Work – 3 things Mardi Gras Revelers can teach you about Marketing

It’s that time of year when the many in the Southeast corner of our great nation lose their collective minds over a brightly colored round cake and oodles of cheap beads. Not solely confined to the South, but traditionally centered around New Orleans, Mardi Gras, by definition, refers to Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, and more generally to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday.

I nearly missed my first day of work at ndp two years ago after flight delays returning from my annual trek to NOLA. After working here for a couple of years, I’ve learned that ndp actually has a couple of ties to the great state of Louisiana. There’s an Account Executive who grew up in New Orleans, and a Digital Designer also from the Cajun state. I wasn’t born there, but plan to reside there in my golden years, and for now will be content with being a member of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx, the first all-female Super Krewe in Carnival’s history.

Riding on a float during the Mardi Gras madness gives you an entirely different perspective on the events, and it’s come to amaze me how creative revelers will get in trying to get your attention to throw them some beads, or a treasured signature throw that many of the Krewes are known for. During the rushed madness of the parade, I’ve noticed there are a few things that folks in the crowd can do to get my attention. Being a life-long marketer – it’s not lost on me how the successful parade loot-grabbers utilize common-sense business marketing tactics to score their prizes. Here are some of their best practices that you can translate into your own business marketing efforts.

1. Get up close and personal. Most Mardi Gras floats are huge, and in certain areas of the route, crowds can come right up to the side of the float. It’s hard to ignore a request when you’ve got face to face eye contact with someone. Same goes for business – you can send an email introduction, or a direct mail piece on all the great things about your company, or you can get out there and ask for those beads, er – business, face-to-face. You might be surprised how often you’ll hear “yes.”

 2. Advertise. You want beads, or really, really want a signature Nyx purse? This is your first Mardi Gras? How am I to know that? Oh, you’ve got a sign – well, that helps! We pass literally thousands of people on our parade route and all the faces start to blend together after a while. But when we see a well-crafted or hilarious message that someone’s taken the time to put on a giant sign – that’ll get our attention. That’s just like your advertising. Thousands of people could both literally and metaphorically pass by your business each day, so make the investment in time and money to craft a great advertising message to get their attention.

 3. Be persistent. The floats move pretty slowly, but they most always continue to move. Without fail, each year I will have one reveler who will get my attention for a throw, and follow me along the route until they achieve success. Last year, I had one man follow me for about a block (which is impressive considering the crowds) for a large strand of beads. The beads kept getting tangled (my fault), and I felt bad because he was so determined, so I finally gave in and threw him a purse – wrapped in the large beads he was after in the first place. Score! Customers are not going to throw you their business (beads) just because. Be persistent and consistent with your marketing efforts, and you may end up with the big win. 

Now that I’m back – I’ve got a stash of 2017 beads here at the office if you want some, just let me know.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!!