Brands should make the most of special occasions — but there’s a right way and a wrong way
Halloween is just a few weeks away. That’s good news for youngsters, for Nestlé — and for savvy brands.
Any holiday or special occasion — from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day — is an opportunity to carry out creative marketing and reach a broader audience than usual. And Halloween can be the most enticing: It’s a holiday that spans all ages and is inherently fun.
Indeed, Entrepreneur Magazine recently wrote that “if your small business isn’t celebrating this festive holiday, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with customers.”
This fall, countless brands will use October 31 to roll out custom campaigns, sales, and even products. But not everyone will succeed. As beloved as Halloween is, it’s not carte blanche for brands to unveil any and all goofy promotions. Halloween content can come across as fun, yes — but also cliché, off-brand, or in poor taste.
Here are three simple questions to ask yourself, in order to ensure you’re making the most of All Hallow’s Eve and avoiding any ghastly mistakes:
How deeply should I invest in Halloween marketing? Before placing that Amazon Prime order for fake cobwebs and a crate of Milky Way bars, assess how invested your typical customers and clients are in Halloween. If you have a brand that caters to kids, parents, or young adults (say, a clothing store or a local library), go ahead and place that order. If your brand caters to an older or more professional crowd (say, an insurance agency or solar energy firm), hold off on placing that order — a single Facebook post or clever email subject line will probably suffice. An all-in Halloween campaign would likely squander resources and confuse customers.
Am I approaching Halloween the right way? Even for brands that reach the same audience, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to Halloween marketing. A comic book store can put out a tray of candy for young shoppers. And a bakery can give free sweets to costumed customers. (Indeed, Krispy Kreme is doing just that this year.) But a pediatric dentist? Free candy is bad optics. Make sure you’re tailoring your content to your brand. If you’re that dentist, instead consider a candy buy-back program — youngsters can turn in their candy for a flashy toothbrush. If you’re a pet store, put out candy for people — but also festive snacks for pets.
How can my campaign extend past the holiday? Your goal isn’t just one day of Halloween marketing — it’s leveraging that one day into long-term relationships between your brand and your customers. In exchange for a handful of candy, ask folks to sign up for your email list. If you’re hosting a Halloween event, give away coupons that will ensure attendees visit your store in the future. And if you’re handing out Halloween swag, make sure it has your brand’s name, logo, and contact information.
By asking and answering these questions, you can ensure your brand is making the most of Halloween. And once you’ve established how you’re approaching the holiday, you can focus on the really fun stuff: hanging decorations, baking those pumpkin-shaped dog treats, and writing that spooky email subject line.