Responsible marketing and data privacy
As an Information Security Manager, Jimmy Ward is no stranger to privacy rules and legislation, but since joining PromoVeritas earlier this year he has discovered that the fascinating world of giving away prizes is controlled by strict regulation too. We asked Jimmy to shine a spotlight into the work he does making sure our campaigns are compliant and that we run responsible marketing campaigns.
“Ensuring a business follows latest data protection regulations and has policies that are strong enough to secure all the data they handle is my passion. Data security is serious stuff, especially when you are giving away millions of pounds worth of prizes around the world, and it is my job to ensure that when a member of the public enters a competition or a prize draw, all of their data is treated with the utmost care. And that is why PromoVeritas wears two hats: we’re a company that brings joy to thousands of winners each week and we are crucially guaranteeing data protection compliance as well as promotional compliance.
So why do businesses run prize promotions?
Whether you are running a product based or a service based business, prize promotions can help you to stand out in a busy marketplace and build genuine consumer engagement…..oh, and increase your sales, gain you extra displays, enhance customer loyalty and give you a database of buyers for future marketing purposes.
There are four main types of prize promotions:
- Prize draws: a game of chance, like a raffle, where the winner is selected at random
- Instant wins: also luck, but Willy Wonka style, so maybe via a golden ticket, a winning message, or a unique code
- Competitions; where the winners are selected on the basis of skill or judgement or the opinion of judges,
- Gift with purchase campaigns: it could be Buy X and get a Free Y, or 25% extra free or similar
All types of promotions can be run instore, on packaging, in print, online, across social media, by post or at events.
Although the UK has the most liberal rules for marketing in Europe, you still need to follow some key consumer protection law and guidance such as not misleading, not offering prizes that are not available, having solid Terms & Conditions and making sure that winners are selected fairly and under independent supervision. You cannot get the office junior to pick them. But the good news is that in the UK prizes are tax free for the winner, and tax deductible as an expense for the promoter.
Data Privacy for Promotions – The Main Watch Outs
Where you are gathering personal data, e.g. an email or postal address, it is essential that you, as the promoter, also follow data protection regulations carefully. First of all make sure that you are registered with the ICO (www.ico.org.uk), a simple process costing under £40 in most cases.
Second operate on the principle of ‘less is more’, make sure you only ask for the minimum of data, it is only for the stated purpose, and that you keep the data for as long as you need it for that function, but no longer than that!
Thirdly make sure that you protect the data you gather. Are you keeping the data confidential by using encryption effectively? Are you protecting its integrity with proper access controls? Do you have tested backups to ensure availability?
Lastly, if you intend to use the data for future marketing purposes, make sure that the consumer consents to this BEFORE you use it for marketing! The goalposts for what you use their data for cannot be moved without the consumer’s prior agreement.
As long as it is done compliantly, you can legitimately ask a few extra questions that could shine a vital light on your customer base, and lay the foundations, and no or low cost, for more and better marcomms in the future. ‘Where do you shop’ and ‘How often do you buy BrandX’ and ‘Gender/age’ can be asked and help you to understand more about your customers, how to market to them better, or even be shared with relevant third parties. When overlaid with other fact-based data such as website analytics or retail locations, you can create deeper insights including how to further increase your sales.
How to Run a Prize Promotion: The Basics
- Pick your promotional type dependent on your marketing objective
- Decide how you will communicate it – allocate budget
- Decide your prize fund – the more prizes the better e.g. 10 x £1,000 rather than 1 x £10,000. And make the prizes appropriate for your target audience. Cash is usually best, but free product, gift voucher or tech gear is also popular
- Decide how people will enter – text is a quick way, so is social media but it can be tricky to extricate all the entries
- Is entry to be linked to a purchase or free to enter
- Draft your Terms & Conditions –this is a critical area and our expertise. The terms are a contract between you and the consumer, so they need to be comprehensive, but also clear. It is worth ensuring that experts help you get this right.
- Promote your promotion: push it out through all channels. Your stores, your staff, your social media posts.
- Pick your winners – why wait till the very end. Have weekly prize draws and showcase the happy winners. It will boost trust and participation. Just make sure that winner selection is fair and conduct independently.
- Publish or make available a winners list – it is an obligation but is another way of building trust that all was run fairly.
So don’t be afraid to consider a prize promotion for your business. You do not have to be a big brand, but you do need to run it right and consider the basics. Chances are if data security is a priority for you, it won’t be too hard to follow the rules for marketing promotions too. I know that working with my team to prevent any kind of risk to the consumer is highly rewarding for me, and for the public too”.