Festivals & Food Shows: Marketing Treasure or Fool’s Gold?

Local foodies rejoice, as new festivals advertise a thrilling escape from mundane weekends at the mall or the movie theater. But even with the prospect for direct sales, should local business owners in the food and beverage industry invest marketing dollars into these popular social events?

In short: YES!

Entrepreneur, an international magazine and website that inspires and informs small businesses, lists that showcasing at a festival is one of the top 10 inexpensive ways for businesses to promote their brands. Business Know-How®, an online resource for small businesses, estimates a 3-1 ROI for 44% of businesses who invest in local events as a marketing opportunity. This means that event-based marketing strategies are easy on your budget and can help create a demand for your product that lasts long after the festival ends.

While I was attending the inaugural Love Desserts Charlotte event, a festival spotlighting desserts in all its delicious forms, I took the chance to speak with a few vendors that chose to showcase their products at the festival to learn their marketing goals.

Richard Bun, of Snow Fluff Shavery, says that brand awareness was his top priority. With a brand new business based on a new (and trending) concept for frozen desserts, Richard hopes that being a consistent presence at these types of events will create the kind of following that will fuel his goal to own a shavery food truck.

Sajeedah Abdullah, the marketing guru for Dessert Specialists LLC, says that because they showcased their bakery truck at similar events in the past, they’ve gained a substantial fan base with about 7K followers on multiple social media platforms. Since a lot of people look forward to seeing their truck at these events, she says they will continue to attend these kinds of festivals.