Contest marketing: how is it different from other content marketing strategies?

Table of content

Marketing specialists constantly strive to attract customers to their brand in various ways. They come up with both better and worse ideas. One of the better and more interesting ideas is undoubtedly contest marketing. What is it and is it worth implementing in your business?

What is contest marketing?

Contest marketing is a marketing strategy that involves organizing contests in which consumers have the opportunity to win prizes or recognition.

Such contests aim to attract customers’ attention, generate interest in a particular product or service, and increase their engagement and loyalty towards the brand.

Contests can take various forms, ranging from creative challenges to simple lotteries. They can be organized on social media platforms, websites, in retail locations, or at events and gatherings.

An important aspect of contest marketing is tailoring the contest to the nature of the product or service, as well as the preferences and interests of the target audience. A well-designed contest can increase brand awareness, customer engagement, and generate positive brand-related emotions.

One of the goals of contest marketing is also to acquire contact information from potential customers, which can be later utilized for marketing purposes.

Is it worth using contest marketing?

Utilizing contest marketing can be a highly effective marketing strategy, provided that it is well-planned and executed.

Here are a few benefits associated with contest marketing:

  1. Increased customer engagement: Contests engage customers and motivate them to actively participate, helping to build a stronger connection with the brand.
  2. Enhanced brand awareness: Contests can attract the attention of a larger audience, increasing the chances of generating interest in the brand and its products or services.
  3. Acquisition of new customers: Contests often require participants to sign up for newsletters, allowing the company to gain new potential customers.
  4. Improved customer loyalty: Rewards and recognition in contests can incentivize customers to make repeat purchases and choose the brand’s products or services.
  5. Generating positive emotions: Contests are often associated with positive emotions and can contribute to a positive brand image.

However, it is important to note that contests do not always yield the desired results, and their organization requires proper planning and preparation. They should be tailored to the needs and preferences of the target audience and should adhere to ethical and legal principles.

How to effectively (and legally) run a competition?

Here are a few steps to take in order to organize an effective contest as part of contest marketing:

  • Define contest objectives: Before organizing the contest, determine the goals you want to achieve. These goals can be related to increasing sales, acquiring new customers, enhancing brand awareness, promoting a new product, etc.
  • Identify the target audience: Clearly define the target audience for the contest. This will help tailor the contest to their needs and preferences.
  • Choose the contest type: There are various types of contests that can be conducted, such as creative contests, quizzes, or lotteries. Select the type that aligns best with your objectives and target audience.
  • Select prizes: Prizes are a crucial element of competition and should be carefully chosen. They should attract participants’ attention and motivate them to participate in the contest.
  • Prepare promotional materials: To attract participants, prepare promotional materials such as graphics, videos, social media posts, etc.
  • Publish the contest rules: The contest rules should contain detailed information about the contest’s rules, deadlines, prizes, and participation conditions.
  • Promote the contest: Promote the contest among the target audience using various channels such as your website, social media platforms, retail locations, etc.
  • Evaluate and select winners: After the contest ends, evaluate the submissions and select the winners. Maintain fairness and transparency in the selection process.
  • Reward the winners: Ensure that the winners receive their prizes in a manner suitable for the type of contest.
  • Analyze the results: Conduct an analysis of the contest’s outcomes and objectives achieved. This will help draw insights and improve the organization of future contests.

Legal contest marketing – what is worth knowing?

Running a legitimate contest marketing campaign requires following some important rules and regulations.

Here are the steps to ensure compliance with the law when conducting a contest:

  • Adhere to legal regulations: Depending on the country where the campaign is conducted, it is important to comply with different legal regulations. Ensure that the campaign is in accordance with the law of the specific country and with data protection and privacy regulations.
  • Clearly define the contest rules: The contest rules should be clearly defined and easy for participants to understand. They should include information about the contest duration, entry method, prizes, and evaluation criteria.
  • Independent judging panel: If there are prizes involved in the contest, it is advisable to have an independent judging panel to evaluate the entries. The panel should consist of individuals with expertise in the relevant field and should not be associated with the contest organizer.
  • Establish winner selection criteria: Before conducting the contest, establish the criteria for selecting the winners. The decision-making process should be based on objective criteria and be fair.
  • Protect personal data: Participants should be informed about what personal data will be collected and how it will be used. Ensure that the data is stored in accordance with data protection regulations.
  • Accessibility of contest rules: The contest rules should be easily accessible to participants. They can be posted on the organizer’s website or included in promotional materials.
  • Communication with participants: The contest organizer should maintain regular communication with participants, providing updates and informing them about any changes in the schedule or rules of the contest.

Contest marketing campaigns are an effective form of promotion, but they require compliance with various legal regulations and ethical principles. It is important to keep the above points in mind to conduct the contest in a legal and safe manner for the participants.

An example of a well-known contest marketing campaign

One of the most famous contest marketing campaigns was (and still is) the Pepsi Taste Challenge.

The Pepsi Challenge is a marketing campaign that was first conducted by PepsiCo in 1975. Its objective was to test consumer taste preferences compared to its main competitor, Coca-Cola.

During the Pepsi Challenge, customers were given cups containing two beverages – one containing Pepsi and the other containing Coca-Cola – without labels or indications of their brand. They were then asked to taste both beverages and indicate which one they preferred. This way, the campaign aimed to assess which beverage better aligned with consumer taste preferences.

The Pepsi Challenge campaign was a huge success and contributed to the brand’s increased popularity. Studies showed that among participants, the majority indicated a preference for the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola. The Pepsi Challenge was repeated multiple times in the following years and also served as inspiration for similar campaigns by other companies.

In recent years, Pepsi has shifted its focus away from taste testing and towards promoting its brand image through advertising campaigns and sports sponsorships. Nevertheless, the Pepsi Challenge remains one of the most well-known examples of an effective marketing campaign that leveraged human curiosity and the desire for comparison to capture customers’ attention and increase brand popularity.


  • Contest marketing is a marketing strategy in which brands organize various tests, challenges, and contests for their customers.
  • A contest marketing campaign can be an effective solution to increase brand awareness when conducted properly.
  • One of the most well-known contest marketing campaigns is the Pepsi Challenge.

Owen Mantz

Owen Mantz is a freelance copywriter and the COO of Content Writer USA. He has worked with both startups and Fortune 500 companies, helping them increase leads, sales, and customer retention rates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Recent articles

22.09.2023 News
08.09.2023 Content Marketing
07.09.2023 Copywriting
06.09.2023 Copywriting
05.09.2023 Copywriting
04.09.2023 Content Marketing Positioning
03.09.2023 Content Marketing
01.09.2023 Law & Finance
31.08.2023 Positioning

Professional business content

Order texts

Build a career with Content Writer