$7 Million – The Cost of Not Having Prize Coverage

While this year’s football Big Game proved to be a one-sided affair between Seattle and Denver, many thrilling big plays gave fans the excitement that the scoreboard failed to provide. Each year, companies looking to tie their brand to the Big Game buzz turn to SCA to maximize their marketing budget with promotions designed to inspire action and reward customer behavior. And, reward we did!

SCA Promotions paid out more than $800,000 in cash, prizes and rebates to our clients’ fans and customers for big plays that occurred during the Big Game, including an interception and the second half opening kickoff returned for a touchdown. We were excited about the success of these promotions, and our clients were even more excited to have us as a safety net with prize coverage.

Prize coverage ensures that regardless of the prize amount or value, your marketing budget won’t be on the hook for covering the payout. Your financial responsibility is only the predetermined fixed fee with companies like SCA, which is a fraction of the overall amount. For budget-conscious marketing executives and directors, prize coverage is the ideal solution for small and large promotions. However, not everyone chooses this route.

A Houston furniture store owner decided to forgo prize coverage for his promotion – a decision that cost him $7 million. He offered his customers who spent more than $6,000 in the two weeks leading up to the game a full refund on their purchase if Seattle won.

Fortunately for the customers and the business owner, he had the funds to back up his promotion, but many companies don’t have that type of financial flexibility. Think about the money this furniture owner could have saved using prize coverage.

In the short and long term, these promotions have proven to create buzz around the brand, bring more traffic into stores, motivate customers to make a purchase now, and build brand loyalty. Furniture Mart in northern Colorado experienced the same payoffs after its Big Game promotion. For the second year in a row, the company ran a promotion with SCA in which customers would receive full refunds if a kickoff was returned for a touchdown. Furniture Mart refunded its customers their purchases.

The difference between Furniture Mart and the Houston furniture store was prize coverage. Furniture Mart received all the residual benefits of a promotion at a fraction of the cost. No risk—all the reward. “Securing promotional risk coverage is the way to go,” said a representative for Furniture Mart. “It allows us to sit back and enjoy the game hoping for a big win for our store and customers.”

Want to learn more about using prize coverage for your next promotion? Contact SCA and speak directly to one of our reps to discuss options and next steps.

5 Things to Remember When Promoting Around Sporting Events

By: Julie Davis

Brands and retailers usually shy away from running promotions around events that are licensed like the Olympics or World Cup. While the owners of these events do protect their licensing rights vigorously, that doesn’t mean a promotion can’t take advantage of an event as long as they don’t infringe on any licensed material. Here are five important things to remember:

    1. Too many times, business owners let their own likes and loyalties drive their sponsorship decisions. Just because you’re a big motor sports fan doesn’t mean it will appeal to your 25-year-old, female customer. Check the demographics and make sure the sporting event fits your target customer. Not sure where to find the info? Ask your local media rep.


    1. Skill-based promotions are the first thing most people think of when tying into a sporting event but, that doesn’t have to be the case. Thinking outside the box can build a creative, engaging promotion that is fun for the consumer and drives traffic for your location. For example, have sports fans take a selfie at the game with the scoreboard in the background. Text the photo to enter for the chance to instantly win the Grand Prize and smaller guaranteed prizes. Entrants each receive a store coupon via return text good immediately after the game, which will drive traffic and sales.


    1. Especially with college sports teams, sponsors aren’t sure what they can and cannot legally use. For example, describing the University of Texas as simply “Texas” is ok. Using “The Texas Longhorns”, “University of Texas” or “UT” is not ok. For the upcoming world soccer competition it’s pretty easy. Country names and flags are ok, player names are ok, game results and stats are public record. Using video and photos that you don’t have the broadcast rights to is not ok. If you’re unsure, spend $1000-$1500 in advance for a legal opinion on licensing rights and save yourself tens of thousands later.


    1. Every promotion needs clear, concise rules that include how the promotion works, the promotion dates, who is eligible, how you win, the prizes and their retail values, odds of winning, and how to claim your prize.


  1. Sports fans live on social media, so make sure you use it to advertise your promotion in addition to traditional media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are vital to spreading the word about your sports promotion. If you are a team sponsor, ask the team to post it on their website and send an email blast out to their fan groups. Fan groups are a great source of viral marketing.

Promotions are a great way to spotlight your product or business, and sporting events allow you take advantage of the consumers’ interest and enthusiasm. Just make sure to cover all your bases and your promotion will be a homerun!

Julie Davis is a Sr. Account Manager with SCA Promotions in Dallas, TX. Julie has over 25 years experience in Advertising and Promotions working with clients on local, regional and national programs.

The 5 Most Common Mistakes with Sweepstakes and Contest Rules

Contests and sweepstakes are great tools to engage an audience, and it can be an easy sell to business owners and executives on their effectiveness. However, there are many steps that go into ensuring your contest has what it needs to really succeed, before it is launched. One of the most vital parts is determining the contest rules, and of course, that’s where many marketers and contest administrators fail.

1.  Not making any rules

Novices can come up with many rationalizations to go without any rules for a contest. Just to name a few:

  • The prize is too small
  • The contest is straightforward
  • The promotion period is short
  • The launch date is too soon

The bottom line, though, is that not providing rules for a contest is always wrong. The audience you want to participate needs clear instructions, and if they decide to enter, they want to be sure that they’re doing it correctly. And, your company needs to be legally protected. It’s up to you to provide that information. Here are a few areas to consider when creating your rules:

  • Prizes available and odds of winning
  • Age and location eligibility
  • How entries will be accepted
  • Possible disqualifications of entries
  • Location eligibility
  • Selection process
  • Relatives or employee entries

2.  Typos and grammar

Noticeable grammar and spelling errors are quick ways to establish negative associations with your brand in any situation. If you personally create the outline and content for the sweepstakes or contest, have multiple people read it over for you. After spending so much time and effort scanning the content, fresh eyes are needed to pick up on what you might have missed. Proofreaders are valuable to ensure that you’re not sending out the wrong message, which leads to our next point.

3.  Confusing language

Your campaign should not be overly complicated if you want people to enter successfully. Your proofreader(s) also have the responsibility to make sure that the directions are clear, concise and simple. If you’re creating a high-stakes sweepstakes or a contest with a large prize amount, you’ll typically need to involve a legal team to create official and abbreviated rules that comply with state and federal laws. Always make sure you’re answering at least the 5 W’s and an H.

  • Who can enter?
  • What exactly do you want your entrants to do?
  • When should they do it?
  • Where can they go for more information?
  • Why should they?
  • How can they enter?

 4.  Copying or reusing rules from past contests

No matter how many times you’ve duplicated a contest, copying or reusing the rules is a serious misstep. Just because your campaign hasn’t changed, that doesn’t mean the people and outside platforms it involves have also stayed the same. Many brands choose to run campaigns on Facebook, and it has its own guidelines for how promotions (eg. a contest or sweepstakes) can run. Changes on Facebook happen frequently and brands have to follow suit. The demographic and geographic definitions of your contest may change as your business shifts or refocuses its marketing efforts, as well. It’s important to remember that these and other conditions can and do change. So never assume that copying will do the trick, and never simply copy from a competitor or unrelated business’s promotion. That could present entirely more difficult problems.

 5.  Mixing up the definitions of a contest and sweepstakes

In the public eyes, a contest and a sweepstakes are the same thing, but for marketers there are clear differences. A contest is a competition where entrants perform a task (submit a photo, follow a social account, share content, etc.) and are subsequently judged based on the results of that action. A sweepstakes is a way for sponsors or brands to give away prizes based on luck of the draw. The entrant typically enters with only their name and contact information. Both are very popular, but it’s vital that the rules establish the difference.

Want more information on how to make an eye-catching contest and sweepstakes? SCA Promotions is here to help! Reach out to us, toll-free at 1-888-860-3770. Also, read The 5 Basic Rules to Any Promotion.

How Your Company Culture Can Drive Leads

There are a number of ways you can differentiate your business from your competitors – price, location, etc. But, there are only a couple that are very difficult, if not impossible, for your competitors to emulate – your company’s personality and processes. Processes are extremely important for professional service businesses, and they can make a huge difference in costs for retail businesses. But, your processes are yours, and we can’t necessarily help you perfect those.

Your corporate personality is also yours – but we can tell you a little bit about how your personality, or corporate culture, can affect your acquisition of new customers. Most business owners and managers think of their culture as something internal, that only affects their employees and themselves. But, corporate culture can’t be divorced from how it affects the public image of companies – it’s hard to be one thing on the inside and another on the outside. And, with the burgeoning Millennial generation of consumers, creating relationships with customers is of ever-increasing importance. Many consumers believe where they shop, or who they do business with, is a reflection upon themselves. So, they want to do business with companies and people that they like.

Here’s how having a good company culture leads to achieving more business.

Company Culture -> Happier Employees -> Employee Retention -> Loyal Customers -> New Leads

Company culture is so important to retaining employees, that some employees will forgo a higher salary at a new company to stay for the quality of life and camaraderie at their current job. That kind of scenario basically guarantees that the majority of your employees are going to be happy. And, happy employees tend to give better customer service and think of creative ways to deliver a quality product or service to customers. That intentional thinking and dedication to customer service can drive higher revenue from existing customers.

Customer service can’t overcome a poor product experience, but it can make a competitive difference. And, if you customers like your employees, they will tend to stay as your customers, all things being equal otherwise. Conversely, if the employee they like leaves the company, there is a decreased opportunity for customer loyalty. Loyal customers will speak positively about you within their personal networks, and that positive word of mouth will drive new leads.

So, if your company is perceived by employees as a good place to work, they’re more interested in keeping their jobs and they know taking care of customers is the way to do that. In addition to “real life” word-of-mouth generating leads for you, consumers increasingly rely on online reviews when making purchasing decisions. A recent study showed that 90% of those surveyed said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decision. That is an impressive number, and those reviews include social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as sites devoted specifically to customer reviews.

Business owners and marketers often look at vehicles outside of the company to drive new leads and sales – traditional and online advertising, promotions, discounts, trade shows, etc. But, now that we can see a path to more leads and sales from inside the company, how do we influence that positively? There are hundreds of books available about building a positive corporate culture. That’s a topic way too big for a blog post. On the other hand, we can tackle incentivizing, motivating, and rewarding your employees.

For non-commissioned employees who bring in a new lead that closes, a one-time cash incentive or “spiff” is a great reward. However, many employers are also using promotions to keep employees engaged. These games and contests can incorporate performance-based goals or be used to celebrate company-wide milestones.

Within the concept of open-book management – involving all of your employees in your operations and financial performance – is “The Great Game of Business.” When employees can clearly see financial performance and objectives, and when part of their compensation relies on them influencing financial performance positively, they quickly become motivated to increase sales and generate new clients. Yes, even when it’s not their main job. You’re better off rewarding an employee who will be with you for years, than rewarding a customer who might just patronize you once for the incentive!

See how these companies did it with our promotion case studies.

How to Plan Your Exhibit Booth Location

Ask anyone who has exhibited at a tradeshow and they’ll tell you there’s more to it than placing booths in neat rows. For exhibitors, location matters. And, many times, location placement is selected behind-the-scenes by the show organizers.  However, there are various strategies exhibitors can implement to ensure their location is perfect for traffic and engagement.

High Traffic – The Good & Bad

What’s great about high traffic areas? You get more eyes on your booth. The bad? A lot of that traffic is just trying to get past the traffic. It’s common to think that the best spots in a tradeshow are down the center aisle where most of the traffic will funnel in and out of. If you’re interested in simply handing out a lot of cards and materials, then be prepared to do just that. The center aisle may get the most traffic, but that also means you’ll have difficulty holding meaningful conversations. You don’t want to miss out on qualified clients because they can’t reach your booth or because the flow of the crowd causes them to miss you entirely.

Look for Opportunities

Plan Your Exhibit Booth

Prime booth location is usually determined by seniority, space needed and, of course, money. If you end up in an undesirable location, don’t start to panic. Cancellations by other exhibitors can give you an exit strategy out of a bad spot. Follow-up with your event organizers about cancellations and cross reference new spots with your current one to evaluate whether it’s truly the best move.

Look for spaces surrounded by multiple traffic avenues. This means that there are more than two ways for traffic to flow to and from your booth, so you don’t have an area that is congested. You should familiarize yourself with entrance and exit points, bathrooms, food courts and lounge areas. Remember, attendees will take the time to travel the floor, but you shouldn’t rely on a directory to send traffic your way. What you ultimately need is a way to command your audience’s attention – a solution that connects with their needs and interests.

Stand Out

Regardless of the size or location of your booth, it should make a statement. What is your company about? What do you offer? Why should people stop? These are questions, also known as unique selling propositions (USPs), you should answer in your exhibit planning phase. The answers present the foundation for any creative element you want to employ.

Interactive event promotions are crowd favorites and can be customized to fit your booth space. Table tops and floor space can all be transformed to a game arena for attendees to play games with head-turning prizes ranging from a Ferrari 360 Spider to cash or destination trips.

Tired of having tradeshow conferences pass you by without quality leads and sales? Transform your booth space with an interactive element from SCA Promotions. Contact us today and let us help you plan, execute and evaluate your next tradeshow strategy.

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