With both Mercedes-Benz and Audi both running high-profile
social networking contests integrated with their Super Bowl
marketing efforts, it's clear that contest marketing has evolved to
a whole new level. Forrester Research notes that "50% of online
users like to enter a contest or sweepstakes at least once a month
and businesses that offer contests have twice as many social
network followers." We predict this trend to continue and see 2011
as "the year of the contest" as it becomes the central tactic for
social media engagement. How long will the trend last? When will
contests go the way of "quizzes" on Facebook? This will depend on
how committed marketers are to the new engagement marketing
paradigm and the depth of their overall social strategy. Will this
tactic help your business or organization to achieve its marketing
One obvious outcome is to build buzz. And there's no question
about it - a successful contest can quickly generate a lot of
exposure by capturing attention and gaining connections through
The problem with buzz.
It's the bee and the flower syndrome - buzz is fleeting. As
quickly as it comes, it goes. For a bee, the flower is the prize.
But once the bee has had its fill, it's off to the next flower, or
in this case, once your contest is over, your newly minted "fan"
moves on to the next hot topic of the day. The reality is that just
because you've gained a "link" doesn't mean that you've won a
"fan". Building buzz, therefore, is just one out of many outcomes
gained from contests.
Contest Marketing can help you achieve these goals as well:
- Build Your Brand. Increase Awareness. Many of your new
"contestant" connections on your social media platforms may not
know your brand. This is a great opportunity to share who and what
your company is all about. Keep the conversation online casual.
Remember this is not a sales pitch or one-sided conversation. It's
important to ask questions too.
- Build Feedback. Gain Insights. Think of your newly increased
database as more than a list of emails with inboxes just waiting
for your next swanky e-blast campaign. It's so much more than that.
Your database is a potential think tank. Instead of highly paid
consultants or experts, you have access to a constant stream of
thoughts, opinions and ideas from those who know or care about your
company. Hey, if it works for Starbucks, imagine what it can do for
- Build Loyalty. Achieve Lasting Success. Humphrey Bogart said to
Louie at the end of Casablanca, "I think this is the beginning of a
beautiful friendship," - the same sentiment should hold true for
you. The end of your contest marks the beginning of an opportunity
to create true fans. You've created a connection, and now it's up
to you to turn it into a relationship. You have the platforms in
place; use them by engaging with your base on every level. From
providing quick updates to asking questions and even doing more
contests - you will turn buzz into a constant hum of activity.
Remember, creating buzz is a short-term goal of Contest
Marketing. Gaining a loyal following is what you really should be
striving for if you want long-term success. Don't be a one-hit
Next week we'll talk about what you need to do to implement a
This is the first installment in a month-long series about