Judging a Business by its Prize

Last week I had the privilege of attending a women's health and fashion gala. The event planners did a great job of producing a 5-star event. Before the fashion show started I mingled and visited different vendors, tasted desserts, and took photos.

The ladies at a medspa-type booth got my attention when I passed by inviting me to participate in their giveaway. You could spin the wheel and win whatever prize you landed on. Prizes included mini-microdermabrasions, mini-facials, and a few other things. I had my eyes set on winning a microderm, but wanted to know what a "mini" one consisted of.

When I asked the owner, she couldn't really give a thorough explanation and basically stated it wasn't a full microderm, but I could purchase the complete service for an additional $35. She was able to articulate that the mini-facial only consisted of a cleansing.

The pressure was on so I gave the wheel a good spin. Low and behold it landed on, "Take Your Pick".
Yep - I could choose any prize I wanted.

I chose the mini-microderm, got my coupon card, and told the owner I'd be in touch to schedule my appointment. A member of her staff informed me with excitement that for a limited time, I could receive 50% off all services.


The above photo was taken to promote a Hardee's Restaurant $10,000 winner. Congratulations Jacob! Let's imagine for a second that Jacob had no idea what he was winning - he just knew he'd won something from his favorite fast food joint. What do you think would happen if he found out he won 1/2 of a free sandwich? How enthused would you be if you were the grand prize winner of:
  • 1/2 a pizza
  • one shoe from your favorite shoe store
  • 1/2 a haircut
  • a 12 hour stay at a resort hotel
  • 3 rides at a national amusement park
  • 30 minute private screening of a new movie
But what if you had the option of purchasing the entire whatever for an additional fee? Like, what good would one left shoe really do unless you bought the right one? Is it still a giveaway in this case?


Once the excitement died down and I had some time to think about the true value of my prize, I decided not to book the appointment. Why? It just wasn't worth it to me. I already have an aesthetician that I love and the business owner did a poor job of selling me on the benefits of visiting her spa. Did I mention that at no point did anyone collect my contact information to follow up with me? Another missed opportunity. The entire experience was sub-par in my opinion. You lure me over to your table with the hopes of winning something worthwhile and before we even establish any kind of a relationship you upsell me. That's the kind of thing you expect from a fly-by-night car dealership.


This statement alone serves as the moral of the story. When thinking about ways to reward your customers, ask yourself if it's something you would like to be on the receiving end of. If the answer is no, more than likely your clients or potential clients feel the same way. Instead of gifting 10 low budget prizes, opt to give away 3 really valuable ones. Put a deadline on when the prize has to be redeemed. Collect the winner's information so you can follow up 1) to send a reminder 2) to have a conversation and find out why they chose not to redeem the prize. This will give you much needed insight to continue on with that particular giveaway or make the necessary adjustments so that future prizes have more value.

Would you have gone ahead and gotten your mini service? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with me.

Photo credit: hardees

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