Navigating the online contest trend

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Navigating the online contest trend
Navigating the online contest trend

Marketers are increasingly using web-based sweepstakes and contests in their integrated marketing campaigns, bringing a classic direct marketing tactic to consumers via the Internet. Brands that have recently employed web-based sweepstakes include tortilla company Mission Foods, Kodak and Ragu.

Companies use web-based contests to increase their engagement with consumers and to add a valuable element to their websites, said Norma Rojas, senior marketing director at Mission Foods, which launched the “Mission Menus Challenge” competition in late June.

“The reason why we have a contest primarily online is to enhance and strengthen the campaign overall,” she said. “We are doing this right now as a way to engage people who use our product.... I think the online contest is a great component.”

Mission Foods' integrated effort also contains TV, out-of-home, a microsite, social media, e-mail and in-store signage.

The contest encourages consumers to enter to win a $10,000 kitchen appliance.

Rojas added that making the contest customer-friendly is a priority for marketers.

“We wanted to make sure it's easy to find and to fill out the forms, and that it doesn't take a long time,” she said.

Kodak launched a business-to-business contest last month to promote its i4000 Series of scanners with digital and direct agency Catalyst, its longtime direct marketing partner. Online contests also allow brands to repeatedly communicate with customers who have opted in for further communications, notes Frank Magnera, account director at Catalyst.

“Any contest or sweepstakes where you can continue to reach out to folks after they have registered is a way to keep your name top of mind,” he said, adding that contests also work best with recipients who have some knowledge of the product being given away. “We find early in the process that everyone wants to win something, but it's not very attractive to someone who doesn't know anything about the scanner.

But when we've been communicating on a regular basis, we find out they're much more interested.”

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