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Paul Laughlin

            Businesses can benefit immensely from marketing efforts that incorporate raffles in addition to promotional and customer loyalty programs. For as long as we can all remember, promotions would get people into the store and result in the purchase of more than the promotional item or service advertised. Customer loyalty programs have, for a long time, offered lower prices and rewards like free items or future discounts. Since these programs are the hook that get customers into the store and enable them to buy all the items they need or services they want, the addition of a raffle component would create a desire to shop more often, increased sales, a better shopping experience, and happier employees. This essay will discuss the unforeseen opportunities of offering raffles in addition to current promotions and customer loyalty programs.

            A great example of a successful raffle can be seen in the “McDonald’s Monopoly Sweepstakes.” Due to its extreme popularity, it has been reintroduced every year for the last two decades. Customers choose to have more of their meals at McDonald’s, rather than other restaurants, to increase their chances of being a big winner. But McDonald’s offers large prizes that not many people win (i.e. $1-million)—most people winning small food prizes. Overall, the concept proves that people are excited about raffles, willing to take measures to increase their odds of winning.

            All businesses can use raffles in addition to traditional promotional and customer loyalty programs, offering entries through spending milestones. Taking the McDonald’s concept and modifying it to offer achievable substantial rewards (e.g. $5,000 worth of spending at store, a trip to Las Vegas, etc.) to a few people ensures customers bypass similar businesses, guaranteeing their increased likelihood of winning through shopping at your store.

            Other strategies could be incorporated to increase the attractiveness of a raffle, including rewards for referring customers and shopping on off-peak days. Customer references creates more sales and raffle speculators through new customers whom are retained after the raffle has ended. Customers that add to the customer base can be rewarded with increased raffle entries for every new shopper they refer. The idea of increased raffle entries can also be used to shift customers shopping patterns to off-peak days and hours. This creates a better shopping experience for customers—less crowded—and more opportunities for employees—more even distribution of work hours.

            Used along with promotional and customer loyalty programs, raffles create the opportunity to grow the customer base, increase sales, and raise the customer and employee experience. Winning is exciting and raffles allow people to win big prizes going about their normal business while shopping or receiving services. McDonald’s proves this point with their 20-year investment in the “Monopoly Sweepstakes.” But McDonald’s foregoes promotions and customer loyalty programs. The ability to participate in a raffle while receiving great promotions and customer loyalty benefits creates a recipe for success and winners all around. There may only be a few explicit raffle winners in the end, but the business will benefit from higher sales and an increased sustained customer base, and customers will benefit from continued offerings of great promotions and customer loyalty programs.