for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, given the path to purchase often involves the end consumer interacting with large retail channels and not directly with the CPG. “The prospect of a reward gives brands the ability to develop a direct relationship with consumers and to surface the data,” says Cubba. “And motivation is high to share accurate contact information so they can access the prize.” Promotions can yield coveted data that extends far beyond contact information. For example, when consumers snap a photo of their receipt, Snipp’s optical character recognition (OCR) technology scans it to find the specific UPC/SKU or product description.

    Receipt data can unveil a host of other insights in addition to validating a purchase. By getting and analyzing basket-level data, brands can learn more about the shopper’s motivations and habits. Was the qualifying purchase part of a pantry stock-up or the result of a specific trip? Did the basket include competitors’ products? What other categories were purchased? What else can the aggregate sale tell a brand about the shopper’s household and preferences?

    Snipp helps brands leverage this rich data by creating segments of their most avid fans as a way to identify lookalikes who share similar characteristics. Brands can then better engage them in fun ways using what Cubba terms a “bread crumbing” technique, such as sending short surveys or polls that inquire about other products they like or hobbies they have. “With these additional insights, you can build more robust data sets of consumer preferences that allow you to personalize further outreach, or you might discover another interest that aligns with one of your other brands,” he says. “Through data, our clients can unlock a number of options, whether it’s fresh ways to market to new and existing clientele or ideas on how to optimize the next sales promotion.”

    “With the right activation, you’re trading value to get value…the reward for information about their preferences, purchase patterns, household information or other data.”

    Christopher Cubba
    Chief Revenue Officer at Snipp 
    A 20 year veteran in the promotions and loyalty industry


    Not Identifying the Optimal Activation

    The sheer variety of potential activations is vast – and each one will yield different results, depending on your target market, the effort involved, and the payoff. Snipp helps clients choose the activation that best meets their goals, ranging from a simple coupon, instant win, or rebate to social promotions, digital punch card programs, gifts with purchase, sweepstakes, and much more. One strategy to consider is offering a layered promotion, which combines types of programs for a better consumer value proposition. A campaign might pair a small, instant reward for scanning a receipt with an entry into a more substantial sweepstakes. “Rather than just entering once for a big prize and hoping they’re chosen, consumers love the concept of getting smaller rewards along the way,” Cubba explains.

    Brands can achieve a similar result through “tiered rewards” or punchcard programs, where consumers buy more or make purchases over a period of time to win bigger prizes, thus driving sales by increasing frequency and basket size. Another hot trend is gamification, which uses gaming features to leverage the sense of challenge and competition as players seek rewards that also might accrue and increase over time.

    For the most success, Cubba reminds brands to be mindful of the effort involved in the promotion, ensuring they have matched the value of the reward to the level of complexity or involvement of the task. “The easier it is to do something, the more motivated a consumer will be to participate. So you have to hit that sweet spot of choosing the right activation that doesn’t require more effort than the consumer will deem worthy of obtaining the reward.” And for brands looking to build customer engagement, a simple “register to enter” promotion, with no purchase required, can be a great option.

    One strategy to consider is offering a  layered promotion, which combines types of programs for a better consumer value proposition. A campaign might pair a small, instant reward for scanning a receipt with an entry into a more substantial sweepstakes.


    Not Choosing Suitable Rewards

    A key aspect of a successful promotion is choosing the reward that will resonate with your preferred audience segments, thus sufficiently eliciting the desired behavior. Cubba cites four modern reward trends:

    1. Experiential Prizes
    Offering experiences they otherwise couldn’t access or buy on their own is especially motivating to Gen Z and millennial generation. Cubba recommends that brands be as descriptive as they can be in their marketing materials to accentuate the elements that distinguish it.

    “The more you can create that vision, the better,” he says. For example, consider the emotions that are sparked by offering tickets to a game, compared with a package that includes “a complete, all-expenses-paid trip to the big game, where you’ll meet an NFL legend and have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play catch on the field.”

    2. Rewards that are Simple to Redeem
    The watchwords here are “instant gratification,” Cubba says, suggesting prizes that can be accessed effortlessly — typically digitally. This construct has benefits for the brand, too, he notes, saving costs in time, energy, and fees to mail merchandise. Not only that, but it eliminates the peril of the last-mile moment when there’s the potential for goodwill to be erased by poor delivery.

    “Imagine the let-down when a consumer receives their bigscreen TV prize that’s been broken in transit,” he says. “They then have to contact the company and seek a replacement, causing unnecessary friction and souring them on what otherwise would have been a highlight moment.”

    3. Differentiated Rewards
    Consumers crave choice and personalization so offering various types and categories of rewards allows them to select what’s most valuable to them based on their preferences and values. You also can differentiate rewards by offering prizes based on the engagement or action taken, with bigger and smaller prizes to acknowledge every level of effort.

    4. Product as Prizing 
    Finally, Cubba says that sometimes the best reward idea is the most obvious – giving the customer more of what they value in the first place. After all, if a shopper is already willing to pay for your product, why not provide it for free? Think a year’s worth of sub sandwiches or a lifetime supply of cereal (at the most extreme). “It’s on brand, and highly relevant to your most loyal advocates,” he says. 

    Offering experiences they otherwise couldn’t access or buy on their own is especially motivating to Gen Z and millennial generation. 


    Failing to optimize in an omnichannel environment

    In our connected society, consumers expect to contact your brand when and where they want, which means they’ll be accessing your contest, promotion or sweepstakes on diverse channels and devices. Therefore, brands should allow entry via a variety of means – social media, text, app or online, either at the brand website or a micro-site dedicated specifically to the promotion. “Everyone has their go-to method, and because it’s often constantly changing, you want to ensure no one is left behind,” Cubba says.

    Omnichannel activations also help brands design an experience that’s more relational rather than merely transactional. Incorporating a social media component through user-generated content, where participants share their status and success, encourages engagement and boosts reach. Another dynamic tactic is introducing aspects of “friendly competition,” such as leaderboards or public badges that indicate levels of achievement.

    Cubba acknowledges that it can be daunting to activate across multiple touchpoints, which is where Snipp can step in to streamline the process. “We help ensure the communication vehicles around earned, owned and paid are all coalescing for optimal awareness and participation.”

    “Everyone has their go-to method, and because it’s often constantly changing, you want to ensure no one is left behind.”

    Christopher Cubba
    Chief Revenue Officer at Snipp 


    Not minding the details

    As busy marketers constantly race to manage their full plate, it’s almost inevitable that some crucial details could fall through the cracks. However, a successful activation depends on addressing minute elements throughout the process.

    One critical hurdle that can ensnare marketers is the thicket of legal guidelines that surround any promotion. Tracking the minutiae can be a full-time job in itself, given the nuances of local, state and federal rules and laws. These vary by promotion type; for example, there are different legal ramifications if you run a contest versus a sweepstakes.

    Brands also need to take advantage of top shopping windows – typically in the summer months, around back-to-school and during the holidays– yet simultaneously stand out from the noisy competition as other brands vie for attention. That’s where a focus on the entire ecosystem is vital – from choosing the right activation to solving a specific problem to ensuring the messaging is precise. In addition, brands must be transparent with customers around data security, including sharing the purpose of data collection and how it will be stored and used.

    “Our clients rely on us to make promotions seamless – and successful,” says Cubba. “We help brands approach their problem holistically, with proven expertise on all facets: recommending the activation model and reward that will resonate with the appropriate demographics, ensuring we collect the valuable data that can help bolster future strategy, confirming that we’ve complied with all the legal constraints and other promotional best practices, and creating a post-promotion engagement strategy to capitalize on what’s been achieved to trigger the ‘virtuous circle’ of consumer engagement.”

    Overcoming Promotions Challenges3

    Choosing the right partner for your promotions

    Using the right partner can help elevate your brand’s contest, sweepstakes, rebate program or other promotion, allowing you to reap multi-faceted benefits. The partner needs to have the right experience running various types of promotions, end-to-end, and that allows for customization of promotions to best match your brand’s approach to marketing. And it needs to have the key technologies needed to support an omnichannel campaign. Learn about typical sweepstakes agency services here.

    “There are a lot of ways to solve a marketing problem, and at Snipp we bring fresh, creative thinking and versatile solutions to the table,” Cubba says. “Then we couple that with our cutting-edge technology so brands can deploy activations in an omnichannel environment and develop data-driven insights to inform future marketing efforts.”


    Elevate Your Contests and Promotions with Snipp

    Learn how our market-leading solutions give you everything you need to create exciting omnichannel consumer promotions and contests.