In previous posts I’ve talked about planning Christmas promotions, sourcing seasonal prizes and making sure your promotion complies with the CAP Code and other relevant regulations. Now we’re coming towards the end of the promotions process and this post discusses prize fulfilment.
Now, at the risk of sounding as mean and grumpy as Scrooge, I’ve got to lay down the law here, because when it comes to identifying your winners it’s a matter of the CAP code. If your promotion was a competition requiring an element of skill, you need an independent judge, and if your promotion was a prize draw, the winner or winners must be drawn fairly and at random by someone who isn’t associated with you, the promoter.
In other words, don’t do it yourself and don’t ask one of your nearest and dearest to do it either. If this proves to be a stumbling block, Prizeology can, of course, provide independent judges and Prizeology’s verified random generator can select thousands of winners and runners-up in a matter of seconds.
You need to make sure this happens as soon after the closing date as is reasonably possible. However, Christmas is a busy time for promotions and if, despite your detailed plans, you don’t attract the quantity or quality of entrants you had hoped for, you might be tempted to extend the closing date. Don’t be.
You must still go ahead and award the prizes, as described in your terms and conditions. There is almost never any justification for extending the closing date of a prize draw or competition, besides which, unless it’s part of the plan, taking a promotion into the new year doesn’t make sense and will undermine it.
So, now you’ve chosen your winner or winners fairly we need to backtrack a bit here, because at the end of my recent post on Christmas prize sourcing, I advised you to actually obtain your prizes once you’ve decided what they’re going to be. I hope you did as I suggested and if they’re not actually sitting in a box beside your desk, they’re in a warehouse somewhere and someone is standing by awaiting your instruction to dispatch them.
I say this because, if you’re offering a popular prize, maybe one of this year’s top toys for example, it may have sold out and be quite literally unobtainable, especially if it’s a special edition. This will cause disappointment (imagine if that toy was destined to sit under the tree on Christmas Day!) and damage to your brand’s reputation – almost certainly the exactly opposite of what you were running the promotion to achieve.
Having assured yourself that the prizes are to hand, the next step is to send them out to your ecstatic winners. And I’m sure they will be ecstatic – but not if their prizes don’t arrive promptly. A Santa hat looks sad in January, no-one wants to be eating figgy pudding in February and dark chocolate that’s gone white is unappetising at any time of the year. You take my point.
I’d always advise getting the prizes in a Christmas promotion out before the big day, but if that proves logistically impossible, for instance if the promotion doesn’t end until after the last posting date for Christmas, for goodness sake make sure you it’s midnight clear in the terms and conditions that prizes won’t be dispatched until after festivities are over. This may discourage some entries, but better that than people end up disgruntled and take to social media to complain.
My final piece of advice is an evergreen one, but presentation does make a difference. Source appropriate packaging so that prizes don’t turn up in bits and if you can gift-wrap prizes and include a handwritten note it’s a nice touch.
Whether we post the prizes out ourselves or manage the dispatch process, at Prizeology we pride ourselves on our superb winner management and prize fulfilment service. Do drop us a line if we can help.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Christmas elf and Chief Prizeologist.