Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sweepers Not Welcome!

I recently read a thread on Online-Sweepstakes about how PDXLAN decided at first to disqualify a person based solely because their hobby is "sweeping".  PDXLAN assured their follwers that they were ready to replace if they discovered this person at all cheated.  They are also considering amending the rules to disqualify FB profile pages that are not "personal" or "nothing but sweeps".

At first glance one could actually understand that PDXLAN was using this promotion as a way to reach out to their core constituancy, hardware enthusiasts.  Ideally organizations use demographics to identify the ideal consumer for a product or services and develop marketing strategies such as product packaging, advertisements, business location and pricing. Demographics can help organizations avoid costly mistakes in their marketing plan.

Certainly PDXLN is well within their rights to limit their sweepstakes to "hardware enthusiast" but doing so would require them to identify exactly who or what a "hardware enthusiast" is.  For example if you love building your own computers I might say you are a hardware enthusiast, but how does one prove what one does as a hobby?  Do I send you a photo of computers I have built?  Do I send you photos of my work bench filled with computer hardwares in various stages of completion?  How many computers must I have built in order to be classified as a "hardware enthusiast"?

I suppose PDXLN could make the contest only open members of their forums or require that they have made a certain number of posts in order to be eligible.  I can think of a particular movie site that requires you to be a member and have a certain number of recent posts.  This would discourage all but the dedicated entrant.

The fact that they called the winner and others who sweep as a hobby contest junkies misses out on some factors PDXLAN may not have thought about.

For example, I will admit that my hobby is sweeping.  I am not a "professional sweeper" nor do I know one but I'd like to share with you why a company offering sweepstakes as a form of promotion is not wasted on me. 

First of all many sweepers including myself tend to be brand loyal.  When I need flour, cake mixes, etc. my first choice is generally Pillsbury.  The reason is quasi-subliminal for me.  I associate the brand with their $1 Million Bake-Off and I imagine myself baking something worth of a million dollars.  Have I ever won the Bake-Off?  No?  Would I like to?  Absolutely!

Imagine for one second if the people at Pillsbury explicitly disqualified entrants who baked as a hobby or entered baking contests at the county fair.

Second of all, you may want to understand that sweepers provide "WOM" adversing.  For example, when I won a year's worth of flowers from 1-800-Flowers, I review each arrangement with photos on both my blogs as well as on Twitter and Facebook.  Everyone who sees my flowers asks me who sent them and I ALWAY mention 1-800-FLOWERS. 

I am also receiving a year's worth of meat from Stockyard Meats and when we get our delivery we often  invite someone else to share the tender steak, succulent lamb chops, or delicious pork ribs.  When people comment about how great the meat was we tell them where it came from and how they can order it. 

When I was younger I lived in Washington, DC so there were many radio stations to chose from and one of the factors I used to decide as to which station to listen to was the contests.  This was true for years before I ever began sweeping.  It was always so exciting to hear people win concert tickets, trips, etc.  I imagined that I might win even when I wasn't even entering.  How's that for crazy? 

When I did start playing radio contests I would excitedly tell people about new albums or upcoming concerts that I was trying to win.  When you're excited about an upcoming concert your friends probably are also and I always knew when tickets were going on sale or albums hit the store and always shared this information with my friends.

When a company uses a sweepstakes in conjunction with the introduction of a new product or a special promotion.  Often when my husband asks me about where I'd like to eat or what movie I would like to see, my mind immediately jumps to sweepstakes that promote them. This is true even though the rules don't require a purchase. 

The fact is that companies can increase their brand awareness with sweepstakes.  Companies can use them to increase their social media presence.  In the end PDXLN has to make it's own decisions as to how they will procede from here.  Hopefully they will take into consideration the points I have made before they write off "sweepers". 

No comments: