3 Reasons You Get a Better ROI from Annual Promotions


What do some of the most memorable marketing campaigns of the past couple years have in common?

You know, the ones that have become household names. Like McDonald’s Monopoly. Or Tim Horton’s Roll-Up-the-Rim. Or Amazon Prime Day.

They’re all annual events.

One-off promos make sense if you’re pimping a new product, bragging about a store opening, or trying to move some inventory. But if you run promos around the same time each year you’re nuts not to make them an annual deal. Here’s why:

Rather than investing your creative, prizing, and media dollars in a one-time program that consumers’ll forget faster than you can say “down the toilet,” an annual program becomes a brand whose equity grows each year.

And that increased brand equity brings a whole whack of benefits.

1) Increased Participation

Our experience has been that you can expect about 30% growth in participation each year you run an annual promo, with roughly the same investment.

That’s because as consumer awareness of your program grows, people start seeking it out.  And that takes weight off the necessary media spend as your program matures.

You can ramp up participation even faster by doing clever things like allowing participants to opt in for an email reminder when next year’s promo goes live.

2) Your Stick Gets Bigger!

One-off promos typically have trouble getting organizational buy in. Media placements in your email newsletters and brand websites are tough to get for a little sweepstakes.  

But when your annual sweeps becomes your brand’s most effective marketing event of the year, the big enchiladas take notice and you get all the placements you need.

3) Howdy Partner

As the years roll by and your sweeps reaches a larger audience you’ll become an attractive partner for complementary brands who’d love to bask in your promo sunshine.

Partners’ll bring money, free media, prizing and increased exposure for your program.  

See, it’s gettin’ big now isn’t it?


A couple things you’ll want to consider:

  1. Your program’ll do better if it’s game-based. Turning your program into a game makes it more fun and engaging. And the more fun your program is, the more people’ll look forward to next year’s program. Plus, game-based tactics help increase engagement, sales and ROI.

  2. Prize strategy is crucial.  A good mix of grand prizing, daily giveaways and instant wins’ll have consumers all over your program like stripes on a cheap suit in the rain.

  3. Look for partners. They’ll help accelerate growth through cross promotion and pooling resources.

  4. Strive to make your program a little better every year.  Better prizing, more prizing, and new game features’ll all help your program snowball into a whopper.

So stop running one-off programs that waste your marketing dollars. Make ‘em an annual event that customers look forward to, and enjoy that increased ROI.