I Don’t Love A Parade, But Your Customers Might

Oh! How I love a parade!

Okay, that’s a lie. I hate the things. Let me be more succinct, here: I like watching the multi-million dollar ones on television during the holidays when I can eat leftovers in my pajamas. I don’t like the local ones, because I’m lazy, I’m high-maintenance in the entertainment department, and cold and I haven’t spoken since I was eleven.

But that’s okay! Who the heck needs my grumpy ass curmudge-ing their event, anyway? This is about YOU!

Many parades are sponsored by local Chambers of Commerce, while others are sponsored by local Governmental or Social entities. And all of them are an opportunity to gain recognition for your business from a great many folks all in one go.

So what can you do about it? Here’s my recommendation: participate. Here’s my second recommendation: If you do, go big or go home. In the few parades I have participated in (don’t ask) it was clear who the eyeball winners and losers were. If you’re carrying a white banner that says, “Local Motorcycle Club”, then you’re already in trouble – especially if the float or attraction in front of or behind you are more interesting. And, unless they’re stoic undertakers standing still, they will be.

When I was sixteen, I worked for a short while at a comic book emporium in an adjoining city. When the time for the local parade came around, the owner had an idea: He would contact Marvel and contract Spider Man for the day. And that one spandex clad dude (his name was Jacques, and he was super nice, if you want to know his secret identity) STOLE THE SHOW. Every eyeball for sixty feet either way was on him, as he capered about, high-fived kids, and had his picture taken more times than a drunken celebrity. We (the comic book store lackeys) followed behind, and handed out flyers for the “Spider Man After-Party” held at the comic book store.

When the parade was over, we returned to the store. A now jam-packed, probably fire code-violating, store. Kids and parents stood in line for pictures, smiles were everywhere, and we sold a gazillion dollars of merchandise – a goodly amount of it, not surprisingly – Spider Man related.

I can’t even factor the return on investment this one small idea brought, nor the potential new customers who had never been to the store. I also can’t quantify how many times that day I heard, “I knew you were here, but I never stopped in.” Or, “I didn’t know you sold >Item In Question Here<!”

So this is why I say go big, or go home. Because I can’t tell you who was in front of, or behind us. And I’ll bet no one else could, either.


~ by digitalninjasmedia on November 21, 2011.

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