Exorcise your customers’ ghosts plus 3 more Halloween-inspired tips

October 30, 2012
Jack o lanterns as marketing inspiration

Ghosts are everywhere, especially in places where we don’t expect to find them... like the boardroom. As you gear up to pass out candy, consider these Hallow’s Eve marketing lessons to avoid haunted relationships and unfocused campaigns.

1. Keep your eyes peeled for ghosts

The ghost story of my high school: a nun buried underneath the freethrow line in the gym roams the halls at night. Untrue, sure, but everyone stepped into the gym a little more slowly when all the lights were off.

Customers sometimes come with baggage or ghosts. When establishing a new relationship, listen for signs that your customer may be haunted by a bad past experience with a company similar to yours.

Exorcise those ghosts by openly discussing their concerns and addressing why and how you are different. Turn the lights on. Explain your process and put a plan in place for how all parties will work together. Stay communicative throughout your relationship to keep things positive.

2. Stick to your (pumpkin) plan

Once you’ve carved a jack-o-lantern with the assistance of a stencil or pattern instead of plain eyeballing your knife-work, you’ll never go back. The guidance offered by sticking to an outline can take your pumpkin from a traditional triangle-eyed Joe Shmoe to the ostentatious Lady Gaga of jack-o-lanterns. Really impress your neighbors.

In turn, don’t let the temptation to improvise distract you from your marketing plan. It can be easy for the excitement of a new employee, a new announcement, or a changed deadline to knock some marketing objectives off schedule. Ensure your marketing plan is flexible enough to accommodate a few bumps along the road but don’t allow yourself to lose sight of the great goals you set for yourself and your department. The guidance offered by your overall plan with result in a more polished and successful result. 

3. Have the scariest house

No one remembers the house with the lone-skeleton wreath. Everyone remembers the house where zombies recreate the Thriller music video in the front yard every half hour.

You must go above and beyond sometimes to get attention. Be creative and bold.

4. … Or don’t decorate at all

I grew up in a neighborhood that didn’t have many young children. If my family had 5 kids ring the doorbell on Halloween night, it was a lot. As a result, very few homes turned on their porch light for trick-or-treaters, much less decorated. Why expend great energy decorating when the right people weren’t there to share their joy?

The marketing takeaway? Don’t expend your energy crafting messaging for a group that’s not going to deliver a return. Remember that everyone is not your audience. Pinpoint the groups you want to attract and can most effectively target, then reach out to them in a smart, laser-focused way. Let the rest go.

What does Halloween inspire for you? Have you ever had a ghost spook a relationship? How did you salvage it? Have you ever deviated from your “stencil” or marketing plan? How did you recover?

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[Image: Valarie Geckler]