One thing's for sure, promotions themed to events typically draw better numbers than their generic counterparts. Memories, nostalgia, desire and excitement all drive interest and traffic to promotions that evoke an event’s spirit. At Launchfire, we’ve created and executed themed promotions for 15 years so I figured I’d call on our brain trust to give you some insights.
I asked our founder John Findlay for his input. We talked about prizing strategy:
“You don’t have to give away the farm to get your core demographic excited. One of the first big promos we ran (just after the Ice Age!) was for an NHL sponsor. The program ran during the NHL playoffs and the grand prizes were vintage NHL hockey sweaters. The program drew huge numbers despite the fact that the prizes were only worth a couple of hundred bucks each. That's because the prizing struck a chord with the target demo. NHL fans love their merch and they love vintage merch even more. I guess the lesson for us was that in some cases inexpensive prizing can still be highly magnetic”
I also picked his brain about planning and timing:
“Start early. The more time you have to plan, the fewer headaches you’ll have closer to launch. I remember doing a promotion with one of the major professional sports leagues and they insisted on having 6 weeks to review and approve graphics for the program. Fortunately our client had gotten things rolling early enough that we could still deliver on time. If not, we’d have been screwed. Another advantage of starting early is that you have the necessary time to reserve and leverage house media. If you’re not planning far enough advance many of your options will have already been reserved for other programs and you’ll have to rely entirely on paid media to drive traffic.”
Our co-founder and head of sales AJ Pratt chimed in:
“In a perfect world, you start work on a promotion 4 months before the event happens. That way you’ve got one month to pick a vendor, a couple of weeks to finalize the details, six weeks to hammer out the work, and the last month to run the promo leading up to the event. I’m always willing to give a better deal to a client that plans farther in advance because it’s easier to schedule and we have more time to build something awesome. I know that perfect world rarely exists, and you CAN get a promotion done quickly, really quickly even, but it might be more expensive and tougher to hammer out”
He also gave some tips about promotional strategy:
“Remember you aren’t promoting the event. You’re using the event to promote your brand. Go into the promotion with a clear understanding of the KPIs used to measure your success. Whether it’s email opt-ins or a bump in sales or educating consumers about your products, make sure you know what your goals are upfront. ”
Finally I talked to Alex Lemaire, our in-house super robot
“The best advice I could give: use technology to support your campaign's mission, rather than trying to force-fit a social network or technology as its centrepiece. That next breakout social net won't always pay out; sacrificing your message to work in untested spaces or those whose marketing rules handcuff on a whim could leave things hollow. Do share your goals and vision with your tech group during the creative phase, and gather input on tools that can craft the experience that's sought (whether it's commerce, relationships, profiling, gamification, proximity, email marketing, etc.). Nerds can surprise!"