question

Thrill of the Hunt (www.ThrillScavengerHunt.com) develops and administers scavenger hunts for public and private events. I’d like to focus on public-hosted scavenger hunts. How do I increase interest in my public-hosted events among participants (purchase tickets) and vendors with very modest budgets to sponsor the hunt? I am considering using Groupon.

Heather Piper

Co-owner, Thrill of the Hunt

answer

You really have two distinct audiences in this question: potential sponsors and potential participants. Note that the channels to reach target participants could vary widely, since some of your hunts are aimed at special groups (such as single adults) vs. families.

Given how much participant marketing could change from event to event, starting with the sponsors seems prudent, so let’s consider some uses of the Groupon idea.

What if you worked with Groupon to connect with local businesses that have had some success with that channel? This would give you some target businesses to pitch on sponsorship, but more important, a list of businesses that could tell you what types of participants to attract. If many of the vendors finding success with Groupon concentrate on families, you may do better with an all-ages event. However, if the biggest users of Groupon in that market are younger singles, your “dating” event might be the ticket.

Once you have the market knowledge and establish the right kind of event to promote, you can begin to think about how to reach out through channels other than Groupon.

Again, the first line of action should be on gathering additional market knowledge about the target audience. If the event is family-oriented, exploring publicity in local print and online parenting columns and event listings will be necessary. Consider ads on local family blogs and websites. Also, looking into the geocaching community might create interest.

By contrast, a young adult audience might be best reached via a coordinated social media campaign.In any case, your marketing should be driven by the context provided by basic market research.

About the author

Michael Porter is the director of the master’s in health care communication program at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.