Even Established Events Need Good Marketing

The Denver Post just reported that the National Western Stock Show had their lowest participation numbers in 9 years. I had a feeling that would be the case…

Flashback to a month ago: I heard a muttering from a friend that they had tickets to the event and asked if I wanted to join. I declined but the event was immediately on my radar. I started listening for advertisements remembering a year ago I heard about the event everywhere I turned. This year I heard none.

No TV Advertisements.*
No Radio Advertisements.*
No Billboards.*

I had nearly forgotten about the event until I read a report from the Denver Post that said event participation should hit a record high. This piece of reporting shocked me since I hadn’t come across any marketing. I assumed maybe they were targeting a different demographic than myself or I was simply out of the loop.

When the news broke tonight that numbers were down, I wondered to myself if it was due in large part to the lack of marketing.

I have an event that typically sees a steady participation rate, almost always at capacity.

Until this past year.

Numbers were way down. And I realized that it was due in large part to our marketing or lack there of. The event has been held for over 20 years and this year we decided to use some sponsorship money for other items and get rid of some marketing we had done year after year. Our thought process was simple: most of our participants have registered for the event for many years, they didn’t need to see an ad, get a piece of mail, etc. to remember their favorite event, right? Wrong.

This year our marketing strategy will change and revert back to some of the old ways. Hopefully our numbers will come back. I believe the stock show marketing team will have to reevaluate their assumptions as well and hopefully they will have a much more successful event next year.

Have you had a drastic decrease in event numbers? Was it due to marketing changes?

~ Thankfully Exhausted

*This is not to say they didn’t advertise. This is just my perception and awareness of their advertising.

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