Trick or treating with great ROI | DMA

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Trick or treating with great ROI


I’m at the awkward stage in life where I’m certainly too old to go trick or treating with my friends but I’m not quite old (or responsible) enough to have children of my own to take. So instead, I’ve realised there’s many similarities between trick or treating and marketing.

Where I lived when I was younger, we had to dress up and look GREAT so that we could get more goodies. Therefore, I like to believe this is where I started my first marketing strategy.

So of course, the first stage is setting goals. Pretty easy for a 7-year-old. I wanted sweeties and I wanted a massive big binbag-full of them. So, one bin bag full was my goal. But how to achieve this?

Well obviously as it was Halloween, I needed to dress up and knock on people’s doors (With my poor mother’s supervision of course). But I needed to look amazing and scary and memorable.


I’d analyse the competition (i.e. ask all my friends what they were being and do something completely different) because it’s obvious, nobody is going to hand out a plethora of sweets to yet another ghost or a cat, because they were quite often cheap costumes demanding a large amount of sweeties.

Then would be the fun albeit, frustrating part for my dear parents: the creation of the costume (or advert to gain revenue). Out came the scissors, material and sewing kit and a few tantrums later, the advert was created. I always thought when it was finished, I’m going to get a fabulous ROI this year. Well it may have been more; “Yayy I’ll get more sweeties” but the principle is the same.

So off I’d toddle down the streets promoting my terrifying costume. Sweeties would roll in left, right and centre. And if people wanted a more personalised experience, and asked for ‘trick’ then out came my polished magic trick that would gain me more sweeties for going the extra mile. Just shows how something extra that is so small can really change a person’s perception of a brand as it’s been tailored more for them.

Two hours would pass and everything would start to quieten down so with my frozen little hands I would trudge back home. But the night was far from over.


I’d then have to measure my success. Counting the sweeties and sorting them into what to have now, what to save and what to invest (a.k.a giving my brother some so he would let me on the computer).

So the whole process is not far from an adults marketing strategy – obviously it’s a lot simpler and there’s not quite as many components, but it shows that planning is vital. Knowing your target market is key too, as well as knowing how to tempt your audience with offers (the trick) in order to monetize. So as a young trick or treater who patrolled the area often, I’d have my own little database in my head: who had moved house? Has anyone died in the area? Who ‘unsubscribed’ from giving sweeties last year (a.k.a. who had been rude and not opened the door. How can people think we can’t see the curtains twitching?). I’d have my route so I didn’t duplicate visits and risk a bad brand reputation and I wouldn’t visit houses who hadn’t given their permission (a lit pumpkin).

Clearly, it doesn’t take spiders’ legs and newts to throw into the marketing formula. You need accurate data and a strategy for the faceless customers behind the doors (or online in the adult world) so you can better enhance your techniques to give a really ghoul, sorry, cool brand experience.

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