Aug 11, 2014 | Posted by etc
This week’s Imagination Hat is inspired by the Iowa State Fair, going on right now in Central Iowa. What can we learn about marketing from the Iowa State Fair? The Fair is an Experience with a capital E. On any given day on the grand concourse, people watchers will see the most unique sampling of humanity ever, many of which are sporting hats. Some hats are worn for the activity, others for their sheer attention-getting quality. There are tiaras, baseball caps, cowboy hats, straw hats, doo-rags, fedoras, sombreros, top hats, hardhats, hoodies, riding hats, costume hats, foam lobster hats (and many other sorts of amazing shapes), balloon hats, and anything else that is attention getting, blinking, or completely ridiculous. When I was a kid, I looked forward to getting my annual cowgirl souvenir hat. President Obama sported his Iowa State Fair ball cap when he visited in 2012.
Before you write-off the Fair as a red-neck activity for lower life forms, (well . . . I must confess, it is a little bit redneck), know that over a million people visited the Iowa State Fair last year. Our Fair is listed in “1000 Places to See Before You Die,” the NYT best selling travel book, listed as the #2 event for summer fun by USA Weekend, and one of “The Top 30 Things Every Midwesterner Should Experience” in Midwest Living. Why? It is completely unique. It has the perfect mix of things you expect from a great Fair, along with a smattering of SCD, (Something Completely Different).
That is the perfect mix for any business–to provide solid, predictable service, but with a splash of surprise. If you do not change it up once in a while, your customers will get bored. Try mapping out your entire sales process from beginning to end. You will be able to identify specific places where you can enrich the entire journey with simple things that will make your company memorable. If you are still not getting any attention, go back and make a better product. It is not about making sales. It is about creating an experience and a product worth talking about. That is the best way to find more fans for your business.
That is this week’s Imagination Hat.