I believe it will.
Normally, I would not discuss politics on a sweepstakes blog post. However, I believe the 2016 election results will change the face of sweepstakes; on both sides of the hobby.
The day after the election my social feeds were full of people stating once President-Elect Trump was sworn in they would be changing their travel plans. What was more amazing to me, depending on where my followers resided, it determined what their future plans were.
I decided to post my opinion on my business Facebook page. I was not prepared for the onslaught of comments, especially considering I have been the target of online flame wars and have developed a thick skin.
Here’s what promotional changes I believe will occur over the next 12-48 months, specifically related to travel contests, that caused the ruckus:
Contestors in the United States will choose to only enter travel sweepstakes with prizes limited to the 50 states and Washington D.C.
Contestors outside of the United States will choose to avoid all travel sweepstakes with prizing to the United States and instead, focus on prizes to all other parts of the world.
When the above occurs, based upon promotional analytics, marketers in the United States will stop offering global travel prizes and global marketers will stop offering travel prizes to the United States.
Companies do not host giveaways from the goodness of their hearts. It’s all about results, as all marketing activities must eventually result in sales. If entrants are not longer entering specific sweepstakes out of fear, anger, etc., then marketers will change tack to one that will garner results they are seeking.
This will mean the end of all experiential travel prizing, for anyone not living in the United States, to great events such as: sports finals (eg. the Super Bowl), award shows (eg. the Oscars), meeting celebrities (eg. at movie premiers), etc., and Americans will no longer be able to enjoy world travel for free.
So what could you win instead? I believe there will be an increase in electronics prizing along with gift cards. Both are easier to manage for agencies and are enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
This hobby is supposed to be fun! How could the embroiled emotions of the election spill over into an activity that was happy, exciting, rewarding and joyful? I had everything from: commenters supporting me, attacking me, agreeing with each other and slamming each other. I was even blocked from commenting on my own post!
My role in the community is to take what I see and learn as a Sweepstakes Marketing Consultant and teach it to contestors so they can:
- stop making silly mistakes that disqualify them, especially in social sweeps,
- discern a scam from a legitimate giveaway,
- and, inform them of changes in the promotional industry such as new social platforms, apps, laws, etc.
It works conversely for marketers. Helping contestors enter better increases the ROI for every promotion my followers enter correctly.
Somehow, in that role as a contest teacher, I inadvertently touched a nerve while voicing an educated option.
What does the backlash I experienced mean for marketers?
It means, as much as the United States is divided in their politics, selecting prizing for future promotions will have to be more carefully considered than ever before if the sponsor wants to maintain or increase the ROI from each giveaway. Prizing must have universal appeal, versus prizes that will potentially polarize followers, entrants, prospects and customers.
What would that look like?
Regardless of politics or potential polarization prizing should always tie into your branding and message. Sweepstakes should always be part of your overall marketing plan. All online and offline activities should support each other. For some reason, many companies treat social media and sweepstakes marketing as entities unto themselves and that defeats the purpose of reaching out to prospects and customers in an effective manner.
If you are a resort, you should be offering free stays as prizes or tickets to special on-site events. If you are an airline, it makes sense to give away free flights. However, if you are an auto parts dealer, giving away a trip makes no sense. Neither does a big screen TV. Tool sets, branded swag from suppliers and tickets to any local automotive events do.
With your annual marketing plan in mind, along with your objectives, your social media calendar, and your scheduled sweepstakes, work backward to figure out what prizing would be best for you to achieve your goals.
Will your sweepstakes marketing plan include travel over the next four years?