Three ways you can win with cross-border promotions

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9th May 2017
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If you read my previous blog, you’ll know how well promotions can work for companies looking to collect marketing data, connect with customers or increase brand awareness. But did you know that you can multiply these benefits by running your campaigns in multiple countries. Cross-border promotions. How? Read on!

Traditionally, brands have been run on a country by country basis. Sharing a brand image, but with each country responsible for their own marketing strategy and campaigns. Increasingly, companies of all size and industry are operating with ‘hubs’, centralised teams who oversee the brand in multiple countries, or in Europe, or in EMEA etc. There can be huge benefits to running the same promotional idea in multiple countries. When you stretch a campaign across multiple countries, you help to make your money go further, promote brand synergy and maximise your marketing efforts for full effect.

However, cross-border promotions can be tricky – what’s legal in one country could be breaking the law in the next country. Some countries require pre-registration for promotions, others require the payment of taxes on prizes while some require to have a Government official oversee the winner selection! Add in all of the different platforms that you could be using to conduct your promotion (social media is something of a minefield for promotional rules and regulations) and that’s a whole lot of legality to get your head around.

However, battle through the legal issues (or work with a company like PromoVeritas to take the headache away for you!), and there are lots of benefits:.

  1. Bonus budget

We’ll start with the most obvious, because it’s the most-desired outcome for any company running a promotion: maximising your budgets and making a profit. The benefit of cross-border promotions is that you only need one agency, and to plan and pay for creative work once, and simply replicate or translate it across multiple countries. And packaging and point of sale can be consistent too. You don’t need to be a mathematician to know that that can mean real cost savings!

Another bonus is that, depending on your mix of countries, you can have a shared prize fund. So, one amount of money for prizes that is used across all participating countries. You’re reaching two, three, maybe more, times the number of people, with the same prize value.

2. Connecting with customers

By running your promotion in multiple countries, you’re also increasing the potential reach and connecting with customers who may not usually be on your marketing radar. Such audiences hold vital information that you can collect as part of the promotion, adding to your existing databases and meaning you can discover even more insights into your customers and their buying behaviour. You should also consider the impact of the ‘word of mouth’ effect – everyone who enjoys your promotions will no doubt tell their friends to enter, too, further widening your audience and potential customer base. But do remember that there are significant cultural variations so what works in one may not always work in another – one of our clients was planning to support a free music download with images of young people partying on the beach – all was fine, except for the fact that the packaging was destined for several of the very conservative countries in the Middle East, where bikinis are not welcome!

3. Brand awareness

The right promotion can be great for your brand’s reputation and raising awareness of the brand and its offering. Sales of your brand in some countries may be too small to justify their own marketing budget or a prize promotion. However, they can be included in big prize fund activities, as part of a cluster of countries. Plus, there is the added bonus that the campaign will promote a consistent brand message – something that is often missing with many brands that present themselves differently in different countries. It is also a great way of leveraging a core brand asset or global sponsorship deal. Look at Coca-Cola- they are a World Cup sponsor and every country is able to benefit from a centrally organised Match Mascot idea, giving teens from all over the world the opportunity to accompany their teams onto the pitch.

Know the law

But not everything is possible. Care needs to be taken to ensure that you only plan to run promotions in countries that have a suitable legal environment. Some, like Italy, cannot be part of a cluster, because their law says that prizes offered in a promotion in Italy have to be awarded to residents of Italy. In Brazil, legal permits are required and they require a clear statement of how many prizes will be given away in Brazil – difficult if it is a shared prize fund……and there are many more examples of ‘problem countries’. But there are also many countries where the principle of shared prize funds and cross-border promotions will work. You just need to have help to navigate your way through the swamplands created by often outdated and conflicting national laws. It is all possible, just ask some of our clients such as ASOS who we run campaigns for in America, Australia and many places in between, or Pringles who have saved considerable sums by running gift with purchase and prize promotions across many countries in the Middle East and Europe.

On board with cross-border?

As you can probably tell, I’m a big believer in the power of cross-border promotions. Of course, as with any promotion, there are potential sticking points, and challenges, but the benefits certainly outweigh them.

If you want to dip your toe into the water but need some more help or advice, feel free to comment below, or check out for more informationor email and call or call +44 203 325 6000.

By Jeremy Stern – MD of PromoVeritas



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