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Lynne Suzanne prize winner

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The other night I attended a marketing meeting in which a University lecturer outlined ways of advertising products.

"One idea," he told us, "is to organise a prize competition."

I laughed. Not because what he said was amusing, far from it, but because you have only to look in high street stores, flip through magazines and newspapers, turn on the TV and radio or connect to the Internet to notice competitions everywhere.

Yes, organising prize competitions is just another form of advertising, albeit a win-teresting one, but it's much more. It's a powerful sales and marketing tool.

I did wonder whether Internet comping would see entry forms disappearing from stores. However, having collected over fifty new competition entry forms in the high street this month, it seems that in store comping is alive and flourishing.

Click on the link for an example of some great prizes to be won.

I believe you, as a comper, have a certain amount of influence over competitions, simply by choosing whether or not you wish to enter. For instance, I remember many people complaining bitterly about the sudden surge in Instant Win promotions. Then too came a spate of premium rate telephone call contests. Let’s face it, if you don’t enter certain types of competitions, surely the promoters will question why.

From talking to many of you at competition events, your favourite competitions are tiebreaker slogans as they make winning dependent upon skill, not the ability to open a can to see if you've won. Next came factual questions and tasks such as `how many words can you make from the product name’. Estimations and imaginative tasks are also favourites and of course, free to enter prize draws, which when drawn after the closing date, give all eligible entrants an equal chance of winning a prize.

As I read several glossy magazines a month, I've noticed a recent trend that gives you, the reader, a greater choice. Many of the prize draws, giveaways and reader treats now offer you a choice of entry, either by post or a telephone call which costs about the same price as a stamp, as opposed to expensive premium rate calls.

I’ve begun to notice lately that a few competition promoters are giving you three entry options, by post, by phone or on the Internet. After all, promoting competitions on the Internet is just another form of advertising products.

A friend told me an interesting story the other day. She hasn’t got computer access at home so thought, as no-one was in the office at lunch time, she’d just visit a couple of comping sites. She submitted her entries and didn’t notice any data protection notices to receive further marketing offers. Satisfied all trace of her comping had been eliminated from the history file, she thought no more about it. Until she was called into the Manager’s office.

Like most companies they delegate the job of webmaster to the IT Manager who, using the filter on his email system, receives all the firm’s incoming emails before forwarding to the appropriate persons.

Confronted with two “Thank you Mrs. X for entering our competition which will be drawn at the end of the month, and in the meantime you may like to take advantage of our special offer“ emails, she wished the ground would open up and swallow her. Needless to say comping at work has been banned.

But then it got worse. Unfortunately, because she hadn’t read the rules, one of the promoters of a competition she’d entered had passed her email address to other companies. Over the next few weeks, she cringed with embarrassment every time one of those "take advantage of our offer", or "you may like to know about" emails found its way into her in-box.

It certainly makes you think doesn’t it? Now is there such a word as ejunk I wonder?

This feature was written by Lynne Suzanne in 2002.

Since writing this feature, entry forms have all but disappeared from high street shops, whilst competitions and prize draws on the Internet have grown exponentially. I've often entered an online competition, sometimes purchasing a product I've never tried before, only to discover I like it, or prefer it to my usual brand, and if I win the competition, then that's a bonus.


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Lynne's latest ebooks:

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Lynne has helped many people to win fantastic prizes through her newspaper columns and books, and herself has won thousands of pounds worth of prizes including two cars and worldwide holidays. Lynne shares her secrets of success in her latest books: Win Cars Holidays and Prizes is packed full of prize winning advice and anecdotes, whilst Punch Lines has over 4,000 puns and word play, ideal for journalists and advertisers to create catchy taglines, headlines and copywriting.