What, you may ask, is contest management? Contests basically take care of themselves, right? No. And anyone who believes that is not only in for a world of trouble, but potential legal problems. For this reason, when creating a contest it is essential to create a project team which a specific project leader.
This project team will design the contest, operate the contest, and offer all the contest management support required during the contest period. Among the most important of contest management tools is a mailings database and its management. Almost all contests require the contest applicant to send you something. A form, a box top, the answer to a question, something. And the receipt of all this material must be tracked, so that it can be shown that the contest function according to its rules -- if questions are ever raised.
The project manager of you contest management team should appoint a single person to oversee the mailings database management. Like all records management activities this is uniquely important to ensure quality control. You may have the best data entry clerks on planet earth, but even they cannot do their job without a system. You mailings database management team and its leader will create this system, and ensure that it is efficiently and accurately administered.
It is probably best if you offer the mailings database management position to someone in your firm who is an expert in records management. This, for instance, might be a great chance to allow someone in research or even accounting to get a taste of the creative side of your business. Although running a contest is hard work, there is something inherently exciting about it. The promise of prizes. The randomness. The novelty. And because of these factors will believe you will have no problem attracting highly qualified people to the project in-house.
However, if you have no one in-house, we recommend selecting a contest specialist. Although there may be many people outside your firm who could handle contest management or mailings database management, it is always unwise to bring someone new into the equation who is not an expert in the task at hand. A new or temporary employee already has the problems of acclimating to your practices and procedures. In most firms, that can take days, even weeks. There is not need to complicate this process by forcing them to do "on the job" training.
Running a contest can be an exciting prospect. We highly recommend it. However, as we have laid out in this brief article, one needs to understand the importance of contest management and mailings database management. But, if you get this right, and we know you will, your client will be very happy. And so will those contest winners! And, by the way, make sure to send us an entry form!