The Digital Evolution of Publishers Clearing House

  • UPDATED: 06 October 2023
  • 4 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In a world where digital marketing dominates, Publishers Clearing House (PCH) stands as a testament to the evolution of marketing strategies over the past seven decades.

In this session recap of our #GROWTH event in NYC, join us as we explore the fascinating journey of PCH, and its transformation from direct mail to mobile apps. Also, learn how PCH adapted to engage a new generation of customers while delving into this iconic brand’s history, strategies, and prospects.

Note: Below you’ll find the on-demand session and key takeaways.

Publishers Clearing House: A Household Name

Founded in 1953, PCH has been a household name for 70 years, often associated with the iconic “Prize Patrol” that surprises winners with oversized checks and life-changing sums of money.

But PCH is much more than that; it boasts a diverse range of product lines, making it a unique and multifaceted brand.

The Digital Transformation

From Direct Mail to Mobile Apps: Adapting to Changing Times

When PCH started its journey, the digital landscape was non-existent. It relied solely on direct mail for its marketing efforts.

The world has come a long way since then, with the rise of the internet, email marketing, and mobile apps. Eve Fish, a long-time employee of PCH, witnessed this transformation firsthand. Over her 26-year tenure, she has seen PCH evolve from sending physical mailings worldwide to translating its marketing efforts into the digital realm.

PCH has gone through major transformations over the years. Earlier, we had to translate the mail to email; now, we’re in mobile apps sending push notifications. These seem very similar to direct marketing, and we apply that to different forms and platforms today.
– Eve Fish, AVP of Marketing at Publishers Clearing House

Engaging New Generations to Bridge the Generation Gap

One of the biggest challenges faced by PCH is bridging the generation gap. To remain relevant, it needs to connect with a younger audience. The challenge lies in transforming a brand your grandparents engaged with into something that resonates with millennials and Gen Z.

The Credibility Factor: The Myth of “Is It Real?”

A recurring question that PCH faces is whether its prizes are real. When people think of PCH, they often wonder if “real people really win.” Eve, who worked on the famous Prize Patrol, awarded over $40 million to winners in 40 states. Her testimony leaves no room for doubt – PCH’s prizes are real.

Evolving Product Lines

PCH has diversified its product lines and launched new gaming apps to keep its customer engagement vibrant.

Among them is “Treasure Match,” reminiscent of popular games like Candy Crush. What sets it apart is that as players earn points, they can use them to enter PCH’s prize draws. This innovative approach has kept customers engaged and excited about winning prizes.

The Power of Data: Understanding the Customer’s State of Mind

PCH doesn’t just rely on demographics and psychographics; it delves deeper into the “state of mind” of its ideal customers.

This approach helps them understand what motivates customers to engage with the brand. Their vast dataset, including zero-party data, provides insights that allow them to deliver personalized and timely messages to customers, enhancing the overall engagement experience.

Data is the answer to everything, that’s all that matters. I don’t care how long I’ve been there, if the data says that this is what our customers want then that’s what they’re going to get. We are attesting first data, first company from the very beginning and took that to where we are today.
– Eve Fish, AVP of Marketing at Publishers Clearing House

The Customer-Centric Engagement Journey

PCH’s customer engagement strategy revolves around making customers the center of everything they do. Their data-driven approach ensures that customer preferences and behaviors guide their marketing efforts.

The critical engagement period is within the first 7-15 days after a customer joins. If they engage three times during this period, they become loyal long-term customers.

Publishers Clearing House at #GROWTH NYC Summit by MoEngage

Lessons Learned

In this journey, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Eve’s insights on effective customer engagement include:

  • Trust Data: Data-driven decisions are crucial, regardless of your experience level.
  • Brand Consistency: While adapting to change is essential, always stay true to your brand’s core values and the trust your customers have in it.
  • Embrace Innovation: Don’t hesitate to explore new technologies, strategies, and platforms. Continuously experiment and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Foster Collaboration: Break down organizational silos; effective customer engagement requires all departments to collaborate towards a common goal.

The Future of Customer Engagement at PCH: Continuing to Innovate with AI

What does the future hold for PCH and customer engagement? While the platforms may evolve, PCH believes that the core concept of customer engagement will remain constant.

They are actively working with partners like MoEngage to harness the power of artificial intelligence, ensuring they remain relevant and engaging to new generations of customers.

Having the customers choose what they want is much better than any AI or anything we could do. We’re excited about collecting customer insights and use that to communicate different prizes to different consumers. In the end, I’ll say—listen to your customers, ask them what they want, and give it to them.
– Eve Fish, AVP of Marketing at Publishers Clearing House

In a world where brands come and go, PCH stands as a testament to longevity, adaptability, and customer-centricity. Its embrace of new tech and data-driven decisions has enabled seven decades of success, proving that real people do win.

So, if you’re feeling lucky, why not enter PCH today? As Eve would say, “Remember, it might be a lucky day. It’s not too late to try.”

If you liked this blog, here are recaps and recordings of other insightful sessions that we had at #GROWTHSummit NYC 🚀: