As co-owner of Thrill of the Hunt, a company that develops and administers scavenger hunts for public and private events, is there a best practice to obtain contact information to target corporate event planners or directors of HR? Is there an avenue such as an online community, a method for word of mouth or different practice to bring on new business?

Heather Piper Thrill of the Hunt


While a regionally focused business like yours might be able to work with a list ­broker to purchase contact data, including e-mail addresses, one can assume a few things about the value of that type of list. First, much of the list is likely outdated for any number of reasons, including movement of people from one job to another. Second, even those contacts that are accurate will have to be presented with a uniquely compelling e-mail subject line (assuming you get past the spam filter) or a stand out direct mail piece.

If you genuinely consider "word-of-mouth" among event planners and HR directors to be a path to building inquiries, why not put yourself in that conversation. To start, engage yourself in regional associations in which these managers seem active. Not just purchasing a booth at a conference, but really being a part of the organizational functions. Plus, as a member, you may not be able to buy the list, but you can view it and prospect from there.

This approach requires a great deal of tact and your involvement needs to be genuine, but it can serve you well.

In the same manner, you might consider becoming a member of online communities that these professionals frequent. Again, it is not merely enough to lurk around and try to snap up the names of targets, or to use the conversations to directly sell your offerings. Become a substantive contributor to the community and your reputation will support that of your business.

About the author

Mike Porter, is director of the Master of Business Communication Program at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business