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6 Promotions Pitfalls to Avoid

GMR's "Max it Now" promotion for Pepsi Max won Gold in the 2013 Pro Awards.

Brand marketers frequently come to the promotions planning table with all sorts of ideas on how to make a great promotion to build the brand, which is fantastic. What they often are less familiar with are the things NOT to do, especially within the practice of promotion marketing.

Here are a six common promotions pitfalls to avoid:

1. Making the promotion too complex

Keep your promotion easy for consumers (and you, too!) to understand. Consumers will be more inclined to engage with your brand if participation is simple. Keeping the entry process straightforward also helps in efficient capturing, handling, and processing of consumer data. Keep official rules and communications clear and concise for easy understanding by consumers.

2. Thinking on a single communication level

Sales promotions can lift sales in a short period of time. To achieve optimum results and ROI, make sure you are utilizing all of the communication channels available to you. Traditional and social media combined with online and mobile communications provide a robust, integrated way of connecting with consumers, which encourages them to interact with your brand.

3. Neglecting to set benchmarks

Create a timeline and identify key success points to help keep each part of the program on track. Pre-determining benchmarks for success sets you up to better measure the promotion’s effectiveness.

4. Not making the promotion relevant

A promotion must be relevant to consumers if it’s going to succeed. Make sure you are targeting the right audience with not only your promotional message but also the communication channels you use to convey it. And offer incentives for engagement that are truly compelling to that particular audience. If a consumer feels that the brand connects with them and they are receiving value from the brand, they will keep the brand top of mind.

5. Assuming your promotion is fraud-tight

Don’t assume that your promotion—including entry collection, data protection, and official rules—isn’t subject to fraud. Many consumers will go to extreme lengths to win large prizes. These people spend a great deal of time and effort evaluating every method they could possibly use to gain advantage (usually unfair) in a sales promotion. Make sure your entry methods have been tested appropriately prior to launch, ensure your data collection protocol is air-tight, and write official rules that are clear, concise, and leave no room for interpretation.

6. Doing nothing with the data

The promotion’s value to a brand doesn’t have to end when the campaign wraps. Data collected through a promotion can be very valuable. Brands can use data collected from promotions to communicate with consumers (if they agree, of course) to remind them about the brand and encourage continued engagement. Promotions data can also be analyzed to determine key learnings for future campaigns, such as areas for potential growth.

Anne Casey is GMR’s Director of Promotions with over 15 years of consumer promotions experience. Her team of experts creates promotions that build brands, create seamless consumer experiences, and deliver exceptional results.

As a seasoned promotions agency, GMR provides scalable, full-service promotional services across all areas of promotion development and management—engaging thousands of consumers monthly through a wide range of digital platforms. 

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