Contests catch the frenzy of customers instantly. It is an effective guerrilla marketing technique which ensures high gains with little injection of investment. What goes behind it and what it does for your business? Let us find out

Contests entice us and deep down we all believe and hope that we would emerge as winners. The ‘hope’ factor is the sentiment that retailers are cashing on. We often read at restaurants, markets, malls or business trade shows, ‘Drop in your business cards or personal details and entitle yourself to win prizes’. People do so and go back thinking that their luck would pay off and they would win. But what retailers are doing is creating a customer base by means of an activity to engage customers. Contests are practices which help a brand gain maximum exposure with the minimum amount of investment. 

An initiative 
PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd came out with the ‘Give Us your Dillicious Flavour’ contest for ‘Lays’. Here people had to submit their flavour and get a chance to win prizes worth Rs 50 lakh and more. Participants had to send in a flavour name for Lays potato chips along with a slogan starting with the words ‘Lays should make my flavour coz….’ They received about 1.3 million entries from which they will soon be announcing four winners. The flavours sent by these four will be made and be put on sale in the market by Lays for a period of about two months. Then the customers will be voting after tasting the flavours and the ultimate winner will be awarded a huge sum of money and a percentage of its sales.  

In such an activity, the company gained significant PR by organising this contest. The PR benefits are on a roll: first was the announcing of the contest, then the declaration of four winners and finally the one final winner. In guerrilla fashion, the cost of this contest would be minimal. The time donated to the winner was considered a sampling and resulted in paid work subsequent to the contest, all classic guerrilla feats. This works well for brand popularity.  

The idea
The primary purpose of a contest is to get together a list of entrants. This helps the brand gather and maintain a list of potential and interested customers who have a keen interest in the brand. The investment for the effort while introducing a contest for a targeted list is a small investment compared to the potential returns that are expected. Also having more than one winner for a contest is an added advantage. This way there are more prospects that can spread a good word about a brand and their services which means more business for you.  

Measuring the effectiveness
The effectiveness of any tactic is what marketers look forward to when they devise a marketing strategy. The advantage which is prevalent not just with marketing through contests but with all guerrilla marketing techniques is that their effectiveness is easy to measure. With respect to contests, the number of people who participate in it helps you know the effectiveness of your contest idea. For Lays, about 1.3 million people sent entries, so it directly shows the effect the contest has on people. It also gives them a picture as to how much they need to produce and how many people would try the new flavours once they launch them in the market. This is a clear indication of the efficacy of their marketing technique.  

End note
Contests are just one way to get you a knock for your marketing initiatives. With slight investment you can reap great benefits. If you still have not put this technique to use for your brand, you would want your marketing team to start working on it to raise your earnings.

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