Fri Aug 12th 2011

When it comes to promotions, layer it on

I’d like to propose a rule of thumb that you should always consider when developing offers and incentives specifically for retail brands: the rule of narrow and deep. This rule proposes that whatever your offer/incentive/promotion may be, first start with a simple core idea and then add as many layers as possible. Let’s say your promotion is a sweepstakes game. You want to keep the game simple, but the communication and the ways to play deep. 

For the communication, use every existing media channel you have at your disposal such as email, text, facebook, and your website for example.

Add multiple tiers of prizes such as weekly and even daily giveaways in addition to one grand prize. People are more inclined to participate if they feel they have a real chance at winning something. 

Another consideration should be how easily they can enter. The more steps, the less entries you’ll receive. 

Plus, the more places you provide them access to enter, the higher the likelihood you’ll convert them in one way or another. You might consider a Facebook entry as well as a microsite and possibly even in-store sign ups. This covers most all of your audience, no matter how or where they prefer to interact with your brand. 

Incenting your audience to share your promotion is key to broadening your existing network. The customer is your media now so give them an incentive for sharing. 
We created a holiday promotion for Kirkland’s, a home décor and accessories retailer, that involved a daily gift giveaway as well as a series of videos, all of which were sharable on Facebook. The gift-a-day required you select a product you’d like to win and share your selection on your wall. A person was chosen at random each day and the winner was alerted by our status updates. The short videos prompted you to share on your wall for an instant downloadable coupon. Both of these tactics were very successful and garnered over 21,000 shares and a whopping 150,000 coupon downloads. 

The latest promotion I engaged with was on Target’s Facebook page. They simply posed a question on their status, “What’s the top thing left on your summer to-do list?” This status was the perfect tease for their "Fun Finder" promotion which asks you to spin a wheel to find a fun summer activity which you can then share, invite friends to join you in, create an event for and download a coupon. 
Note the many layers to how you can engage with the Fun Wheel. 

In summary, the rule of narrow and deep can be summed up in a few steps: 

Keep the game simple, but the layers deep.

Make it easy to enter.

Incent the share.

Intersect with their lives. Be where your customers are.