2016 Promotions: 3 Things You Can’t Ignore

At a time when consumers continue to have more options when it comes to how they make product purchases, one thing remains constant – their buying decisions continue to be influenced by incentive-based programs like rebates and sweepstakes.  Here’s the proof – a January 2016 article from Chief Marketer shared the average North American consumer is enrolled in a whopping 13 loyalty and promotional programs that include features like points, discounts and rebates. And according to Jupiter Research, 80% of internet users participate in a sweepstakes at least once per year.

So in a landscape where trends are constantly changing and the latest, greatest gadget gets the most attention, why are consumers still drawn to traditional promotional tactics that have been around since the dawn of marketing? Because if they’re done right, they remain engaging, require minimal effort to participate, and offer big incentives that come in endless shapes and sizes.

If you’re ramping up for a new rebate, contest or sweepstakes, here are three things you can’t ignore in the planning process:

#1 – Your Data

Everyone is talking about ‘Big Data’ these days. And even though it’s a term that many people can’t even define, it’s not stopping people from talking about it. Regardless of its meaning, the reality is this – data is important. There’s not a single industry that doesn’t benefit from it, from manufacturing to retail, and every market in between.

SAS, a leader in business analytics software, reports that by 2020 the total amount of data stored globally is expected to be 50X greater than it is today. But having all that data is only half the battle. You need to leverage that data for you and your customers’ benefit.

Gather it. Whether you’re running a single or multi-channel promotion, it’s critical to gather as much data as possible from your audience, without making it difficult for them. Data points that are typically collected include name, email address, mailing address telephone number, and product related questions. Today, most brands consider email addresses and product related questions to be the most valuable data point. But whatever data points you’re gathering, make sure you’re collecting it in the most seamless way possible for your audience.

Consolidate it. Today’s technology allows us to more easily gather data from multiple sources. Once you have it, it’s important to consolidate all of your data into a centralized hub so you can easily access it and analyze it. Make sure you’re not leaving any data behind – consolidate from all of your sources (email, website, social media, in-store, mail-in, etc.)

Analyze it. Marketing success doesn’t come from having the data. It comes from analyzing the data to see when, where and how your audience is interacting with your brand – whether it’s submitting a rebate, entering a contest or making a purchase. So it’s not really about having ‘big’ data, it’s about having actionable data that paints a clear picture of what your audience is up to, so you can plan your next smart promotion.

#2 – The Social Scene

It’s no secret that social media has changed the way in which brands communicate and engage with their audience. Sweepstakes and contests are no longer a stranger to Facebook and Twitter. And more recently, growing social channels like Instagram are getting in on the action. Here’s why brands should leverage social media when it comes to planning their next promotion:

Easy to Manage. Getting a social media sweepstakes or contest up and running is a fairly simple task to execute, with the proper guidance from a promotions expert. A promotions partner will make sure all the details are buttoned up, from your entry form to the promotion rules. It is particularly important from a legal standpoint to have your promotion set up correctly, and a promotions expert will make sure that happens.

Easy to Participate. Social networks make it easy for users to engage with online promotions. Through a simple Facebook Like or a Twitter retweet, consumers are engaged and brands are benefitting. And don’t forget about Instagram, which is proving to be another popular social channel for running contests and offering rebate promotions. According to Social Media Examiner, half of the world’s top 100 brands are now on Instagram. And in September 2015, they surpassed over 400 million monthly active users – that’s more than Twitter. Not too bad for a social media channel that was only born five years ago. Another great aspect of social promotions is they are extremely shareable – users can simply tag another social user to share promotional content and effortlessly increase exposure for the brand.

There’s no sign that social media promotions are slowing down any time soon. In fact, more networks have made their presence known just in the past few months. With over 100 million daily active users and 400 million ‘snaps’ per day, Snapchat is another fast-growing social network that brands are beginning to leverage for promotions. It currently draws a young audience – about three-quarters of users are 18 to 34 year olds.

#3 – The Millennial March

There’s no denying it – millennials are a force to be reckon with. They are young adults born between 1980-2000 (currently in their 20s and 30s). Here’s what research is saying about this important demographic:

They’ve Got Spending Power. Currently, millennials spend about $600 billion annually. By 2020, their U.S. spending power is projected to grow to $1.4 trillion annually and represent about 30 percent of total retail sales.

They’re Willing to Get Personal. As long as there’s a tangible benefit in it for them, millennials are more willing than older generations of consumers to allow access to their personal data and web behavior. And when their personal information is involved, millennials are more receptive to targeted advertising. This is good news for marketers, especially those that are already tracking their data and tailoring unique rebate and contest offerings to their consumers.

Make 2016 your year to embrace data, social media and the millennial market when it comes to your next rebate program or sweepstakes contest. If you need help getting started, Promotion Fulfillment Center can help. Contact us today and see how we can be your expert promotions partner.