If you think all you have to do is gather a few exhibits, buy some entertainment, advertise what is going to happen... and the folks will bang down your door!
WRONG! It's not that easy!
First off, today's leisure-time market has more options with entertainment than "Carter has liver pills." There are virtually dozens of events every weekend in Anytown, USA, tugging at your customer's jacket. You have to fight sports on TV, Sunday shopping hours, the kids' soccer games, and discount movies.
You need to razzle-dazzle them and promise 'em the silver cup or else you're just another ho-hum event. The only foreseeable problem is: If you don't deliver the glitz and the silver cup, you might as well pack up and become "another thing of the past."
Have you been reading the trades lately? I'm sure you'll agree, events are changing. More commercialism. Festivals are now after the 30+ demographics, and motion picture producers are going for the 14- to 26-year-old.
Do you remember when we had the video boom? Record sales went bonkers. All those 45's our children used to buy were put on the back burner; the new priority was to be a video jockey. Now here we are with records, cassettes, and almost CD's a thing of the past. You can't even buy a record player anymore. Music is now downloaded straight to our iPods.
And that's what we event producers have to think about. Are we a passing fancy? There is no such thing anymore as "let's wait a few more years"; it's only our first year. If you don't get them from get-go, you don't ever have 'em.
It all boils down to image and how we go to market. Don't bother developing a new fad. Don't bother creating a new event, festival, or county fair concept. If you don't appeal to the masses, that 51% of the marketplace, you'll just be ordinary. Your image comes from creativity:
Well thought-out plans
Stylized themed graphics for brochures, signage, display ads, etc. Have you seen some of our colleagues' dated clip art?
Clever radio spots. Have you heard some of the ho-hum stuff we all have been using?
Newsworthy press releases.
Using good (very good) communicators representing you.
Knowing what trends are working.
Seeing what works over yonder and making it look fresh and new.
I can go on and on about renewal and packaging, but the most important concept we must remember is that the principles of marketing are the same for an air show, county fair, festival, arts and crafts show, or performing arts event. If you don't understand marketing, you might want to ask for some help. Maybe the marketing department at your bank, corporate business sponsor, or ad agency might wish to volunteer.
Your total package is the image. Remember that today's youth and baby boomers have been raised in an age of electronic media and flash advertising. We're spoiled.
Give me something I want. Tell me you have what I want. And I'll be there... also telling my fellow baby boomers you're the best thing since sliced bread.