Field trips aren't just a fun way for kids to escape the classroom anymore-they're also an innovative way to help build business. Marketing expert Susan Singer's field trip program benefits kids as well as her corporate clients. Singer, 48, founded her Chicago-based education marketing firm, CPG Field Trips Factory Inc., in 1992. Looking for a way to boost profits four years later, she hit on the idea of offering field trips to her clients' businesses. Instead of a trip to a zoo or a dinosaur museum, children between ages 5 and 12 visit grocery stores, hospitals, auto dealers, banks and retailers. With the cooperation of many of Singer's business clients, children learn important life skills in the areas of nutrition, health care, safety, financial management and consumer education.
The program benefits the businesses that provide the tours as well. "We've had tremendous success in almost every industry," Singer says. "Kids learn incredible things [on field trips]. And they really retain [the information]: Our research shows they'll be loyal to the companies sponsoring the [trips]."
In fact, in 2000, there was a 5 to 7 percent increase in sales for products featured during store tours and a 4 percent increase in purchases made by families of participating students, according to Singer.
Last year, CPG organized more than 3,000 field trips in Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia for more than 90,000 children. CPG enlists the help of educators, focus groups and even children themselves to develop the curriculum used on the field trips.
With current company sales just under $1 million and operations in seven states, Singer hopes to eventually take the program nationwide. "When you hit on something people really need, you don't have to sell it," says Singer. "It sells itself."
- CPG Field Trips Factory Inc., 1735 N. Paulina, #402, Chicago, Il 60622, (888) 205-8782.