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The stench of Fourth of July fireworks had barely faded by the time grocery store shelves were packed with Halloween candy this year. Horror movie-themed blogs touted Target’s 2018 Halloween decor offerings by August.

This was also the first year we can recall social media friends posting about the excitement around pop-up Halloween shops, such as Spirit, finally being open. Halloween will become a nearly $10 billion holiday in 2018, and it would be a mistake to let Halloween content marketing slip by you like a phantom apparition.

We’re a business-to-business marketing company, and none of our clients are currently peddling fun-size Snickers or superhero costumes. But, knowing the value the Halloween season can bring means thinking of clever ways to incorporate the Great Pumpkin into our inbound output.

You can bet our social media image headers will soon feature some ghastly creatures with some cunning wordplay. How about an image of a frightening, run down manse with the words, “Are kids scared to visit your old website like it’s the neighborhood haunted house?”

More than 180 million Americans celebrate Halloween, so it’s likely that your customers already have the holiday on the brain (yum, brains!). According to We Are Top 10, 34% of consumers do their Halloween shopping in September. Only 25% wait until the last two weeks of October for their holiday goodies.

Here’s an example of some horrific marketing we did for a client. A local coffee roaster/cafe was running ads in the weekly newspaper, and we decided one way to engage readers was to embrace the season.

We chose some punny prose to go with some funny-meets-frightening imagery that worked really well in black and white. Think “Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein.” Our goal for the series was to stand out from other ads, while also staying within the consistent look and feel we had established week to week so readers would recognize our client on the crowded pages.

Here are some of those ads:

We presented the series to the New Hampshire Creative Club, and It was accepted into the annual juried exhibit.

We’ve scared up a few ideas for you to add some Halloween flavor to your marketing efforts over the next few weeks:

  1. Have your graphic designer create zombie versions of your key team members and send the image to clients. Use a subject line like: We Came Back from the Dead to Wish You a Happy Halloween.
  2. Temporarily rebrand an old product to give it a spookier look.
  3. Reverse Trick ‘r’ Treat! Drop off some candy at a prospect’s office during Halloween week. Candy is always popular around the office and it will make you unforgettable.
  4. Encourage engagement by asking customers to post photos of costumes on your social media. People love sharing photos of their kids, pets and even themselves in costume. Adult cosplay has become huge, and the bulk of participants fall into the valuable demographic of 23-39 years old.
  5. Plan a Halloween-themed event (and don’t forget the candy!).
  6. Give your regular email, blog or newsletter some Halloween flavor.
  7. Consider sending a gift to cherished clients. Lots of printers can make stuff in 24 hours. Add a monster saying to something everyone needs — a phone charger. “We know losing your charger turns you into Godzilla.” Boom, unforgettable.

If you’re feeling truly adventurous and like to embrace pop culture in your marketing, consider this: 2018 also marks the 40th anniversary of filmmaker John Carpenter’s classic slasher flick, “Halloween.” Its producers stabbed onto the concept of releasing a new movie this October, ignoring all the other sequels. Early box office predictions see the film bringing in $40-60 million in its first weekend.

The original “Halloween” was one of the most-successful independent releases of all-time, making $70 million globally from a budget of $325,000. It is also considered one of the best horror movies ever.

Michael Myers a.k.a. The Shape may be one of the most-frightening movie monsters of all-time, but piggybacking on his new movie with some ingenious marketing tactics could bring in some killer new business.

One nugget of advice: forget pumpkin spiced everything, including your marketing. The backlash has begun against everything becoming that flavor. Plus, soon enough, pumpkin spice will be in season 365 days per year.

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