Marketing Lessons from Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, and soon (if we haven’t already), we’ll be shopping for costumes, planning parties and buying candy to give out on one of our kids’ favorite holidays of the year.

As I reflect on the traditions and customs that come with this time of year, I’ve identified some parallels between the fun events of fall/Halloween and the marketing of our businesses.

Here are a few business and marketing lessons we can all learn from the fun, scary and sugar-filled holiday of Halloween:

Being present makes a difference. If you have multiple kids going in different directions, you may have to chaperone the beggar’s night and leave a bucket of candy on your front porch. It’s better than not participating at all, right? You may include a note that says something like, “Happy Halloween! Take two treats!”

And while it does the job, it’s not quite the same as being there personally handing out candy. It’s much more fun for the kids to say, “Trick or Treat!” and watch as you place a few pieces of candy in their plastic pumpkins or pillowcases. There’s always the conversation, comments about the costume and other personalizations that make it fun for the kids.

The same holds true for your business. When you, the owner, are personally present in the day-to-day operations, it makes a difference to your customers. You are the one they deal with. You are the one that hears their needs or concerns. You are the one that helps them solve a problem.

Employees, managers and buckets of candy with notes all serve a purpose, but they can’t hold a candle to your personal involvement with your business.

If you have a unique or quality product, people will talk. One of our old neighbors used to wheel a movie-theater style popcorn machine to the end of their driveway and pop fresh popcorn as a treat on Halloween night. The warm, buttery smell called trick or treaters (and parents) from blocks away. Everyone talked about it how good it was. All the parents would ask which house was giving away the popcorn they saw everyone else walking around with. There was often a line of kids and parents all the way down the sidewalk waiting for their small bag. It was popular because it was delicious and it was different.

If you have a product that stands out in front of your competitors’ products, customers are going to talk about it and they will come back for more. How can you make you product different? How can you entice your customers to walk past the other businesses and stand in line on your sidewalk?

Make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for. A corn maze at a local pumpkin farm is fun to get lost in, but no one wants to struggle to find what they are looking for in your business. Whether you have a store with products on shelves, or you rely on your website to provide information for your customers, they won’t tolerate dead ends and walking in circles.

Be sure the information in your business and on your website is presented in an organized, intuitive manner. Don’t make your website copy so heavy that they have to read long paragraphs to find what they are looking for. There should always be a call to action and an easy way for your customers to contact you, ask questions and get more information. Your customers are busy people, and they need to get their information as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Who knew there were so many marketing lessons in Halloween?

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