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Agrimarketing : January February 2008
42 AgriMarketing January/February 2008 BEST OF CAMA • 2007 CANADA'S 2007 BEST OF SHOW by Debra Clarke, Communications Coordinator, IPSCO Place Can you really be all things to all people? The 2007 Western Canada Farm Progress Show, the largest dryland farming show in Canada, proves that you can. One of the show's reasons behind its ongoing success is that it effectively caters to several target markets within the agriculture industry. Conversely, this is also one of the show's biggest marketing challenges. "While our own research recog- nized key areas where the show could add programs and still be viable," says Rob O'Connor, Show Mgr. "We had to reach specific audiences and prove to them why the show was important to them. Otherwise, it wouldn't be an efficient use of our time, resources or money. "This meant coming up with different marketing tools that would incorporate an overall and consis- tent show theme and still be diverse enough to capture the attention of the various audiences that we'd identified." A dedicated team of marketing and event planning professionals proved they were more than up to the task. It's interesting to note that all of the show's marketing planning, preparation and execution are han- dled internally and are not contracted out. With the show marking its 30th year in 2007, the team structured the campaign to focus on two main mar- kets: trade-show exhibitors/sponsors and attendees, with this last group encompassing a large yet diverse group of people that included produc- ers, buyers, sellers and farm families. "In order for your event to remain relative to the industry that it caters to, you have to make changes on a regular basis. You also have to find ways to make your audiences aware of those changes," says O'Connor. THE MARKETING MIX So how did O'Connor and his team accomplish what they set out to do? In simple terms, it came down to the marketing mix: product, price, placement and promotion. The product was the event itself and the many marketing opportunities it presented. The show's message was straight- forward. For exhibitors, the event provided them with a tradeshow busi- ness atmosphere that would deliver qualified buyers. For attendees, the event was a world class show where a large number of exhibitors would be there to cater to their specific wants and/or needs. There was also an education/ information component balanced off with a social element that included concerts from two big names in country music, Willie Nelson and Paul Brandt. The price was the amount allo- cated to be part of the show either as an exhibitor or an attendee; place- ment was making sure the most effective channels of distribution were covered; and promotion was achieved through strategic advertis- ing, sponsorships and media buys. Some of the marketing devices used included direct mail pieces (show magazine, application package, exhibitor manual), media buys (radio, TV, print, billboards) and on-site pro- motions (official show guide, pre- show ticket sales promotion, show pin, media guide). Virtually all mar- keting tools directed audiences to the show's Web site, where an abundance of information on the various aspects of the show could be found. One of the most important mar- keting pieces in the direct mail cate- gory was ShowTalk, a magazine designed specifically for the event's exhibitors and sponsors. Published three times annually, the magazine's aim is two-fold: retain existing clients and attract new ones. As an acknowledgment of the magazine's growing popularity, O'Connor notes that there has been an increased interest in advertising from a num- ber of companies. KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT Targeting specific audiences and raising the profile of the show is one thing. Increasing the bottom line is something else. As with any event, success is ultimately measured by attendance numbers and final sales results. In 2007, the Western Canada Farm Progress Show attendance increased by 8.5% and exhibit sales increased by 9.2% over the previous year. With an annual average atten- dance increase hovering around 5%, the show has become recognized as "Canada's National Farm Show" and is one of the top farm shows in the world. But while increased qualified gate attendance is the mark of a suc- cessful show, successful marketing is recognized in other ways, such as the many awards it won in this year 's Best of CAMA program. "This really does reinforce the fact that all your marketing plans, preparation, tools and techniques were in the right place at the right time and achieved your event's objectives. We can confidently go back to our stakeholder groups and prove to them that we did what we said we were going to do. For me, this is one of the fundamental prin- ciples of both marketing and cus- tomer service." AM The Western Canada Farm Show is held in mid-June each year in Regina, SK. For more information, go to www.myfarmshow.com.
2008 Marketing Services Guide
Crop Life America