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Home > Haunter's Lbrary > Marketing, Revenue & Ticket Sales > Selling Your Event to Local Businesses

Selling Your Haunt Event to Local Businesses
By Michael Cruz, Member

Generating sales for your haunted attraction is actually a two-fold responsibility. As mentioned in the Maximum MarketScream Performance chapter, selecting the target audience for attendance at your attraction, is important. By the same token, being able to involve your community is equally important&emdash;and this is where Selling Clientele will help you.

There is no doubt that we live in one of the most exciting times to be involved with the special events industry. The growth of business' relationship has proven to be a valuable resource for special events, including haunted attractions. However, it was not always this way.

Fifteen years ago, American businesses were undergoing rapid changes and as a result, the concept of event involvement bolted into national prominence. Tough economic times led the way. Remember the stratospheric inflation of the early 80s? It was taking such a heavy toll on the events industry that some organizers were actually facing the threat of extinction. Various sports events, community festivals, concert tours, and other events had become so cost-prohibitive that few could support them anymore by ticket sales alone. Only a radical departure from traditional financing methods could save the industry.

The solution came from rapidly developing changes which were in both Corporate America and the media. Revisions in federal regulations, skyrocketing prices, and ever-changing consumers made traditional advertising either unavailable or undesirable, even to some of the largest companies. In short, the nation's corporate giants needed a whole new approach to reach their customers, and event sponsorship with promotional opportunities, wasted no time in filling the void. Companies soon found that sponsoring special events and other activities provided them with excellent public-relations options in a market composed of sophisticated consumers no longer approachable in the traditional mass-media.

Luckily, events are inherently capable of providing special features for participating organizations. Known as value-added marketing, it gives you the ability to provide proof to the business community that you understand their needs, and are offering a worthwhile event where businesses may participate in a proactive marketing relationship. You must prove price, quality, convenience, and customization before beginning to promote your attraction in any form.

Before contacting any entity to request their involvement, you need the answers to the following questions:

• What opportunities can be made available?
• How do you choose which businesses should be targeted?
• How do I locate the decision-maker?
• What research obtained can help me tailor a proposal to meet their needs?

The answers to the above questions are necessary. Just calling up a local business to ask for their participation or support isn't going to get you very far, unless you (a) already have an established relationship or (b) have a plan of action and know exactly what you want from them.

Once this is completed, you must clearly define your proposed to the business community. Compile a thoroughly comprehensive list of potential recipients for either sponsorship or promotion. Start by purchasing copies of daily and community-oriented newspapers in your area, searching for major advertisers. Local retailers, car dealerships and financial institutions typically consume the largest portion of news print advertisements. If their audience is compatible to yours, try to "sell" them on the worthwhile opportunities you offer.

Haunted attractions are also known to work with the following the type of organizations:

• costumes stores
• comic/trading card outlets
• local taverns/nightclubs
• church/youth organizations
• college fraternities/sororities
• civic groups
• charities
• major employers/associations

The most common method of getting the business community involved is to develop a proposal. There are three types of proposals you may develop&emdash;sponsorship, promotion and advertising.

Advertising. By using value-added features, known as event amenities, your proposal to the media may further extend your advertising budget. Specific advertising purchasing strategies are covered in more depth in Field of Screams, but there is also a Instant Report available via our fax-on-demand system (request document 301 for a complete directory).

Promotion/Sponsorship. Promotion and sponsorship require the greatest amount of work before submitting a proposal to a recipient. Sometimes you may wish to receive support from a business but not necessarily financial assistance. This is where a promotional proposal will come into play.

Promotional vs. Sponsorship
It can be rather confusing trying to actually define "promotion" and "sponsorship" as both event marketing disciplines provide your haunted attraction some type of support. A promotional partner assists your haunted attraction by using one or a combination of promotional strategies. These can include: coupons, group sales, group discounts, premium incentives, or ticket giveaways. Creating a promotion proposal is much simpler than a sponsorship package because you're not directly asking for financial assistance.

Sponsors are companies who contribute financing, in-kind product, or employee volunteers. These programs are typically more complex to develop because you're requesting a financial commitment. Sponsors may provide a combination of financial or in-kind assistance and concurrently implement a promotion (e.g., distributing discount coupons).

Types of industries working with haunts
Now that you have a good understanding of what these differences are, your next step is to determine which "industries" would be appropriate to solicit for your event. Every attraction is unique, however, some companies may not be compatible with your audience, possibly including alcoholic and tobacco products. Listed below are industries other haunts have used.

  • Automotive-Vehicles
  • Beverages-Beer, Juice, Soft Drinks, Spirits
  • Financial Services-Banks, Credit Card
  • Food-Candy, Cereal, Snacks
  • Lottery
  • Media-Newspaper, Radio, Television
  • Restaurant-Family, Fast Food
  • Retail-Convenience/Department Stores, Hardware, Mass Merchandisers, Supermarkets

The MarketScream Connection
As in other areas of the MarketScream Web, there are specific considerations which must be taken into consideration. ask yourself the following questions...

• Which strategies will you implement?
• What event amenities will be offered?
• How can you combine your promotional strategies?

• Are you going to offer any discounts to the general public, a specific segment or group, or both?
• Is your potential promotional partner's audience compatible with yours?

• What is the amount of the discount?
• Who is responsible for the expense of printing coupons?
• What type of restrictions will you place on the offer?

• How will coupons and posters be distributed?
• What is the size of the geographical area covered?

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