Memorable marketing offers stick with your specific audience. Well-conceived marketing offers:
- follow best practices to connect emotionally
- elevate the perception of your brand in the eyes of the prospect, and
- make your marketing strategies rise above others.
Whether you’re an enterprise B2B company, small business brand, professional services, or freelance business contractor, getting all components of your offer to align is an important thing that affects your results.
The big 4 of marketing offers
Memorable marketing offers fire on all (4) cylinders. After spending nearly 35 years crafting successful offers for megabrands and emerging companies in the B2C and B2B spaces, we’ve identified the best way to create a compelling marketing offer. Best results come when marketers closely evaluate how they’re delivering on these 4 critical things. Sync them all together to make good marketing offer great, from lead gen to advocacy for your product or service:
- Structure of the Offer
- Psychological triggers
- Creative presentation
Marketing offers that fail
Assuming that they receive an appropriate amount of traffic through social media marketing, email marketing, and other traffic drivers, a marketing offer typically fails because it unsuccessfully aligned to at least one of these 4 pillars. Once you understand these 4 areas, identifying where the offer fell short is easy.
The role of mechanics in marketing offers
Mechanics describes how the offer “works”. For example, if you decide to run a game of chance at the top of the funnel (TOFU) to drive engagement and capture interest from potential customers, you need to decide what kind of game you want to create. What kind of entry forms or mechanics will you use? Will it be a random draw sweepstakes? A game that delivers greater engagement? Or a contest that can require purchase, and the entries are all judged? Same prizes, mostly same budget, but the mechanics are very different.
Even where you direct your website visitor matters. Can you use a vanity URL, create something easy to remember, or add a QR code for convenience? What else will your new visitors see when they visit your post or landing page? Do your offer mechanics make the next step clear and logical? Thinking through exactly how your customer or prospect will engage with your offer helps ensure that you’ve made it easy for your prospects to continue their customer journey.
The best offers make the customer experience enjoyable
Complexity kills action. Choose mechanics for your offer that make the customer experience enjoyable and, most importantly, frictionless. During the decade when we developed and executed national campaigns for Mattel, we often created GWP programs (gifts with purchase) to drive sales of specific brands or SKUs within a brand at a particular time of year. If the customer had to mail in for the reward, we used VERY CLEAR language about what they needed to do to get the reward shown, typically BUY, MAIL, RECEIVE. This clarity made it easy for the customers to understand how to participate and helped regularly boost sales during critical promotional periods.
Sound mechanics deliver on secondary goals
An undervalued benefit of sound marketing offer mechanics is how it can tackle secondary marketing objectives. Of course, no marketer has a single objective with any campaign. Instead, marketers build assets, website content, programs, events, campaigns, and more to address multiple objectives.
With well-thought-out mechanics, a marketing offer can address secondary objectives such as capturing prospect or customer feedback, gathering additional target audience intel for CRM, and deepening the brand relationship. For example, a legacy brand can use a trending technology like a digital scratcher game (instead of a traditional enter to win sweepstakes) to seem more relevant, relatable, and contemporary to site visitors while gathering useful first-party data. Same prizes, same theme, same distribution—but the digital scratcher mechanics make the marketing offer more engaging, fun, and modern.
Frictionless for customers, fruitful for marketers
While we always want to make it easy for customers to redeem an offer, often what’s EASIEST for the prospect is NOT BENEFICIAL to marketers. For example, it would be great for prospects to get immediate access to all your best resources. Yet, for your high-value information, you must first capture their contact information (like email address). Also, they may prefer a download link on the thank you page, but you might want to ensure that you didn’t get a fake email, so instead, you sent the report to everyone captured on your email list.
Find the balance
Savvy marketers find the balance between delivering the right offer through the perfect customer experience and marketing capabilities. Over the years, we’ve observed many digital marketing campaigns (in particular) where marketers create processes that best serve their needs while not considering the impact on their customers. Fortunately, we’ve stopped our clients from making those mistakes. The challenge with this approach is that it reduces engagement and doesn’t help build a brand relationship. Always remember that people work with brands they know, like, and trust.
Better offer mechanics won’t break your marketing budget
One great thing (some would say the best thing) about getting your offer mechanics right is that doing so won’t break your budget. The fiscal impact of crushing your mechanics is generally negligible. Some executions might add a bit of money to your total, such as adding a handwritten note to a reward delivered by mail.
So why aren’t more marketers delivering killer offers? Either
- they’re not well-versed in the options
- they don’t have the capacity to think through the available options, or
- they don’t have any reliable resources to tap into.
- When to develop your marketing offer mechanics
Developing the right offer structure is the first step in creating a marketing offer to drive good results (or great). The structure is where you summarize the value of that offer you’ve created to entice the prospect to accept the offer in exchange for them completing a specific action, such as completing the information on a lead-capture form. Once you’ve decided on the structure, it’s time to address the marketing offer mechanics.
Marketing offer mechanics depend on the offer structure
Customer experience is the most critical factor when choosing the best mechanics for your offer. Because buyers buy on emotion, your mechanics can help boost how your prospect feels about your brand. Aside from your offer being clear and the redemption process easy, you can create mechanics that are fun and engaging. How? Here are a few ways:
Make your messaging friendly.
Adding an image or friendly line of copy to a thank you landing page doesn’t cost any more. One great example is Amazon’s adorable dogs on their 404 web pages. According to Forbes, “It’s a cool way to handle customer dissatisfaction, and also promotes Amazon culture as extremely cool, making the company look like an awesome place to work.”
Surprise and delight your audience with a “bonus”.
We often include handwritten notes on our client’s behalf with rewards that we send to prospects who have completed a demo. That extra touch demonstrates that the client cares; it’s a simple gesture that helps move prospects toward purchase. Other companies include a cross-sell trial product or coupon as an added-value benefit (depending on where the prospect is in the customer journey).
Choose engaging and fun.
We believe strongly in bringing the fun to marketing campaigns, especially to B2B buyers. It’s not just because fun is in our DNA. It’s because fun helps you connect with buyers. It humanizes your business and helps you stand out, especially if your competitors and serious, stiff, and corporate. “Fun” in mechanics means selecting the spin wheel, scratcher, or match and win instead of a boring sweepstakes drawing. Or consider making your assessment an engaging journey instead of a straightforward set of questions that gives your prospect SAT flashbacks.
Building better marketing offer mechanics
Sweepstakes are one great way to drive brand awareness and engagement at the TOFU stage of the customer journey, especially when trying to generate interest around a new product or service. ShortStack is a powerful tool that makes creating engaging digital games of chance much easier, as you can work through their templated designs. Imagine, instead of a random draw, you created:
- A digital scratch and win
- A slot-machine style spin to win
- A traditional spin wheel
- A simple-to-solve puzzle
- A match and win
Same prize package, different executions.
Each delivers just a bit more stickiness and fun than a traditional sweepstakes. Even if you’re dead-set on just picking a winner- -what if you make it more engaging, like the televised lottery? At your trade show or conference, you could have a celebrity or c-suite executive select the winner at a predetermined time and offer a bonus reward to all prospective customers who show up to watch. Even sports leagues make an event out of the draft order drawing. The televised event features pre-draw chatter and videos of all the hopeful GMs who watch to see who will win the lucky #1 pick. The NHL considers the draft lottery one of its biggest events of the year. They sandwich it between playoff rounds with live coverage from ESPN, Sportsnet, and TVAS.
Content (Reports, White papers, Assessments, Webinars)
Interactive. You already know that high-quality, fact filled content, delivered as a lead magnet, works for lead generation. But capturing the name of the consumer is only the beginning. Create a better experience for your reader by making the content you deliver more interactive and easy to consume. How? For ABM executions, customize the content to relate to the prospect’s business (top of the pyramid) or industry (middle or bottom of the pyramid). For general market,
- make it more USEFUL
- create an executive summary
- add interactive graphics
- make it easy to share
- give options for consumption.
Recently, I downloaded a book that was only available on a site I don’t use for content consumption. I wasn’t told that beforehand. Nor could I easily find answers on how to convert the content to a way that better suited my needs as a consumer. While that may be convenient for the creator, it wasn’t delivered to me in a way that fits my regular consumption routine. And while there may be a way to download the info into a PDF or Kindle file, not making it easy was a problem that impacted my interest in the creator’s work. Benefits ignored. Opportunity lost.
Rewards and giveaways
In the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU), using a free gift as a reward is commonplace. But rarely do marketers give much thought to how those rewards are delivered to potential buyers. We do.
Will you deliver digitally or physically? Digital is easier and often can give your customer base or prospect more choices. For instance, we recently rewarded some flat-screen TVs to customers as part of a thematically relevant theme. Instead of delivering TVs, we sent Best Buy gift cards which allowed the customer to choose the TV (or other electronic) that best suited their needs. We once negotiated a collaboration between Barbie and AMC theatres. We gave away theatre tickets in an instant win game but offered customers who didn’t live near an AMC theatre a limited edition movie poster instead. This prize alternative made the reward enticing for all.
Delivering a physical reward creates a perfect opportunity to build your prospect or customer relationship. As noted in Hinda’s Reward Delivery Experience Study (gated), how you package your reward impacts how your prospect emotionally connects with you and your brand. Long story short: customers respond most favorably when the reward is packed with care but still looks like a human did the packing. Too perfect seems insincere. As a result, we carefully consider how we fulfill every reward, giving it a personal touch, as if we were sending a birthday gift to a friend.
Remember, you’re building a relationship. You need to show off your best side. You must have a successful marketing offer at every step of your buyer journey. Creating a bad experience can kill a prospect trying to decide what brand options to pursue further.
Getting your marketing offer mechanics right takes more strategic thought but generally has a negligible budget impact. Yet, the mechanics can significantly impact your results. How can you improve the mechanics of your current offers? How can you make your next offer better?
Follow us for more on creating better offers as we deconstruct our key learnings over the past three and a half decades.
Want help creating next-level marketing offers? Schedule a call today to see if we can help accelerate your process.