Main Content

Back to Blog List

4 Product Launch Lessons You Can Learn From Local State Fairs
  • 18 September 2017
  • Eric Michaels

4 Product Launch Lessons You Can Learn From Local State Fairs

Have you ever attended a local state fair? If not, you’re missing out! These annual events present an opportunity for friends and neighbors to come together to enjoy rides, live entertainment, and tasty treats. In fact, bakeries and other small businesses often leverage local state fairs to test out new delicious concoctions. Need an example? Think along the lines of the widely popular chicken and waffle on a stick. Are you looking to generate that kind of buzz around your new product launch? Then check out these four business lessons you can learn from state fairs.

1. Capitalize on popular concepts

The brilliant minds who put chicken and waffles on a stick simply capitalized on an already popular formula. After all, consumers have been enjoying these foods together for years. However, the portable format made this item increasingly popular amongst customers who are always on-the-go.

Keep this example in mind as you work to develop new products: As a business owner, you do not always have to reinvent something already in the market. Instead, determine how you can package that “thing” in an interesting, new way. When you’re running off of an existing concept, every aspect of your delivery—from chicken to waffle to syrup—must be exceptional, as customers already have a taste precedent in mind.

2. Be direct in your communication

At a state fair, everything is out in the open. In many ways, you know what you are getting into from the start: The event will likely be an energetic, fun family affair filled with music, rides, and food. Year after year, this same basic formula serves to attract a large audience of attendees.

With that in mind, how can you apply this concept to your own business strategy? It’s important to remember the value of being direct in your communication, so that customers know exactly what to expect when they make a purchase from your business. When creating your marketing materials, do not forget to focus on the basics: What is your brand mission? In a time and place where competition is close in proximity and buying decisions are made quickly, you want to be sure that you clearly communicate how your product fulfills a customer’s need.

3. Prepare for success

What if your new product turns out to be a major hit? Many business owners figure they will happily confront this problem when it arrives, but you should have a plan in place. Just think about what happens at local state fairs when a stand runs out of a popular product: A sign saying "sold out" goes up, and everyone turns away, disappointed.

How can you avoid disappointing your newest customers? Start by taking stock of your inventory and then talk to your suppliers about the estimated cost of doubling or tripling your order volume a few weeks in advance of the big day. By having a basic understanding of exactly what it would take to keep production going at the necessary speed, you will be well-equipped to handle this situation down the line.

4. Get creative

Oftentimes, the most highly trafficked food stands at local state fairs are those that offer exciting new creations or unique twists to a classic favorite. The same concept can be applied to your business. Every once in a while, you should test out a new idea that stretches the bounds of creativity for your brand. If you are concerned that a new product may not resonate well with your audience, you can share it with a select few customers at first. Gather their insights and feedback and then you can decide whether or not you want to release the item on a larger scale.

Local state fairs can offer valuable lessons in business success every year. Take a moment to brainstorm how you can you apply these lessons to your small business today.

Back to Blog List