How a Small Cheese Maker Uses Rolling Contests to Earn Customers

Posted on by Patty Odell

Since the beginning of the year, a small Wisconsin based cheese company has rolled out a steady stream of contests to bring attention to its handcrafted cheeses. Each promotion highlights a different brand, like the company’s Organic Creamery line of products, through a well-honed in-store marketing strategy that relies on coupons to incent purchases.

With a regular calendar of promotions from Great Midwest, DCI Cheese Co. it is grooming its customers to not only expect, but to watch for its latest promotion. The use of in-store coupons encourages regular customers, as well as those new to the brand, to try something new. The promotions also indicate to customers that DCI Cheese has a vested interest in interacting with its shoppers and in giving them added value tied to a bit of fun and a chance to win prizes. All this combined builds long-term loyalty and earns new customers.

DCI Cheese has been rolling out the continual slate of contests and other promotions since at least 2010, and more sporadically prior to that. Here's a look at the promotions it has run so far this year.

 The “Summer of Flavor” began July 1 and runs through August to encourage consumers to try its artisan cheeses like mango, habanero peppers and cheddar, or morel mushrooms, leeks and Monterey Jack. In stores, and a staple for all of the company’s contests this year, consumers will find shelf talkers with tear pads and a coupon. Shoppers carrying smartphones can connect directly to via QR codes on the promotional displays to view recipes and wine pairings and to access the online entry form. Prizes include iPods, Kindle Fires and an iPad.

Players enter at contest websites where DCI Cheese collects insights through registration for its database, such as household income, education and how frequently the player purchases Great Midwest Cheese.

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DCI Cheese has been in business since 1975. It sells a broad range of imported and domestic specialty cheese brands including il Giardino, Joan of Arc, King's Choice, Nikos, Organic Creamery and Salemville.

In June and July, the “Enjoy Life’s Simple Pleasures” contest got underway to bring attention to new packaging introduced for three of the company’s award-winning blue-veined cheeses. The grand-prize winner received a weekend getaway to a bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania’s Amish country valued at $2,000.

In April and May, the company’s brand of certified organic cheeses, Organic Creamery, sponsored a contest encouraging home chefs to submit their favorite recipes incorporating Organic Creamery cheeses, a strategy that encourages multiple and new uses for its products. The submissions were tested and judged by an independent panel according to taste, originality and appropriate use of the cheeses. The winners received eco-friendly prizes for the kitchen including an energy-and water-efficient dishwasher (first place), an 8-piece eco-conscious cookware set (second place) and an eco-friendly bamboo dinnerware set (third place).

March and April focused on the Nikos brand with the “Add a Little ‘Opa!’ to Dinner.” This promotion drove consumers to visit www.NikosFeta.comto view a wide variety of recipes, serving suggestions and wine pairings that were designed to complement the flavors of Nikos feta. While at the site, visitors could enter for a chance to win home delivery of meals from Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, a family-owned company offering healthy meals.

To kick off the year, DCI Cheese unveiled “Flavor for All,” an enter-to-win contest sponsored by Joan of Arc, the companies imported French cheese brand. One grand-prize winner received an all-inclusive weekend getaway, to be awarded as a $2,000 Visa gift card.

DCI Cheese declined to comment for this article, but the increasing  saturation and number of promotions run throughout the years is an indicator that its strategy is working.




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