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Managing your risk landscape


Visit PIMS-SCA’s virtual stand

Fri 26 Mar 2021 @ 10:16

In any other year we would all be enjoying the sights, sounds and friendly faces at trade shows, events and exhibitions but as we all know, 2020 and 2021 have been unlike any other.

So, rather than wait another year until we can welcome you on to our stand, we’re bringing it to you.

Take some time out, pour yourself a tea or coffee, take a look, and get in touch via the link on the virtual stand. We’d love to hear from you.


IPM “30 Under 30” adds more skills and expertise to the PIMS-SCA promotional skills bank

Mon 27 Nov 2017 @ 11:24

Everyone at PIMS-SCA is delighted to learn that PIMS-SCA’s own Ria Lewis has been accepted on to the IPM’s “30 Under 30” programme for 2018.

For 2018, the IPM said they had enjoyed a very high entry standard from all applicants, with high levels of entry for the Programme and fierce competition. The judges felt Ria’s entry stood out from the crowd and that she would benefit from being part of the Programme, aimed at personal and professional development.

Mark Kimber, Managing Director at PIMS-SCA said: “In her position at PIMS-SCA, Ria works closely alongside agencies and clients in providing Fixed Fee and Over Redemption Insurance. This acknowledgement of her potential from the IPM comes as no surprise to us as Ria has many CII and IPM credentials; and not content with achieving a distinction in the IPM diploma a few years back, she also scored the top result of that year.”

Throughout 2018 Ria will have the opportunity to embrace new skills in everything from negotiations and account management to how to deal with positive stress management and challenging legal issues.

Ria will formally celebrate her place on the Programme at a special presentation on Thursday 14th December in London, when she will be formally accepted into the Programme.

The PIMS-SCA team of experts have always taken pride in knowing how to protect you, your clients and your audiences when running promotional campaigns of any sort and Ria’s participation in the IPM “30 Under 30” programme can only add to the knowledge and deep expertise already within our team; delivering real practical and commercial benefits, not just to her and everyone here at PIMS-SCA but to all of our clients.


Why do so many brands run promotions expecting so few people to respond?

Wed 8 Mar 2017 @ 15:10

I have been asking myself that question for years.

Why is there less promotional activity going on out there? Is there a thirst for promotions from brands and consumers? How good are promotions at getting people to buy share and try?

At first, in the doom and gloom of the Credit Crunch I presumed that brands had much less money to spend, but today I’m not so sure the answer is quite that simple. I decided to do some research and where better a place to start than my own company?

Each year PIMS-SCA receive hundreds of enquiries from the Promotional Marketing community and our customer’s first question is always what will be the response level to my new campaign? So, I reviewed our data from the early noughties and compared the results with those from a decade later.

It made for a very interesting read.

In 2003, the promotions we evaluated with a stated expected response rate of greater than 3% exceeded 80%. By 2013, that figure had fallen to less than 40%. Digging deeper I discovered that a staggering 50% of the promotions on our database now were expected to generate response rates lower than 2%.

Remember, as a Promotion Risk Manager we are supposed to review those promotions pushing the boundaries of creativity and “financial risk”. And if we are mainly seeing the cutting edge “risky” stuff – then day to day promotional activity must have an even lower expectation of response levels.

Why have things changed so dramatically?

I believe there are several factors that have combined to produce this current state of affairs. Certainly, Client’s promotional marketing budgets appear to be a fraction of what they used to be. And of course, we have a proliferation of URN and Web Check Promotional Mechanics in the market – campaign management tools that whilst making life easier from a brand perspective are clearly a “put off” to most consumers, as inputting URN codes into Promotional Micro Sites is a major barrier to entry.

And while trying not to sound too much like a grumpy old man, the Marketing World’s ongoing “love affair” with Social Media as a promotional channel is another major issue. I recognise it may have its good points, such as delivering brand awareness and raising engagement in a new channel but generating good responses to promotional campaigns is not one of them.

PIMS-SCA are at the “coal face” of response levels every working day and we know what works and more importantly, what doesn’t. We all know that more people than ever are looking for instant gratification, whether that’s in promotions or anything else.

Driving people to a social media platform for spurious reasons is simply adding another level of complexity and driving down response levels for what should be straightforward, compelling promotions.

Both business and audience needs seem to have been forgotten in a rush to employ new techniques and channels as an end in themselves or to employ safe fixed cost techniques such as a Money Back Guarantee, Web ‘Check and Win’ or a Prize Draw in the knowledge that it won’t cost them a fortune.

Real objectives seem to be taking second place to budgetary constraints and the fact that hardly anyone can be bothered to participate doesn’t seem to be important anymore. Any pretence at innovation by locking on a Social Media mechanic is simply wallpapering over the cracks in a campaign.

It’s not where an idea comes from, it’s where you take it

We need to remind ourselves that just because a great, proven, promotional technique has been run before doesn’t mean it can’t be adopted, adapted and advanced with just a little creative thought. Thirty years ago, the award winning Andrex Puppy campaign was launched and yet what else is the current, hugely innovative and creative Meerkat campaign other than a twist on that great, original idea?

Surely promotional campaigns must be about generating real customer engagement like Andrex and They should be about getting customers to do something (buy, try, share) they otherwise wouldn’t have. If there is any rationale to what we are all here for, then it should be about generating a positive customer response, and if not that, then what?

Mark Kimber MD, PIMS-SCA


The importance of promotional marketing

Thu 18 Aug 2016 @ 15:54

Promotional marketing is a brilliant way of tapping into the minds of your consumers. How better to stand out from the drab, monotonous offerings of other brands than with a stand-out, on-pack promotion or prize giveaway?

Human nature craves novelty

While consumers tend to be loyal to brands, they also respond to novelty. People want to shake things up and plump for something they haven’t tried before, or take up an opportunity to gain a reward. On-pack promotions are the perfect way of adding variation to a product while maintaining the integrity of the brand in question. If a consumer sees that his favourite chocolate bar or washing powder offers him the opportunity to win a prize or enter a contest, then that brand has a claim on his attention, and remains exciting.

Promotional marketing in the digital age

As social media continues to grow, viral marketing relies increasingly upon capturing the imagination of ever more dynamic consumers. Promotions and prize giveaways are the most effective means of staying relevant. Where promotions are on packages this does not stop them from transitioning to interactive media such as applications and social media campaigns. Indeed, on-pack promotions can work in tandem with web content to produce greater recognition of a product or brand, to get people talking, and to implant awareness into the minds of consumers.

Help spread your brand name

Prize giveaways are the most social-media-friendly marketing tool at your disposal. Setting up a contest is as simple as posting on Facebook or Twitter, and encouraging users to ‘like’ or ‘share’ in order to be in the running for a prize. By tethering such opportunities to shares on social media, your brand name will soon spread like wildfire. An average Facebook user has around 330 friends. All it takes is for a single user to share once, and then, if the prize is sufficiently enticing, another of their friends will almost certainly share – if this continues and goes beyond the original user’s immediate circle of friends, the competition could go viral and reach tens of thousands of people in no time at all.

What's the return on investment?

Such promotional ventures offer an unquestionable return on investment. Posting on Facebook or Twitter is free. If this increases brand awareness, more people will purchase your product in store. On-pack promotions are just as important since marketers are increasingly finding that a dual strategy is the most effective method of targeting consumers. Web content raises awareness and thereby feeds into package promotions, and many on-pack prize giveaways ask users to enter their details online. If competition between brands is particularly fierce, either because of similarity or price, then a bold and colourful promotion – even if the consumer has no intention of taking it up – can make all the difference. People do not have the time to make complex decisions on the pros and cons of a product while shopping, and so they usually choose the most appealing and exciting package or brand.


National lottery £15 scandal: It’s not just the luck of the draw!

Thu 24 Mar 2016 @ 11:44

National Lottery players were in uproar after the draw on 23rd March as the winners bagged more money for matching just three balls than five. The not so lucky winners who matched 5 balls were surprised to find that they would get just £15, while the prize for matching just three balls was £25. So what happened? There are a number of factors which are equally accountable for the unexpected outcome, so despite consumer perceptions the blame doesn’t sit solely with Camelot.

So, here’s what happened. Since the national lottery restructure in 2014, 3 matches has a fixed payment of £25, whereas 5 matches is allocated a percentage of the total money, 0.36% to be exact. So when an unprecedented number of over 4,000 players matched 5 numbers (80 x higher than usual) they had to share the allocated £61,000 between them.

So why was the number of winners so high for this specific draw? Looking at the numbers that were drawn 14, 21, 42, 35, 07, 41 the majority are multiples of 7. Dr John Haigh, emeritus reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, said players would do well to think beyond lucky numbers, which tend to be birth dates and patterns, and ensure their selection extended across all numbers up to 59. Although this won’t increase a players chance of winning it will eliminate incidents like this from happening again, as the prize pot won’t be shared by such a large amount of players.

Even though this an extremely rare occasion, it’s clear to see why the volume of winners was much higher than usual as numerous players chose a pattern tactic. Camelot should count themselves lucky that ball 28 wasn’t also draw as this would have seen over 4,000 people sharing the winning jackpot of £25 million. This would no doubt have caused even more uproar as winners would have walked away with a share as little as £6,000 of the winning jackpot.

Should the prize structure be looked at by Camelot? Potentially yes. But they could have also eased tensions with a complimentary pay out of £10 for each player, reducing the threat of losing valued players in the long run. However it’s not just the luck of the draw; players have to be savvy in their approach to lotteries. They have to think outside the box if they want maximum pay out, being tactical in the future can help players avoid a repeat performance of the £15 ‘scandal’.
Although this may have created a mass of bad PR for Camelot it certainly wasn’t ‘robbery’ as some players had suggested. Yes, Camelot are partly at fault for allocating such a small percentage of the overall prize fund to matching 5 balls, however the pattern strategy used by such a vast amount of players was very much to blame. Players should be astute about the numbers they pick in the future.


Latest news…

Visit PIMS-SCA’s virtual stand

IPM “30 Under 30” adds more skills and expertise to the PIMS-SCA promotional skills bank

Why do so many brands run promotions expecting so few people to respond?

The importance of promotional marketing

National lottery £15 scandal: It’s not just the luck of the draw!

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