A Marketing Effectiveness Case Study
Tour of Terror is a haunted house on the grounds of the decommissioned Nike Missile Base in Wheeler, Indiana. The property is normally a paintball and airsoft facility. On weekends in October they host a military themed haunted house. After five years, Tour of Terror was struggling to grow and awareness was still nonexistent. We were given the chance to promote this haunt in 2018 with the same $8,000 budget the client used in 2017. Our goal was to make residents of Northwest Indiana aware that they didn’t need to drive to Illinois or Michigan for a great haunted house experience.
The government picked the location of this missile base for a reason—it’s in the middle of nowhere. Even long term residents of the area didn’t know it existed. Plus, local competition is strong. Tour of Terror is just 60 miles outside of Chicago, and there are many long running, well established haunted attractions in both Northern Illinois and Southern Michigan as well.
Tour of Terror’s existing website was designed by someone else, and the modest budget did not allow for a makeover. The site is hard to navigate, and lacking the features we would typically use to record ROI.
It was also challenging to advertise the attraction on social media. The military-zombie themed content of our original ads was rejected by Facebook and Google as being too gory. We had to be creative in finding military zombie images that did not include weapons or too much blood. We were very limited on usable material, as the quality of videos and images captured in previous years was poor.
Tour of Terror is the only local military themed haunt, and we focused on that unique quality in both our targeting and our creative. Our objective was to boost awareness of the Tour of Terror and increase ticket sales.
Our strategy was to use low cost marketing vehicles to build awareness. We wanted to reach people on their phones, in their mailboxes, and in their vehicles, so we used social media ads, YouTube pre-roll, Google display ads, electronic billboards, and direct mail.
The end result had a consistent look, a consistent call to action for attendance, and the client’s branding. None of these elements existed in past years.
In 2017 Tour of Terror sold 759 tickets. In 2018 they sold 1,342 tickets. The haunt was open for the same number of days, and promoted for the same $8,000 budget. Our dedication to creating an effective campaign led to a 76.8% increase in ticket sales.