Category: Advertising

5 effective ways to run a successful competition

In the last blog post I told you all of the things you shouldn’t do when running competitions on Facebook…that’s a bit unfair unless I follow up with something a bit more empowering! So here it is…

1. Decide why you’re doing it:

a.) Encourage feedback. Use your competition to get feedback on which product your audience prefers, or to find out more about what they do on the weekend for example. Choose something that will benefit your marketing.

b.) Increase your audience. Ask a question like “give us your best caption for this photo” because the more people who answer the more you’ll fall into the newsfeeds of their friends, which will likely encourage some of them to participate.

c.) Generating leads. This is all about bringing people closer to your product so they’re more likely to buy it or enter their name in a mailing list. The idea here is that you’re using a light touchpoint to encourage people to give you a more permanent way for you to stay in touch, i.e. e-mail.

d.) Capturing data. Do you already have an email list but you want to know more about your audience and their preferences? You might want to get them to update their preferences (or even just a detail like their address) as part of a competition.

e.) Changing behaviour. A competition is a great way to reward people for changing their behaviour to suit you better. For example getting people to come see you in a quiet time rather than a peak time. They may need to enter during your quiet time, but make sure you leave enough time to give them a ‘thank you’ for entering that encourages them to experience wht you have to offer.

2. Use a prize that your target audience will love.

This is pretty obvious. And if you don’t know what type of prize your audience would love more, you could give them a choice. The upside here is that you also get to know your audience better.

3. Keep things simple.

The more hoops you make someone jump through the bigger the prize needs to be. The simpler you can keep it the better.

4. Celebrate the winner!

Too often competitions don’t make a big deal out of the draw, and then people wonder if it was legitimate or not. Make a big deal out of the winner so people are more likely to enter next time.


5. Measure.

Will you run the competition again? It should all come down to whether or not you achieved the goals you set out for in point number 1.

Remember there are some things you shouldn’t do when running a competition. If you missed those from the last blog post you can read them here.

The recent Bonds Baby Competition is a great example of using a competition to drive you closer, much closer, to their online store where they just happened to be having a 40% off sale. To participate you had to enter your email, then verify it with a link in your inbox. This is just one example of how you can move people from strangers through to likely customers in just a few clicks.

It all comes down to experimentation, and honing in on best results.

Remember, getting more likes and reactions isn’t everything!


Free resources


Your target customer is NOT everyone!

A few questions to warm you up…

Ever thought your customers were stupid for “just not understanding?”

Have you got one (or several) of those customers that just whinge all the time?

Do you doubt that your marketing is generating as much income as it costs you?

Then chances are, you haven’t determined your ideal customer. Stop thinking about what you like to tell everyone and start thinking about what your best customers care about.

Here are 5 things you need to know…

1. Effective businesses attract customers they don’t chase them.

Stop throwing stacks of money behind blanket advertising hoping to grab customers and tempt them to come in.

Know your ideal customer so you know where they are and what they’re doing. Then the aim is to become part of their lives.

There’s no use throwing TV ads on if your ideal customer loves outdoor adventure and is a dedicated watcher of the ad-free ABC.

Yet many businesses do just that…


2. You’ll have more than one ‘ideal customer’ type.

We often create buyer personas for one or two primary customer types. Then you might have a few other secondary customer types but my advice is to get really good at knowing your primary ‘ideal customer’ first. You want to create key marketing messages that hold true and authentic value. The trick is not to rely on blanket advertising to the masses otherwise you’ll confuse the market with mixed messages. Instead you’ll need to ensure you target those messages to where only those people see them. This is why digital and social channels are so beneficial. You can easily segment the ideal message to the ideal target customer.


3. It goes beyond how old they are, where they live and what’s between their legs.

Demographics are all about the measurable aspects of a person: Gender, Age, Income. The thing is today’s world is full of individuals.

People don’t hang out in age groups anywhere near as often as they used to. People are much more diverse than that now.

We want to understand what people value and the things they need/want in their lives to make their lives better. For this example, I’d like to point out for my international readers what a ‘bogan’ is. It’s a slang stereotype used in Australia and New Zealand, generally a lower working class or not working at all, that may be a bit uncouth or a bit loud (most Aussies have a bit of bogan in us somewhere). This explanation makes more sense soon…

To the example: I coached a retail store a few years back and they had two primary customers, one of whom were CUBs, also known as “Cashed Up Bogans.”

We knew that these guys (aka humans) were probably the first generation to have disposable wealth. They’re probably partners of FIFO workers or trades people and may not be quite as turned on by refinement as they are by features. They’d likely drive a top of the line Holden rather than a Mercedes. They’d more likely live in a suburb where the houses are new and big, rather than a leafy classic street of traditional homes. So why was knowing all this so important? Because the stock was bought with them in mind. They liked bigger things that were shiny, not the things that were handcrafted.

In the same way, any advertisements that you use would include the visuals and the messages that would appeal to this buyer.


4. Some customers just don’t want you…

Don’t take it personally (many business people do). Why don’t all those people want my product? It’s either because they don’t know yet why they need it (and you’ll need to focus on nurturing that relationship) or simply because they’ll never care about your product. It simply doesn’t fit in to their life, and you need to be Ok with that.


5. Stay focused, say no, hold your nerve.

Steve Jobs was well known for his ability to say no and stay focused on the project at hand. It’s that same focus that you need to have on matching what your business does best, with the buyers that want it most.

This will mean that you’ll get offers for advertising that sound like they’ll reach lots of people, but if they don’t reach the RIGHT people, you should feel comfortable to say no. With the focus on who you do want, and who will likely want you, you’ll notice that those customers who are problematic eventually aren’t there anymore, replaced with more of those that are easier to serve.


Create your own buyer personas:

So now that we’ve determined your target audience isn’t “everyone”, I want to give you something that will help you ‘profile’ your ideal customer/s.

Here’s a simple chart to get you thinking about what makes your ideal customer tick. Click on the image below, or download it here.

Buyer Persona worksheet download


13 Tips for Effective Sponsorships

If you’ve ever given out money under the guise of ‘sponsorship’ then this is an important read!

My experiences over the years have had me on both sides of the sponsorship equation – both the sponsor and the sponsored. After 20 years of delivering events, I know how important sponsors are but I also noticed that many don’t actually leverage their sponsorship well. Some expect it to behave like an advertisement and see immediate conversion of strangers to customers…and that’s a mistake.

Let’s take a look at a few key points on sponsorships…

1. What’s your motivator?
Know how to identify which category a ‘request for sponsorship’ actually fits into – is it philanthropy or a true sponsorship?

Philanthropy – you contribute to a positive event for humanity with little fanfare or expectation of being recognised. It is most often done by the owner of the business, an individual or a committee within a business. Whilst Warren Buffet gave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $31bn in past years, philanthropy is not just for the rich. Most of us have been philanthropists at some point when we give a donation without ever expecting anything back.

Sponsorships – are usually managed by the marketing department and should provide a return on investment including publicity and a strong chance to meet defined outcomes for the business (particularly the chance to generate awareness or initial connections with a target audience). Business is business… you should always expect a return of some degree and this should be much more than having your logo included on something. This must be an opportunity for you to connect with your target audience in a way that will be a competitive advantage for your business – the same as any marketing activity.

The line between philanthropy and sponsorship has become blurred amongst many organisations in the past years. It’s time to get back to doing things for their original intended purpose, not just sponsoring things because ‘you should’. Be clear on ‘why’ you’re doing it.

2. Does it fit your values?
There is no way that Fortescue metals Group  would be getting approached to sponsor a Greens Party convention. It just wouldn’t be the right fit! When your business has clearly defined brand foundations you’ll easily know if the opportunity reinforces your unique brand values. It should build integrity in what you stand for. Having your name aligned with something that doesn’t match your values will water down trust in what you stand for. For example: Effective Naturally supports projects that encourage an audience to re-imagine possibilities, it should affect change by addressing the cause (not the symptom) and should be a touchpoint that leaves a long-lasting impression by bringing people together rather than be divisive. The sponsorship becomes an example of what your business stands for.

3. Does it speak to your target audience?
McDonalds are great at sponsoring items that connect directly to their core market – kids! There is no credibility or marketing advantage to be won by sponsoring something that doesn’t involve your staff or your target market. Origin Energy have a policy on sponsoring things that are important to their employees in turn generating a ripple effect of advocacy from employees and their pockets of community around them.

4. Are you buying connection, awareness, or neither?
Most sponsorships offer your logo being shown on things. The bigger your logo the better right? Not necessarily! We’ve previously discussed how having your logo in the wrong place can do you damage. Even the type of paper your logo is printed on could leave an impression in people minds. Big logos feed the personal ego, but unless you’re a flamboyant brand where bigger is always better, then being subtle will earn you more respect. In our years of producing in-stadium media for the AFL, we were always careful not to chop off the goal replay on the superscreen with a sponsor logo – just imagine how that would upset footy fans! Your sponsorship should always be seen to enhance the experience not interrupt it.

If your product can be used to enhance the experience, and thus get it in the hands of potential customers in a way they appreciate, that’s even better!

5. Be consistent in decisions and justify it
Just yesterday I said no to a great cause for just $50. Why? Because although it was a great cause and it brought happiness to people, it didn’t provide sustainable benefit which is one of our criteria. I explained “We would sponsor every great cause if we could but it just doesn’t help us concentrate in the difference we really wish to make.” It doesn’t get easier and I prefer to do it in person. More importantly, out of respect to the person who has taken the time to contact you (probably because they like your brand) do it within a reasonable time frame (7-14 days maximum).

6. Is it value for money?
This is where the philanthropy side may come in if it’s OK value but you really want to support it anyway. Sponsorships can be a better way to spend marketing budget because unlike an advertisement it gives you a number of touchpoints to build a relationship that one-way marketing doesn’t provide. The best sponsorships will include opportunities to attract new people, get people talking about you (or your event), a chance for you to connect in person and some digital component. Whether it’s good value or not depends on how many of your target market you’re likely to have those touchpoints with in relation to the cost.

7. How does it meet your outcome?
Be 100% clear on what you want and how you expect it to be measured. Have a clear agreement on outcomes, but keep the journey itself flexible and adaptable to maximise opportunities along the way. No sponsorship will ever deliver to the expectations of the sponsor, if the expectations weren’t clearly defined in the first place.

8. Be prepared to spend more
When you buy a sponsorship, you’re buying the rights to leverage off the success and brand of the sponsored item. Some proposals will be highly inclusive of benefits, others will be the bare minimum. I see so many organisations pay a sponsorship sum and have their logo on something but do nothing more to add value to that sponsorship, mostly because they spent their whole budget on getting the sponsorship. This is where they fail.

If you spend $5,000 on a sponsorship, make sure you have at least a couple grand to activate it. If it’s a kids event, you might provide something for the parents that makes their day easier. They’ll appreciate it and you get much more connection with people doing that than you would if they just saw your logo as a Gold sponsor.

A classic case study is the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Ansett spent $40-$50 million dollars to be the official airline but left themselves little budget to advertise the fact. Qantas started planning ahead in 1998 by signing on as a major sponsor for Cathy Freeman so they were synonymous with her by the time the Olympics happened, and bought a $7m Olympics advertising package with the Seven network. They simply activated better and according to Roy Morgan research, more Australians (42%) thought Qantas was one of the Sydney Olympics corporate sponsors than did Ansett (15%).

9. Collaborate and Leverage
If the work you’re doing on a sponsorship ends once you’ve done the agreement then it’s probably not going to be a great deal. One of the first questions a person requesting your sponsorship should ask, is “what do you need to achieve?” – and that’s when the collaboration should begin. There should be a good degree of discussion on how your goals will be met and how your connection with the event / cause will add value to the audience experience. Also look at how you can leverage the relationship with other partners again working together to be bigger than yourself alone.

10. Think Big!
Be prepared to get creative and think about how and when your target audience is likely to connect with the item you’re sponsoring (be it an event, sporting team, flying doctor aircraft etc). When your audience interact or see the item you’ve supported it should give them a positive gut feeling. Don’t be afraid to think big – if you’re a real estate agent, you might choose to support an event that brings people in to your sales location. When those people think of buying, that particular real estate agent would be top of mind. In short, work out how you can be in the right place at the right time in front of the right people.

11. Help people feel good
It comes back to that saying “People forget what you say, they forget what you do, but they never forget how you made them feel”. This ability to ‘move’ people is an unbeatable value of sponsorships. It also builds on Tip. 4 about enhancing the experience.

12. Make it personal
Another quote comes to mind “People do business with people”. If you have the opportunity to create an event around your sponsored item, or maybe include your staff as volunteers to enhance an event then it’s a great way to build meaningful relationships with your target market.

13. Give yourself time!
Most major organisations want at least 6 months notice to activate a sponsorship for a couple of reasons. First so they can budget for it in their marketing budget, and secondly so they can have time to think creatively, get the signage and collateral in to place, maybe order more stock and ensure you get to sprout about the relationship in all of your communications over the period. Of course it also means you get 6 months worth of touch points rather than just activating for the day or two when something’s happening.

The Final Advantage: 
 Sponsorships can be a highly valuable opportunity to connect with your audience in this new world of business driven by trust. It’s said that it takes 7 good touch points to move a person from being a stranger to a customer and a sponsorship can help you hit multiple touch points. It should build relationships, leave impressions that reinforce your brand and it should help your business get to where it wants to be. With defined outcomes, the decision on whether or not it meets objectives should always be clear.

If you’d like to read more articles about current marketing trends, perspectives and effective techniques, grab access to my blog here and also see the article about how to track which 50% of your marketing works.

Which 50% of your marketing works?

Hi there! 

I can’t tell you how many people I bump in to that use the line “we know half of our marketing works, we just don’t know which half!” It’s meant to be a joke but it’s really not funny.

What they’re really saying is, “I have no idea how useful 100% of my marketing budget is and I don’t even try to measure it.”

As a brand strategist I know the power of emotion to move people. Emotion though is hard to track…but it’s not impossible. And it’s certainly not impossible to measure the effect of other marketing activities either.

Now measuring marketing activities isn’t easy and I admit that, that’s why there are trained marketers that do what they do, but without measurement I can guarantee you’re throwing your money away.

So…here’s what you need to do:

1. Start to measure

The most basic thing you can do is measure how many units of something you’re selling each day, week or month (dependent on how your business works). Then compare periods. 

If there are differences, ask yourself what’s changed in the market place and what marketing have you done differently. It seems really obvious, but it’s amazing how often this isn’t being done.



2. Don’t start any marketing without a plan

And by a plan I mean knowing what the purpose of the campaign is, what effects you expect to see and how you’ll measure it.

It could be as simple as asking your staff to ask customers how they heard about you or by including a drop-down option on your website ‘contact us’ form.

If you know what the outcome is expected to be, that will give you a hint on how you’re going to measure it. Get creative.


3. Use a calendar to measure 

Do you have your Google Analytics account, and do you check the stats to see how many people visited your site on any given day or time? If you do, then grab a blank calendar and draw in the dates that you had specific marketing activity that promoted your website. Then look for correlation between what marketing activity you had on any particular day, and see if it correlates to any changes on your website.

For one client we knew they had an average of 17 unique users per day on a particular product page but when they had a quality TV ad running that pointed to this product, it went up to 90 during the viewing period.

We couldn’t be 100% sure it was the TV ad, but it happened again the same week. When the TVC stopped, it started to average out again. Of course this didn’t turn directly in to sales, but we know it had an effect in bringing people closer and then looked at how well the website was performing.


4. Cause and effect isn’t linear

One doesn’t simply put an advert in the paper and have it convert directly to a sale. It’s general marketing understanding that it takes at least seven touch points in order to move a person from being a lead to being a sale. 

This is one reason social media is such an important tool. Because of this, it can be helpful to measure other stages in building the relationship, not just the sale. For example, measure the cost of each person that likes your Facebook page, then measure the cost of getting them to eventually become a customer (there will be a few other stages in between). Experienced marketers will be measuring the cost of delivering each of the touchpoints in their control and working out which ones have the greatest effect.


5. The trend is your friend

Not every day is a good day. Even on social media, you win some, you lose some. For all of our clients we track which posts people like the most and which ones they don’t. It allows us to get to know them better and deliver messages that add value to their lives.

Yes we measure and analyse data from the emails we send out, including how many people clicked through to our blog. It’s not ‘big brother’, it’s us wanting to know what you value most without annoying you by ‘sending out a survey’. This allow us to provide you with content that’s valuable to you, our intended audience. 


These points are only a very basic starting point, but something is better than nothing!


The point

  • If you don’t try to measure then you could be (actually you definitely are) spending a lot of money that’s having no effect at all, and at worse could actually be turning customers away…but how would you know?
  • Measurement also allows you to get to know what your customers want and care about the most. In a world that has as much competition in it as ours does, understanding what your target customer cares about is essential.


Contact us to see how we can partner with you to help you build a brand people rave about.