The problem with promotions

Running trade promotions in Australia is a complicated business. With wildly different legal requirements state to state, companies typically spend a fortune and wait weeks for a specialist lawyer to draft their T’s & C’s. Plexus wanted to change this and challenged us to create a full, self-service platform that non-lawyers could use to produce fully compliant documents for even the most creative promotion.

10,000+ Permutations = Complex

Competitions and promotions can be genuinely complex. There is an endless variety of factors that need to be considered.

For example prizes such as alcohol will have vastly different conditions to mobile ring tones and simple event tickets differ to fully packaged around-the-world holidays. This is just the tip of the iceberg; with an array of different conditions depending on details such as who the recipient is, how they enter, how the prizes are drawn, where it is advertised, the handling of unclaimed prizes, having multiple prize rounds and more. On top of this the rules vary from state to state.

The challenge was to bring all of these factors together to generate legally binding terms, conditions and permit applications automatically. …Oh, and it should be self-service; no lawyers required.

Early on we constantly asked the question, is it possible to build something that is both powerful enough to be useful and simple enough for our target users?

- Ben Stickland ~ Managing Director, Alliance Software

Alliance staff member talking through with Plexus client

Feedback early and often

Plexus knew they were onto a winning idea and wanted to capitalise upon this quickly.

We collaborated closely with the Plexus team to get feedback early and often. For a number of months, key Plexus staff worked on site with us reviewing work, working directly with our Project Managers and Development team and providing additional input on how to handle the hundreds of edge cases we discovered.

We rapidly iterated wireframes and clickable prototypes to explore different approaches and encouraged Plexus to share and test with their clients and end users. Through this constant feedback we gained learnings and insights that we then incorporated back into the designs.

Early on we constantly asked the question, is it possible to build something that is both powerful enough to be useful and simple enough for our target users?

- Ben Stickland ~ Managing Director, Alliance Software

Establishing a process

Phase 1.

Collecting Promotion Details

The first phase focused on creating a front-end data collection tool. It was a highly interactive step-by-step interface for collecting the details of a promotion with lawyers generating the paperwork manually.

Phase 2.

Feedback & Refinement

With the product out in the market being used we were able to analyse user behaviour and get feedback to refine the user interface further.

Phase 3.

Auto Document Production

The final step was developing ‘the brain’ of the system. All the user’s inputs were connected with a dynamic engine that could produce legally binding documents without intervention. These are reviewed by lawyers to ensure accuracy.

Edge cases galore

There were hundreds of critical edge cases, such as ensuring promotions created in the Northern Territory do not contain alcohol as prizes, or validating that prizes over certain values have scrutineering involved.

Our greatest challenge was to design and build a system that was robust enough to cater to these edge cases amid a constantly shifting legislative landscape.

After thoroughly documenting each edge case, we developed “self regulating” architecture which stores a wide variety of pre-existing promotions and applies these against the system when any change is made. This allows us to quickly perform a thorough set of checks prior to any update.

The Plexus project represents some of our best thinking. It’s these complex challenges we love and thrive on!

- Ben Stickland - Managing Director, Alliance Software

We’re really proud of the work we’ve done with Plexus, and highly recommend their platform.

Find out more about their trade promotions terms and conditions software.

Handling novices through to experts

We faced constant pressure between being simple to use for basic promotions and first time users and powerful enough for expert users. To solve this we looked to mimic good lawyers, using a number of interface ‘tricks’ to guide the user through the journey.

Clear steps

With a clear pathway users know up front what information they require and time required to complete.

Promotion templates

To get started quickly promotion templates can be used, but further to this common answer options can allow skipping over multiple answers.

Progress indicators

Throughout their progress is displayed along with the ability to save and return to their project at a later date.

Abstract away optional details

The Information Architecture is structured in a way that optional and expert details are abstracted away only to be revealed as needed.

Removing legal speak

We worked hard to remove legal speak from all the questions and introduced icons and interactivity to make answering simpler and more visual.

Promotion optimisation

As a cherry on top timely tips help users improve their promotion with suggestions on optimal promotion timings and types of winning methods that work best.

Promotions are just the beginning

With the creation of Promotion Wizard Plexus has slashed the creation
time of terms and condition from weeks to approximately 30 minutes.

The outcome. A product that came in below budget, on time, has a 92% Net Promoter Score and is growing 10% month on month. A considerable amount of this success can be attributed to Alliance.

Andrew Mellett - Managing Director, Plexus

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