And the Award Goes to… Our Obsession with Popular Votes & How Marketers Can Benefit

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year award (commonly referred to as SPOTY) has become something of an institution. In fact, it is almost like a sporting contest in itself, where the winner is lauded as a champion for their achievements in that particular calendar year. Of course, like many popular award ceremonies, SPOTY has not been without its controversies. When Andy Murray picked his third award last year, social media was awash with those focusing on the “personality” aspect of the prize and the Scotsman’s apparent lack of one.

The ceremony was first held in 1954 at the Savoy Hotel in London where athlete Christopher Chataway was handed the inaugural trophy after more than 14,000 people cast their votes via postcard. When Andy Murray won his third title in 2016, the number of voters exceeded one million. That figure is expected to be surpassed again in 2017, with boxer Anthony Joshua currently odds-on favorite to pick up the award. According to this article, should he win, Joshua would be just the fifth pugilist to claim the award in its history.

But SPOTY is just one of many awards ceremonies and voting polls that continue to capture the imagination of the UK public. The Pride of Britain Awards, a TV event that honors those who have performed courageous acts or overcome challenging situations, is now watched by more viewers than the Oscars or the BAFTAs.

TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor rely on viewer voting to decide the ultimate fate of the contestants. And, while the BBC does not reveal the voting figures for its ballroom-dancing based extravaganza, ITV’s singing showdown saw over 6.4m votes cast in last year’s final alone.

Social media polls

Of course, it is not just TV voting polls that continue to grow in popularity. With the advent of social media, there is never an hour that goes by when there is not an opportunity to cast your vote on a range of topics and issues. And for the millennial generation, this behavior has become the norm.

Handing the ability to host a voting poll to the entire planet has enabled us to discover the answer to some of life’s burning questions. For example, a twitter poll questioning whether Die Hard was actually a Christmas movie received more votes (14,741) than the first Sports Personality of the Year poll back in the 1950s.

Voting polls as a marketing tool

For those who work in marketing, social media and online polls can be extremely useful tools. In this following example, the folk over at Marvel were able to engage with their followers while also gaining some valuable insight into their comic reading preferences:

And for those with a significant following, having access to such quick and easy market research can gather the kind of accurate information that would have cost a fortune to compile just a few years back.

Even if you are a small business or an individual with a product or service to market, you will inevitably find yourself using social media as part of your online marketing strategy. So, finding new and entertaining ways to engage with your clients/followers is certainly good practice.

Social media polls that ask the right questions can gain a lot of traction and help you reach a whole new audience. Online conversations and mentions of your brand or product can then be monitored through lead management software. From there, the most popular type of content can be identified and used to plan future social media strategy.

Twitter or Facebook polls can also be used for product research such as choosing a color or name. Not only will you get customer feedback but you also get recognition for your new product. Voting polls also allow you to react to real-time events that may be relevant to your field. You could even hold a poll to see if people agreed with the outcome of another vote such as SPOTY!

Remember, people love polls, people love to vote in polls, and people love to see how other people have voted in polls. So, it makes sense to drive the conversation yourself by hosting your own online polls.

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