Product review sweepstakes are common place and just this year, the NAD released new guidelines regarding disclosure requirements.
Anywhere that product reviews are incentivized by a prize should somewhere show a brief disclosure about the connection between the review and the incentive.
“Advertisers incentivizing reviews with sweepstakes or contest entries should ensure that such reviews contain a disclosure regarding the material connection between the entrant and the advertiser.” Read more here.
Below are a few examples of how a manufacturer or retailer displays a disclosure for product reviews that are associated to a sweepstakes.
1. Raymour & Flanigan
Hashtags are all the rage, and it's no surprise they are seeping into the realm of social promotions. While we can all agree that saying the words "hashtag" and some other term should really be outlawed, when put into practice, these little guys have become quite the resource, allowing people to view all related posts to trending topics, current events, or even all of those pictures that should have stayed buried.
The next logical step, of course, is for brands to utilize this tool when engaging their audience in campaigns and promotions.
Here's the catch - the FTC ruled that all hashtag promotions require a disclosure. More specifically, that "entry into a contest to receive a significant prize in exchange for endorsing a product through social media constitutes a material connection that would not reasonably be expected by viewers of the endorsement," wrote Mary Engle, the FTC's associate director for advertising practices. You can read more about this ruling here.
So, you've seen the recent promotions with hashtags and disclosures. In fact, just look up #contest on any social media site, and you can find many examples. One promotion we worked on was the #WAHLGroomedContest.
There you have it. Still have questions? Don't hesitate to give us a call!
This is the first blog of our “B2B Loyalty” blog series—we’re really excited about it and we hope you enjoy the content. So, let’s get started…
B2B – we hear it all the time in the business world. But let’s get the definition out of the way… According to the infamous Wikipedia, “Business-to-business (B2B) is commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.” So, obviously, the opposite would be B2C or Business-to-consumer.
Loyalty – let’s get that definition cleared up as well… Again, same highly regarded source, “Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause.” Interestingly enough, as you read further about this definition, it’s mentioned that many argue that an object of loyalty should only be a human being… but we very frequently use the term “Brand Loyalty” in the marketing world—And in this case, the object of loyalty would be a brand… definitely not a human being. On the contrary, however, humans or people are in fact the driver behind the life of a brand, so humans = brands… right? Ok, enough philosophy on that one… You get my drift.
Let’s dive in… When we put these two words together we get “B2B Loyalty”, hence the reason for this blog. If we consider the two separate definitions above, we can define this combined term as “Dedication to a brand from a business transaction perspective”. Simple, right? Maybe not. We’re here to explain the 3 different types of B2B Loyalty as well as highlight some examples in the real business world of how rewards programs heighten the importance of this topic. So, here it goes:
(1) Manufacturer to Dealer
The first B2B loyalty scenario involves a manufacturing company distributing products to dealer companies to sell those products in their region or territory. The dealer and their sales associates are loyal to the manufacturer’s brand(s) when they sell the brand product(s) to their customers. But why be loyal when the dealer has other competitor manufacturer products to sell as well? That’s when B2B loyalty comes to play… here are great examples:
Mack Bulldog Club
According to the related case study, this incentive program is intended for Mack Trucks to reward their dealers and their sales people upon completion of training and sales performance. Mack Bulldog Club is a tiered, points-based program with rewards that include experiences and cash. What does the program achieve? Sales growth and increased market share. All business people praise these terms!
SAP PartnerEdge Loyalty
Bloomberg Businessweek highlights this program in a research case study, explaining the importance of driving channel partner performance. With the SAP PartnerEdge program, partners are being rewarded for activities such as sales and training (repeating trend here, same activities as the Mack program highlighted above). The case study mentions that because there’s an integrated rewards system, the partners are focused on selling SAP’s products and services over SAP’s competitors. That’s loyalty at its best!
(2) Company to Company
The 2nd type of B2B loyalty is when a company sells its product(s) or service(s) to another company. The selling company’s client, so to speak, is the buying company who, in theory, purchases from the selling company to assist their business goals and objectives. The purpose of integrating loyalty in this scenario is to show commitment to a client company, and in the end, fostering a long-term buying relationship that retains that company’s business. Here are a couple very good examples of this B2B loyalty relationship:
“U” Premier Loyalty Program
A great example of a loyalty program for B2B clients is highlighted in this Marketing.org article. The “U” Premier program is offered by PHX, a provider of one-stop cost-management services for health-care companies. The company wanted to try something completely different in its industry, so they started a platform that encouraged education and incentives for its client companies. The points-driven, tier-level program (again, another trend) rewards clients based on tenure, claims, and activity completion such as a survey. Among many achievements, the feedback and knowledge gained to realize the potential of better servicing their clients is probably the most important. At the end of the day, the selling company recognizes loyalty of its buying company clients by the noticeable staying power and activity within its precise program.
Starwood Preferred Guest Pro
This is a great example of taking an existing B2C loyalty program (in this case, the audience of hotel guest customers) and expanding it into the B2B space. This Loyalty360 article explains it very well—Starwood Hotels created the Pro version in order to recognize the business received from company meeting planners and travel associates… it’s simple, every time a business event is booked, the company receives rewards points and access to other great benefits. As stated on the program’s page, “Earn for work. Redeem for fun – business has never been so personal.” It’s a genius idea.
(3) Company to Employees
The last type is probably the most common… A company shows their loyalty to their employees by recognizing achievements and performance. You will frequently see service awards that reward ‘x’ years of service to the company. However, there is so much opportunity to integrate a full-fledged program with multiple types of recognition… this really creates a positive impact with a company’s workforce. In the end, employees will be highly engaged in their work, and the company will see increased employee retention, and most important, profitability. Here are a couple examples of an employee recognition program:
This Scotiabank website link talks a little bit about their industry-leading, international recognition program. The program is structured so that employees can both send and receive recognition based on different values and behaviors. “Applause points” are awarded to be redeemed on the rewards catalog. The online platform also integrates their “Best of the Best” program that highlights their best employees, judged based on four key areas: people, customer, operational and financial. What a great way to engage employees in two-way communication and recognizing leaders within a company organization.
Intuit Spotlight Awards
One of Intuit’s values is “It’s the People”, as mentioned on an Intuit site page. The company truly recognizes that their people are the driving force behind their success, and they’ve made a strategic decision to invest in their recognition program. Another source explains that the program is very versatile making it ideal to reward employees for both small and large achievements, and their rewards can be redeemed for a variety of gift certificates. One differentiator of the program is their “Write Stuff” awards where the communications team is recognized for their writing skills… besides the cash prize involved, what makes this unique is they also get to display their award certificate for all other employees to see.
So, this isn't THE final word on sweepstakes vs contests - but you get what I mean. We've really only covered the basics, and you're welcome. We could write novels on this stuff, but we'll spare you. If you take anything away from our series, these next few points are it:
1) Sweepstakes are a random draw, and cannot require a purchase. Contests are "skills based" - meaning the entries will be judged, and the best one wins . There are legal reasons for this distinction, namely to prohibit illegal lotteries, (This is one of those junctures where a novel could start..)
2) Sweepstakes are great for building a customer base, email list, etc.
3) Contests engage your existing customer base. So, a good 1, 2 punch: Sweepstakes to build the list, and then a contest to further engage.
4) Regardless of the promotion you choose - you need rules. Because of the ever changing landscape of rules, regulations, and terms of service for various social networks (which is where many of these promotions are administered these days) - you should have them legally reviewed. This protects your brand and most importantly, the consumer.
5) Promotions can be as simple as a free product giveaway or as complex as a multi-level contest with judging and sweepstakes overlays, and trips around the world as prizes. Bottom line, if you have no idea where to start, consult an expert. We certainly would prefer you call us -- but I would definitely advise you to speak with someone who's done this before.
So, there you have it. A top line, birds eye view of sweepstakes and contests. If you ever want to dive into the details, give me a call!
Official Rules? Do we need them? Short answer: yes.
This comes up more often than you'd think. "But we're only giving away a T-shirt on Facebook, what's the big deal?!" The big deal is this: Rules protect your brand and your business. They also protect the consumer. They act as a contract. Do X, you could win Y. Otherwise, there are loopholes, and unclear promotions, and at the end of the day, a confused follower could become an upset follower. These days, the old mantra of "a happy customer will tell 1 person about your business and an unhappy one will tell 5 people about your business" still rings true -- but add some zeroes to that number. When you're simply trying to have some fun and give some things away - do it right. Don't open your brand up to potentially upsetting a customer. You certainly didn't mean to - but the whole issue could have been avoided with clear expectations for both parties, and that's where rules come into play.
Not to mention, rules are required by the FTC for any and all promotions. For exactly the reasons above, but mostly for the protection of the consumer. So, not only is it a best practice - it's the law.
We'll spare the gory details for now - but there are different laws for different states (that's why rules tend to be PAGES long - to satisfy ALL of those requirements in 1 document for a national or North American promotion). We've dealt with all sorts of promotions, and they are all different - and the laws are too. Based on the industry, the location of the promotion, the prize, the value of the prize, the type of business you have, etc.
Sounds scary, but really, as long as your "t's" are crossed, your brand will be protected. Still scared? Give us a call - we're here to help!
A great article from Marketing Profs - discussing the same: To support that blog we posted last week :)
At this point in your life, you have probably been targeted by hundreds, or even thousands of people, all trying to collect data about you and your habits. You may have been contacted over the phone by a telemarketer, or maybe you were contacted in the form of an online survey and asked to give your opinion on a product. Maybe you’ve had a visitor at your doorstep and have been asked to provide information on your political beliefs. Maybe you don’t even realize that you have been providing information about yourself and your habits every time you go grocery shopping and swipe that trusty rewards card. Regardless of how or why you are targeted, the point is that you are targeted for information, for your data, and it will never stop, because data is that important!
Have you ever wondered why Mr. XYZ wants to know when you last replaced your furnace filter, or how many cats you have living in your basement and what brand of food you buy for them? Well the answer is “big data.” It is about time that everyone realizes that “big data” is real, and utilizing it is one of the most important and sought after abilities one can leverage. In short, “big data” refers to any large amount of data that has been collected and has the ability to be mined for information. This collection of data may or may not be structured in a certain way. It may have been acquired from multiple sources. To the average eye, this data may seem to have no evident correlations amongst it whatsoever. Data analysts everywhere would like to disagree!
Allow me to provide a simple real-life scenario in which a grocery store can utilize “big data” that has been collected from their customers with rewards cards. By swiping your card, all sorts of data can be collected by the store, including what items you purchased, how many of each item you purchased, what time you checked out, how many sale items you purchased, how many non-sale items you purchased, at which location you shopped, how much you spent, how much you saved, how many coupons you brought with you (both store-created coupons and brand manufacturer coupons), and the list goes on and on. Somewhere, at grocery headquarters, this data gets dumped into a giant pot with other data from other stores, and from product manufacturers, and from transportation companies, and from any number of other sources. In a back room somewhere, there is an IT person crunching numbers and mining this expansive collection of data. Let’s take a look at the type of information some of these data analysts can pull when your data is combined with all of the other shoppers.
- Based on your purchase history, analysts can predict which coupons should be delivered to your doorstep, and which coupons you will likely just throw away. The best part is that these coupons or advertisements can be different for each and every shopper, based on their personal purchase history. This is not only beneficial to you, the customer, but it also benefits the grocer’s advertising ROI, and it helps to cut down on unnecessary environmental waste.
- They can use this data to understand how much of a certain product they are going through in a set amount of time. They also know that it generally takes the transportation company 3 days for this product to be shipped across country. All of this information will allow the purchasing team to more accurately predict how much of an item they need to order and when they need to order it to ensure that the shelves stay stocked, and the ingredients stay fresh! This cuts down on waste, and keeps the customers happy.
- Everyone knows that the grocery store can be a crowded scene around the holidays. But if you’re the manager, how do you know how many employees you need to schedule around these times? Well through some data analysis, the stores can predict how many shoppers to expect, which hours of the day will be the busiest, the average wait time between check-outs for each lane, how many lanes the store will need open to cut down on long lines and minimize the shopper’s wait time, and how many grocery bags to have stocked and ready to handle the rush!
The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to utilizing “big data” to understand your business and improve your decision making. But business owners are not the only ones to realize the importance and power of this data. Hackers and ill-intentioned techies know that businesses are the prime resources for expansive collections of data. From identity theft to the ability to sell the compromised data, there are numerous reasons that they want this data. The bottom line is that they want this data, and they will never stop trying to attain this data, because data is that important!
In my next article, we will look at some of the more common ways that a business’s data is compromised and ways to help safeguard your priceless collection of information.
All too often, the words "Contest" and "Sweepstakes" are used interchangeably with promotions. These 2 different types of promotions couldn't be any more different. We're going to do a series of blogs notating the distinct differences in each of these types of promotions, when to employ either tactic, and the legal watch outs for running such a promotion.
First, let's start with the basics, demonstrated in the image below. We'll go into detail on each of these items later in the series, but the most important thing to remember with sweepstakes and contests is that the key difference lies in how winners are chosen.
With a sweepstakes - entrants submit their contact information in exchange for a chance to win. It's as simple as that.
With a contest - the entrant submits something they've created (photo, recipe, song, etc), and the winner is chosen based on their skill. "The best _______ wins."
At the end of the day -- there's the difference. However, sometimes a sweepstakes could be "disguised" as a contest -- for instance -- you could have a photo submission promotion that would encourage entrants to submit photos - but the winner is chosen by random draw in the end. And, since we now know that when a winner is chosen by chance, it's a sweepstakes!