The Retailer’s Guide to March Madness – Promotions


Promotions, while always a popular and effective way to increase traffic and followers for businesses, work even better in the context of March Madness.

The overarching emotion of the holiday is one of competitiveness, so contests and Facebook Sweepstakes that plays off on that competitive nature could resonate with followers. When it comes to past March Madness promotions, there are have been many big-name efforts.

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Dominos: Road to Domination

This is one of the largest March Madness social media sweepstakes in history. The grand prize was a trip for two to the final game, with over 20,000 other prizes totalling more than $460,000 (source).

Similar to what Titan SEO did on a much, much larger scale, Dominos allows participants to bet for a winning team for each round. For every one guessed correctly, the participant was entered into a mini sweepstake for that one match. Every successful pick is also entered towards the grand prize.

Reese’s March Madness Contests

Reese has traditionally been a strong supporter for March Madness, with many posts and contests every year. Here they used a vote contest combined with a promotion to get more attention. This also has an additional benefit of product demonstration. As a result, awareness of Reese’s recipes are increased, which adds value to all of Reese’s products. This is because customers that did not know about the recipes beforehand now have one more reason to purchase a Reese product.

Reese also does more traditional sweepstakes, like this one below. Reese’s does an excellent job of tying the promotional prizes with both basketball and their brand.

Applebees Fan Fanatics

Applebees ran a promotion called Fan Fanatics on Facebook that wisely targeted the behaviour of its followers. Participants would earn more points the more they posted or shared the contest itself, with multiple iterations of winners. This relates to the competitive nature of the March Madness event, and encourages members to share and propagate the contest.

Buffalo Wild Wings and SCVNGR

SCVNGR is a location-based gaming platform, similar to Foursquare. Many of the locations and venues have challenges associated with it, and businesses can set up challenges for their own storefronts. In 2011, SCVNGR teamed up with Buffalo Wild Wings for a giant March Madness promotion and aggressively used social media to get the word out. Some example challenges would be to take pictures of their friends inside the store, a crowd going crazy, and fans who are cheering for the other team. Once these photos were uploaded to the SCVNGR network, they were often also shared on Facebook and Twitter as well, greatly extending the reach of the promotion. These points could be accumulated and redeemed for in-store rewards and large prizes.

To demonstrate just how effective this three month campaign was, here are some stats from Mashable:

  • There were 184,000 unique players at 730 nationwide BWW locations.
  • 1 in 3 players returned to play again.
  • On average, users completed 7 challenges, meaning they did all the ones provided by BWW and a few user-generated ones.
  • The campaign generated more than 100 million social impressions via Facebook and Twitter.
  • On average, a player spent 90 seconds per challenge, meaning that BWW saw the equivalent of 3.6 years of brand engagement in its locations during the campaign.

While these may seem very intimidating for a smaller company that may not have the resources, the important thing to take away from these examples is the spirit of things. Be creative and think of a way to do a promotional campaign that ties March Madness to your brand, and make it easy and rewarding for users to share.

Want to start a social media promotional campaign but don’t know how to begin?   Wishpond’s comprehensive suite of tools can help you set up an effective promotional campaign without any fuss.

That’s it for this chapter! Tomorrow’s chapter will talk about targeting using Facebook ads to properly reach your target market. 

On another note, why not check out our Facebook Contests and Promotion Apps?


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