The Great Marketing Get-Together

State fair season brings tasty new foods-on-a-stick and a grandstand full of marketing lessons for those willing to walk the midway.

State fair season brings tasty new foods-on-a-stick and a grandstand full of marketing lessons for those willing to walk the midway. State fair season brings tasty new
foods-on-a-stick and a grandstand full of marketing lessons for
those willing to walk the midway. The Minnesota State Fair, known
affectionately as the Great Minnesota Get-Together, begins
tomorrow, and we’ll explore some of the wild new food concoctions
on offer this year, and dig in to a bucket-of-cookies-size list of
surprising things it can teach us about marketing. The fair, which
began all the way back in 1859, is one of the largest in the U.S.,
now often topping the 2 million attendee mark each 12-day season
and offering fair-goers 322 acres of summer fun in the form of
amusement rides, live music from at least four stages, art,
animals, parades and more. Marketers can gain plenty of insight
from the spectacle of the Minnesota State Fair, so let’s take a
food-centric look at some of the marketing lessons we can learn
from the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The Power of Anticipation On
A Stick Spiral potatoes on a stick image.
Each year fair-goers eagerly anticipate the list of new foods being
released, followed by a period of speculation about how each new
food will taste before the event begins, including some who even

place odds on each new fair food
. Marketers have long built
anticipation into campaigns, especially for organizations with
popular products and services with many dedicated fans such as top
car manufacturers and video game makers. Getting your audience
excited, whether it’s by building anticipation through social
media, search marketing, or influencer marketing, is a time-tested
tactic in many successful campaigns, and we’ll see how the
sometimes over-the-top foods of the fair parallel these methods. In
our age of instant gratification and always-on answers,
anticipation is sometimes overlooked as a powerful marketing
element. [bctt tweet=”“The idea of waiting for something makes it
more exciting.” — Andy Warhol ” username=”toprank”] If your
organization is lucky enough to already have throngs of hard-core
fans, keeping them happy through clear communication about upcoming
releases, teaser previews, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and other
fan-pleasing methods is likely to build continued success. [bctt
tweet=”“Anticipation is sometimes more exciting than actual
events.” — Ana Monnar ” username=”toprank”] FOMO & The
Power of Ever-New Fair Food Two women with cotton candy image.
Over 30
all-new foods
will premier tomorrow at The Minnesota State Fair
for 2019, including:

  • Bada Bing Sandwich
  • Blueberry Key Lime Pie
  • Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites
  • Pebbles & Bam Bam Nordic Waffles
  • Peaches n’ Cream Nachos

Whether it’s one of these or the new Wingwalker Donut Flight with
user-injectable flavor filling syringes, each year state fairs do
an admirable job of getting mouths watering — or perplexing us
with unusual concoctions — ultimately driving interest in a way
that even B2B marketers can emulate and achieve success with.
Reading the list of new fair foods induces a super-size dose of
Fear of Missing Out (FOMA), an emotion that marketers can play on
and work to include in our own campaigns, even if they may not
include chocolate coatings, tornado potatoes and other deep-fried
delights. Try not to let FOMA detract from either your marketing or
your personal life, however. [bctt tweet=”“Joy comes to us in
moments — ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we
get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” — Brené Brown
@BreneBrown” username=”toprank”] State fairs thrive by augmenting
each year’s wild new foods with tried-and-true standby favorites
such as corn-on-the-cob, cheese curds, and corndogs, which
fair-goers have come to expect, just as many midway thrill-seekers
still expect to enjoy a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl — a 1926
Minnesota invention. Tilt-a-Whirl Carnival Ride Image
Knowing when to retire a food requires walking that fine line
between getting rid of a slow seller and possibly removing mom’s
favorite fair treat. Marketers too need to consider their audiences
before dropping an old marketing tactic or channel in favor of a
shiny new selling method. Conducting audience surveys can help you
find out how your customers would feel if you removed an element
from your organization’s systems, whether it’s a chatbot
virtual assistant, an online form, or even support for a particular
social media platform. Understanding your audience’s needs and
desires goes a long way towards building strong customer
relationships, and one way to gain these types of insight is
through researching the questions that your audience is asking, as
I wrote about recently in “10
Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers
.” [bctt
tweet=”“Finding trends in what your current customers need can
help you answer questions that your prospective customers might be
asking, too.” — Jessica Best @bestofjess” username=”toprank”]
Corn Dogs & Classic Social Media Marketing Corn dog image. These days
social media marketing
is a classic tactic, a comforting corn
dog of the marketing world. The specific platforms we use come and
go, and their features change as frequently as the fair-goers
riding the SkyRide or Octopus, yet many social tactics are bedrocks
of marketing. A sizable part of a successful social media marketing
campaign is keeping track of performance benchmarks, as Joshua Nite, our Content
Marketing Manager explored in detail in “Social
Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus
which was our most popular social media marketing post of 2018.
[bctt tweet=”“We should approach evolving our social media with
the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything
else we do.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]
Over the past
15 years
we’ve written a midway-full of additional helpful
articles about how you can best incorporate social media marketing
into your own campaigns, and some of the top recent ones are listed
here, with no midway ticket coupons even required…

Blooming Onions & Podcast Marketing Blooming onion image. Podcasting
has been among the biggest blooming marketing trends in recent
years, with forecasts predicting that ad spending in the podcasting
industry will
top $1 billion by 2021
, equal to more state fair blooming
onions than you could shake a corn-dog stick at. As one of
today’s most promising marketing opportunities, podcasting has
found a new way to take the simple commodity of people talking and
turn it into a highly desirable and profitable digital asset, much
the same as how state fair vendors take an ordinary onion and
transform it into a showy explosion of deep-fried rooty tentacles.
[bctt tweet=”“Stay closer to top-of-funnel with your podcast
ideas. It’s far better to educate, inspire, and entertain your
audience than to try and sell them something.” — Joshua Nite
@NiteWrites” username=”toprank”] As podcasting has bloomed over the
past several years, our team at TopRank Marketing has explored
its’ relevant use in B2B marketing, including the following
recent articles:

Deep-Fried Candy Bars & The Promise of VR/AR Interactive
Marketing Fried oreo image. Virtual reality
(VR) and augmented reality (AR) have also taken marketing by storm,
similar to how deep-fried candy bars have given many the promise of
a bold new future of state fair indulgences. Dip your marketing
Snickers and advertising Milky-Ways into a batter of VR and dunk
them into the fryer, and read up on how interactive elements will
play a bigger role in our future marketing efforts, with our recent
articles here:

Cheese Curds & Search Marketing Cheese curds image Cheese has been
around a lot longer than search engines, yet both are modern
staples for most marketers and many fair-goers. As with social
media marketing, the specific tactics needed to achieve success in

search and SEO
are highly-specialized. Get to the cheesy, gooey
center of your search marketing learning by grabbing a bit bite of
our recent posts on the subject here:

The Full Food Court of Influencer Marketing Minnesota State Fair aerial image.Influencer
is hard to pair with any single state fair delicacy,
as the many benefits it offers when executed smartly are more akin
to the virtually unlimited smorgasbord of flavors available in the
state fair’s main food court. Influencer marketing spending in
the U.S. and Canada has seen 83 percent year-over-year growth,
accompanied by second-quarter spending of $442 million, according
recent research
. Recent data also shows that micro and
niche-influencers are forging stronger target audience connections
and boosting long-term loyalty, and over the next 12 months, 65
percent of multinational brands plan to increase influencer
marketing spending, according to the
World Federation of Advertisers
. [bctt tweet=”“Whether
you’re tired of or wired for “influencer marketing”, make no
mistake: The growth of influence on individual and organizational
effectiveness in the B2B marketing world will continue for years to
come.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”] In Minnesota our State Fair
is considered our state’s Greatest Show on Earth, a similar theme
we recently pursued as we partnered with the Content Marketing
Institute to showcase the
powerful and entertaining combination of influencer marketing and
interactive digital assets
, which you can experience here:

If you’ve never had the
opportunity to experience the splendors of a state fair, we hope
you’ll someday be able to visit one, and if you’re near
Minnesota be sure to take in our Great Minnesota Get-Together. I’ll
leave you with a photo of this author preparing to tackle a
mountain of spiral potatoes at the Minnesota State Fair in 2014.
Lane R. Ellis eating spiral potatoes at the Minnesota State Fair in 2014.

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The Great Marketing Get-Together
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Source: FS – Marketing 3
The Great Marketing Get-Together