Fishbowl Marketing

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fishbowl marketing is a business card drawing. It’s when an establishment sets out a fishbowl (usually near a cash register) inviting you to drop in your business card for a chance at winning a prize: a free meal, a gift certificate, or a free service, depending on the business. If you’ve ever dined in a casual restaurant, attended a trade show, or shopped in a local store in the USA you may have encountered this type of promotion.

As a customer, I love fishbowl marketing because it requires no effort (dropping your business card in) and the chances for winning are good because most restaurants have weekly drawings.

As an owner, this simple marketing idea promotes a business locally at minimal cost, it builds good PR (public relations), and it gathers the names of businesspeople who happen to be your customers. If the business is a restaurant, the winner of a free meal is likely to bring others.

My family has been particularly lucky at fishbowl marketing. In recent years the prizes won have included the following:

- lunch for the office at a local Mexican restaurant (this prize was won twice!)
- a $10.00 restaurant gift certificate
- free drinks
- a Happy Hour (including 5 large pizzas, 3 appetizers, and 50% off drinks)
- 40% off my luggage purchase

Those prizes were won locally here in Milwaukee and, of course, I am loyal to these businesses. They provided a wonderful surprise and continue to receive valuable word-of-mouth advertising. Fishbowl marketing can have a great impact for local businesses. I suggest trying it in your part of the world.

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