Julia Manoukian

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April 26, 2018

Improving Engagement for Experiential Contesting

Julia Manoukian

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What's your favorite game show? "Jeopardy?" "Wheel of Fortune?" "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

Imagine you could create a game that resonated with your audience as much these classic shows — the anticipation, the suspense, the thrill of the win. Experiential contests let you do just that. 

Why? Humans tend to be ambitious, and contests feed the insatiable need to compete. "For most people, there is something inexplicably compelling about the nature of competition," says Psychology Today.

Enter-to-win sweepstakes and giveaways have enormous reach at experiential events. They engage with your audience, boost brand loyalty, and customers can play along and win prizes.

They are also a rich source of active data. People are more likely to provide you with their personal information if there's a chance they will get something in return.

Wouldn't you spend a few minutes filling out a questionnaire if you had a good chance of winning something you really wanted?

You can then use these insights for personalization, segmentation and digital engagement.

But just how do you measure the return on contests? How do you really know if they're worth all the effort? This guide will help you and your agency partners track experiential contests. Find out how to use the right data, measure ROI properly and more.

Strategize, track and measure the ROI of your in-person marketing efforts with this guide.

Experiential Marketers Just Don't Know How to Measure Contests

Ask your marketing team about contest measurement. Do they know the ROI on contests? The answer is probably not, at least not yet. It might be something they've never even thought about.

The truth is, just one in five marketers can tie revenue to live events. That's a pretty poor statistic. Why spend money on contests and prizes if you're not going to get anything in return? No insights into what customers thought about your giveaways. No way to check what customers are saying on social media. Nothing.

The bulk of experiential marketers don't integrate contest measurement with the rest of their campaigns, which results in limited actionable insights — or no insights at all. In fact, contests are one of the least-measured components of any experiential campaign.

Vanity metrics — like the number of people who entered one of your contests — are only an early indicator of success. What do these really tell you about your experiential campaigns? You might have a rough idea of how well your contests engaged with customers, but not much else.

Why You Need an Integrated Contesting Solution

An integrated contesting solution that monitors customers online and offline is critical. It lets you measure engagement before, during and after an event so you can build up a 360-degree overview of your contest marketing campaigns. This helps you find areas to improve engagement, and overall results of your experiential marketing campaigns. 

An integrated contest management solution should allow you to track:

  • Sign-ups: Monitor event attendees who signed up for a product or service after entering one of your contests.
  • Matchback: Discover how many event attendees became bonafide customers after a contest.
  • Social sentiment: Find out how many people are talking about your contests on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and which contests generated the most social interaction.

Active data capture at events also measures real-time responses to your contests, providing you with qualitative information and powerful customer intelligence. "Since contest entrants are giving up their information willingly, companies can worry less about alienating the privacy-concerned," says Target Marketing.

Consequently, you can measure in-person interactions, monitor customer behaviors and actions, track contest participants as they move through your sales funnel, and increase the visibility of your products and services.

"Games and contests act as a powerful catalyst for spreading a brand’s message where it matters most," says Convince and Convert.

Follow-up is just as important as active data capture at live events. Once you've obtained information from customers who entered your contests, send them personalized messages via automated marketing methods such as triggered emails, app push notification updates and texts. This helps improve engagement, registrations and leads at future contests.

How Experiential Software Helps Improve Results

The best software will help you create an integrated contesting solution that provides you with more bang for your buck.

Manual measurements at events won't let you track multiple customer journeys after your contest has finished. Only software lets you measure interactions properly and track customer behaviors across multiple channels, including social media and email.

Software helps centralize data, allowing you to connect your contesting strategy back to the goals of marketing and your organization. With data, you can determine valuable metrics like customer acquisition and lift analysis from multiple contests in multiple places. Moreover, you can replace outdated methods such as pen and paper, or manual contest entry. 

You can also focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide you with real value, like projected value in the pipeline, customer acquisition cost and customer retention rate.

Contests are lucrative for you and your agency partners. For example, 30 percent of all contest participants sign up to receive information from brands and their partners.

But if you don't have a proper measurement plan in place, you'll never know whether your investment has any value. Combining an integrated contesting strategy with the latest digital tools will ensure future success.

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