In my role, I am constantly preparing marketing strategies for my clients and during the first briefing meeting, I always make sure they realise that the best campaign in the world won’t get any entries if people don’t know about it. It is critical at the planning stage of the campaign to think about other opportunities to promote and raise awareness amongst your target audience.
If budget permits, advertising works well in terms of promoting campaigns.
While television has an impressive reach, online, radio, newspapers and magazines should all be considered. Also, think about targeted opportunities, for example, Facebook Ads or Google AdWords. You also need to look for complimentary websites and other online platforms relevant to your key demographics.
From experience working in both the PR and promotional marketing environments, mainstream media rarely picks up promotions unless you are willing to put in some money, your approach is exceptionally different or unique, there is an amazing brand ambassador (think Richard Branson) or your prize is sensational. Even then it can be difficult. Remember: the best story is always at the mercy of a busy news day.
Having said this, coverage can be generated in marketing trade press to announce the start of a promotion or after it has been in-field as a case study for a relevant feature or in its own right. While this sort of publicity will not be consumer facing, it can be very worthwhile for businesses keen to build awareness among key marketers and decision makers.
In terms of consumer media, post campaign publicity can work if the prize is extraordinary and the winners are happy to be involved in interviews, photo opportunities and the like.
Local publications relating to the winners’ homes can be keen on stories like this if large prize pools are involved, an amazing holiday is won, etc. Local or suburban publicity can work well for clients who have physical stores in suburban areas and who want to raise awareness for their community involvement. Generally, if a client wishes to promote a promotion through PR, ensure you are involved in the early stages to lend your expertise and manage expectations from the outset. It is always important to keep in mind that while consumer promotions may look easy and can be hugely successful for your businesses and clients, promotions can have many pitfalls and it may be necessary to consult an expert. There is definitely a science behind running successful promotions and promoting them is an integral part of that science.