Yesterday you heard from Chuck about his experience with Denver’s Channel 7 Top of the A-List. Today I’ll be giving my take on this contest and all contests like it, and my perspective on it is pretty similar to Chuck’s. Back in 2007, the first year this contest hit Denver, I too fell for its appeal. My business was only 4 years old and I really wanted the recognition, figuring I’d be flooded with phone calls and emails from people wanting to hire me. I worked diligently, telling everyone I’d met in the past 20 years of my life about this contest and how I had to win! Heck, I’ll even admit it–I hit up old boyfriends from my college years to vote for me! Seriously, I asked everyone I knew to vote for me!
And…yay me! I won FIRST PLACE! Wow, business was about to explode, right??? WRONG. No, instead the calls I got were people asking for free donations of flowers or trying to sell me their products.
When I stopped to really think about it, what had I really won? Recognition from my friends and family that already support me whole-heartedly? What was the point? Why did I waste so much time trying to achieve this “honor?” The plaque came in the mail and I did hang it up on the wall. But not far from it is something I find much more gratifying. In 2005, I was selected by (now defunct) Elegant Brides Magazine as one of three top floral designers for weddings in the state of Colorado. While I was writing this post I stopped to look at that note and page on the wall, and it made me smile. They chose me without my knowledge, and without me emailing everyone I’ve ever met to ask for a vote. That’s an honor that truly means something to me.
I can see the marketing appeal of a contest like this–except I never got any tangible benefit from it, and, given the nature of the contest, I’m not sure consumers get any benefit either.