As anyone who knows me will be aware, I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I’d get the tree up in July if I could, but my fellow Prizeologists aren’t quite so tinsel-obsessed as I am and they asked me to hold back on the mince pies at least until we’ve finished the trick or treat sweets. However, Halloween is well behind us and now this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad has been unveiled, I’ll be in full ho-ho-ho mode until the reindeers come home.
In the prize promotions world, the key to a successful festive season is flawless winner management. No one wants to receive a Christmas pudding or a box of Christmas crackers in January, do they, but getting your prize fulfilment right can be a challenge at this time of year – and if you get it wrong you undermine your prize promotion and, potentially, your whole brand.
To give you some sense of the seasonal strain the postal network is under, last December (2016), Royal Mail handled 138 million parcels. Obviously, if you’re sensible you’ll make sure your prizes are posted early for Christmas, so here, as a public service, are the standard Royal Mail final posting dates for the UK:
Second class: Tuesday 19 December
First class: Wednesday 20 December
Special delivery guaranteed: Thursday 21 December
Special delivery Saturday guaranteed: Friday 22 December
You can look up the business contract and international dates yourselves, and other delivery services will have slightly different schedules, but the point I’m making is that time is of the essence and you need to plan your prize fulfilment carefully.
That includes actually having your prizes to hand – you’d be amazed by how many people don’t and when they come to order the iPhone Xs they’ve offered as top prizes they find they’re out of stock and unobtainable until the new year. The same goes for packaging, because you can’t just shove a delicate, designer-made Christmas bauble in a Jiffy bag and hope for the best.
Of course, if you’re really smart you’ll manage winner expectations by ensuring that your prize promotion or competition terms and conditions reflect whether your prizes will or won’t be dispatched – and will or won’t arrive – in time for Christmas.
Writing robust terms and conditions, winner management and prize fulfilment are all areas in which Prizeology is particularly ‘gifted’. We offer a full range of services, from notifying your winners right through to posting their prizes – we can either post ourselves or manage the dispatch process. Now is that sleigh bells I hear? I think I’d better go and pick up my Christmas jumper from the dry cleaners then…
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist, an IPM Board Director, and a SCAMbassador for National Trading Standards Scams Team. She also loves Christmas.