Drive Sales By Crowdfunding Lotto-Level Prizes

 By Greg Seei


Giving away money never gets old.

After fourteen years and hundreds of promotion campaigns, I’m still surprised by what people do when they get a big check. Take Janice, for example. I’m obscuring her name for privacy reasons, but this story resonated with me at a deep level.

Janice actually won a smaller prize. Her $1,000 check was one of the giveaways in a travel center’s campaign that included cash prizes up to $10,000. But this unexpected windfall came during the holiday season, and Janice felt compelled to pay it forward. Rather than using the money to buy gifts for her family, she cashed it into $50 bills and placed the money in tip jars around the community.

James and Susan are another story I’ll never forget. I heard this one from my wife and company president, Leslie. We were working with a restaurant chain on a large campaign that included cash prizes, but there was also the opportunity to win the grand prize of a year’s worth of free entrees.

Since the Northeastern winters had become unbearable at their age, James and Susan bought a second home in Arizona. The only problem is they were on a fixed budget. The best they could afford was a small trailer. Although money was tight, they decided to splurge by visiting a restaurant across from the trailer park once a week and splitting a single entree. The restaurant just happened to be part of the chain we were working with.

You can imagine James and Susan’s delight when they won the grand prize. When I called to share the good news, their first response was simply, “this is wonderful. Now whenever we go, we can each get our own entree.”

Promotions and sweepstakes campaigns always produce memorable moments. At the same time, I continue to be amazed at their ability to drive sales for the brands that utilize them. That’s the part I’d like to unpack. At a time when fuel and convenience retailers need to drive more visits, perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at what a good promotion can achieve.

Promotions Versus Discounts

Fuel retailers have a few challenges coming their way. Not only are vehicles becoming increasingly fuel efficient at a time when EV penetration is rising, but many consumers will park their cars and continue to work from home either full-time or part-time after this pandemic. And let’s be honest: today’s kids don’t get the same sense of freedom from a set of car keys that we did.

If fuel demand goes down, growing volume will become difficult; retailers will have to steal it from their competitors. Unfortunately, this may prove challenging as the industry continues to consolidate and larger brands achieve economies of scale. Even as I write, news just broke of 7-Eleven’s acquisition of Speedway.

Companies like these will be better-positioned to compete on price.

Loyalty programs are one tool that was supposed to help retailers stand out, drive traffic, and retain customers—at least in theory. The problem is that many of these apps are actually discount programs with few or no engagement elements. Does anyone really expect a post-COVID customer to modify her behavior for three cents a gallon if she’s measuring efficiency in miles per week?

This is where an effective promotions campaign can change the game. Imagine for a moment that a consumer is running low on gas and trying to decide between two stations. One station offers a discount of three cents per gallon if they download an app, sign up for an account, and connect their credit or debit card. It’s a lot of work for little reward.

The other station uses our Stop and Win™ program. The consumer receives a complimentary scratch-off game card for a minimum 10 gallon fill or purchases of at least $10 inside the store. If they’re lucky, they may win cash prizes or a new car. Not only does this transform a mundane transaction into something exciting, but it provides a powerful incentive to return next time.

Crowdfund Lotto-Level Prizes

Our goal with the Stop and Win™ program is to level the playing field for fuel marketers, small chains, and independents. It only takes 100 locations to pool resources in order to create lottery-level prizes. Program exclusivity also locks out the competition and prevents them from offering the same deal.

Our official launch is October 15, 2020, and we are currently signing up retailers by September 1st. The ROI is estimated at 1,105% for a three-month program costing $1,695 per participating location.

The larger companies may have a better hand, but that just means everyone else has to play smarter. The Robust Promotions team can help.

Greg Seei is the founder and CEO of Robust Promotions. Since 2006, Robust Promotions has created hundreds of promotions and sweepstakes campaigns for leading brands such as Applebee’s, TravelCenters of America, and Popeyes. Learn more at

Greg Seei


Robust Promotions LLC Villa Park, IL 60181


(Fax) 630-834-2018