- by Ilse House
Who found the Golden Egg? Awards & Competitions – Powerful Marketing Tools Part 2
The more important question is – Why was it missing?
This spring I witnessed the work of a genius. There is a local accounting firm in my hometown. I have been around a lot of creative marketing people in my life and not many are accountants. Well, I watch an accountant work marketing magic.
As we approached the dreaded April 15 tax-filing deadline, this local firm hid a golden egg in our town, somewhere. If you found it, it would be worth $1,000. He would post a clue as to its whereabouts on Facebook at irregular intervals to keep people coming back to his page. Sometimes, he would give a clue only after he had received a number of likes. Very clever. You had to be his friend on Facebook to see the clues.
He has done this treasure hunt for a couple of years. Each year, his following grew. The hype I witnessed this year was amazing. People took off work to go look for it. The police were even called to one location because of the shear amount of people searching for this elusive golden egg. Everyone was talking about it. I watched as people called each other to compare clues, bounce ideas, and made alliances and plans with others who were looking. It was contagious. The town was a buzz!
All this was happening a couple of weeks before the tax deadline. Brilliant timing for marketing an accounting firm to do your taxes. The golden egg had the right feeling and meaning as an object to be sought. When the tax-filing season is over then he had a symbol representing an ongoing financial relationship. He placed himself as an expert in building your nest egg.
The symbol is perfect for building his business’s story. He didn’t have to scream, “Come buy my services!” Not many would have heard him anyway in the blaring cacophony of marketing messages. But he built a story that people appreciated and wanted to be a part of. He used extreme wit for the clues connecting his audience to the history of the town and created a sense of belonging. It was enough to spur people into walking miles, write posts, have conversations, and make the evening news.
$1,000 is a pretty cheap advertising budget. He used the tools at his disposal. It isn’t about how much you spend. It is about how much you connect.
Like any product, service, or entity, you must work to keep your core values pure. Honesty is always the best policy. If you do a competition like this, make sure you are above reproach with your processes. As powerful as the positive impact can be, a dishonest maneuver can slam you down hard. Once you break the trust of your audience, it can very difficult to repair. Everyone wins when competitions are done right.
Please watch for more blogs featuring my observations on using awards and competitions as powerful marketing tools.