Each year, thousands of fairs are held across the United States. Some are large and well known, such as the Ohio State Fair, and some are smaller events. If you think exhibiting or marketing at these types of events isn't for you, think again! From expanding your brand awareness to increasing your customer base, fairs can prove to be smart investments if executed properly. Here's our tips on what's the same, what's different, and how to adjust your marketing compared to more traditional avenues.
Don't just head to the fair because it's well known or well attended. Many fairs can give you past attendee demographic data and help you figure out what to expect in terms of attendance and the number of other exhibitors. Make sure the demographics align with your target market, and that you can handle the estimated attendance. If your product or service is food-based and you plan to give out free samples, make sure those costs are figured into your overall event budget! Read our post about how to determine which events to attend!
Unlike a more traditional trade or consumer show, you may find a more diverse audience. Some attendees may be there for the food, others for the livestock, or maybe the concerts or demolition derby. This gives you plenty of opportunities to align yourself to the audience that fits your company best. Sponsor an event, donate an item to an auction, or get yourself associated with web and social media advertisements if that's what best fits your brand.
How to Adjust
- Be specific and intentional. Choose events, exhibit space, sponsorships or otherwise that meet your goals within your target audience. Overarching strategies may work, but they may also get lost among all the other distractions that accompany fairs.
- Consider the atmosphere. At other shows, the atmosphere may be more business professional. Fairs are typically casual and attendance can be subject to many things from the daily event schedule to the weather. Make sure you're presenting yourself in a professional, yet approachable way to avoid discouraging people from stopping by to ask questions. If you're going to be outside, be sure to plan your space to prepare for anything mother nature may throw your way!
- Stay mindful of your budget. It can be easy to overextend yourself and your finances with all of the opportunities available at fairs. If money is a restriction, consider doing your own advertising alongside anything the fair may be doing. Target your social media ads or Google Adwords to similar followers or demographic. If you're not going to exhibit at the fair itself, capitalize on the increase of people in the area by holding a smaller, fun event of your own.