Marketing Millions: How the Powerball’s Strategy Generates Big Bucks

With two $1 billion+ jackpots in recent months, the Powerball remains top-of-mind for many.

But here’s the thing: the odds of actually winning the jackpot are about 1 in 292.2 million. Yet despite the incredible unlikeliness of having the winning numbers, Americans still buy tickets religiously, hoping to become the next life-changing winner.

With such incredible odds stacked against people, how does Powerball’s marketing team continue to keep so many people engaged and invested?

Powerball’s Marketing Techniques

Marketing tactics via online, social media, or TV advertising continue to be the most effective for Powerball. Considering over 57% of adult Americans buy at least one lottery ticket each year, Powerball’s efforts certainly reach an extensive audience. A key detail of their marketing strategy is giving people hope that they can be the next winner. 

“Don’t Miss Your Chance To Become A Millionaire” and “Are You Holding A Winning Ticket?” are just two of Powerball’s many catchy and clever slogans. These sentences drive the idea that winning is accessible to anyone who purchases a ticket, regardless of the actual odds of winning.

Tickets are cheap — almost too cheap.

Tickets are only $2, and the winning jackpot has exceeded a billion dollars several times in Powerball’s history. So, who wouldn’t want to take those chances? According to Business Insider, the human mind frequently associates heavy importance with improbable events, like winning the lottery. 

Forty-three out of the 45 states that support the Powerball lottery sell tickets for $2, and Idaho and Montana sell tickets for $3. With ticket prices this low, playing the lottery is available to just about everyone, allowing Powerball to market to a vast audience. Essentially, low ticket prices mean a high purchase rate for Powerball.

After a loss, many people think they’re “just short” of winning.

Powerball encourages people to keep playing repeatedly, especially after a loss. Another slogan of theirs, “Believe In Something Bigger,” keeps people coming back because they are under the impression they are fated to win. 

Someone who didn’t win the lottery but got one, two, or even three numbers correct may think they are that much closer to winning the next time, encouraging them to play again. Statistically, past results have zero influence on future drawings.

Photo: via Shutterstock.com

Powerball highlights their winners, not their losers.

Lottery players ignore the hundreds of millions who play each week with no luck. This is a function of what Business Insider calls the “Availability Bias.” People tend to overestimate their odds of winning because of what has happened in the past, basing their expectations on other people’s results. 

Powerball strategically highlights its winners and makes people forget about losing. They do this by:

  • Sending news releases to garner media coverage
  • Featuring winners in the Winner’s Gallery
  • Consistently advertising the next jackpot, regardless of value

These tactics expose players to the lucky individuals who struck it rich, playing on their hopes that it will be them one day.

Powerball’s marketing strategy and ability to advertise to anyone, anywhere, are core to its success and continuous record-setting jackpots. Ultimately, Powerball’s team shows that a combination of using people’s emotions and beliefs to create a connection between the company and the customer continues to be a powerful way to inspire campaigns and improve revenue.
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