Part 2 – Creating Events for Increasing Fair Attendance

One of the Fair’s most valuable partners is the media who will help you spread the message about your fair, entertainment, contests, and everything else going on during the Fair. Regardless of the number of media partners in your market, they provide news and current events to their subscribers/listeners/viewers and you want to make sure your Fair is part of their regular reporting schedule.

Our team meets with our media partners about 5 months before the Fair. We discuss new events and activities. We identify ways for their on-air personalities to promote the Fair. We also share what we have added, changed or eliminated.

As we create new events for attracting a targeted demographic, the media partners are crucial in insuring the event is well publicized. For example, we have partnered with Univision to promote our hispanic event, Festival Latino. We met with Univision 4 years ago, to learn about their audience demographics and share our interest in creating an event during the Fair that would appeal to their audience. Our partnership is a win-win for Univision and the Fair. The Fair purchases advertising on their radio and tv outlets. Univision arranges for entertainment for our grounds and the Fair pays for the talent through Univision.

This year we are adding two events that will attract the Chinese American demographic and the Indian American demographic. We notified our media buyers, who then identified potential media partners for these events and set up meetings to discuss our concepts.

The first meeting was with an Indian American radio station. This meeting included our Fair Staff working on the festival, our media buyers, someone from our marketing team and, of course, the radio station team. This Indian American media outlet is relatively new to our area, however, they reported that there are over 500,000 South Asians in our market which validated our choice of this demographic. We explained our concept and received great feedback and a high level of interest in participating. They have been asked to provide some ideas for local entertainment, food, retail vendors and contests.

The second meeting was with a Chinese American media outlet that owns Chinese radio and TV stations. This meeting didn’t produce the same results. We received a proposal to do a two day event which was a duplicate of an existing event we currently have on site during the non-fair period that is produced by an outside promoter. After explaining that we were not interested in duplicating a non-fairtime event, we asked for a proposal for assisting us in producing a 6 hour event.

Moving forward, our media buyers set up a one day 6 hour whirlwind day of meeting with 5 of our existing media partners. From 9 am – 3 pm we met and shared with them our plans for the current year: what was new and different, what was eliminated and what was being brought back. All of the meetings were very productive, educational and fun! The media partners have worked with our team for many years, and it’s like old home week when we all get together. We learned what the radio and TV stations were are working on, what their demographics like and want, and we also reviewed any challenges we had in the prior year. Overall the daylong meetings were very productive!

In case you are wondering, the Fair provides tickets to the media for fair admission, concerts, meet and greets, rodeo, monster truck, demolition derby, tasting events (wine, beer, craft cocktail), horse racing, and anything else we can offer to them when we do a ticketed event. The Fair purchases advertising on the radio and TV. The media partners then work with us to provide their on air personalities a chance to talk up the Fair during their time on the air. We sometimes hire their on-air personalities to come to the Fair and judge, emcee, participate in our cattle drive, or do a live remote at the Fair.

Each of the media partners expressed a high level of interest in our cultural events and festivals we are producing. An extremely valuable connection was made after we reviewed our two new events because these are the same demographics one media partner is reaching out to.

After the day long marathon of media meetings, our staff met briefly with our media buyers. We received an update on the proposal they had gotten from the Chinese media group – it was for $28,000! It was higher than the total for all 4 events we are producing. So, back to the drawing board on that one. Our media buyers will reach out to the Chinese media group, explain our needs, and ask for a revised proposal. We also all agreed it was time to come up with Plan B for this event!

The day after the day long media meetings, I received a call from one of the media partners about our Chinese American event. She and I had a long conversation about that particular demographic. She shared with me that one of her big advertisers may be interested in sponsoring our event. We talked about our name of the event, Chinese Cultural Celebration, and she shared how in our region the term ‘Asian Pacific American’ or “APA” was used for similar events. The light bulb went off in my head because none of our team had really liked the name of Chinese Cultural Celebration. She also shared how the term “APA” included a larger demographic: chinese, taiwanese, japanese, and filipino. Wow! Another light bulb! Our team was struggling to identify multiple chinese partners, and now, we could open our search to include these other groups, which, by the way ranked high in attending our Fair based on our Fairs survey. As I shared this information with our team the following day, they too were excited.

So now, we wait. All of the media partners are compiling their proposals. We’ve authorized Univision to reach out to the entertainers they brought to us last year and book them for this year. Our team will review our notes from the meeting, make some changes to what we offer the media partners, and work on radio, TV and print ads and other marketing collateral needed for these partnerships to move forward.