This Winter I chatted with Carol Grant (now Sauve) about CFN sponsoring CAPE. We have a history of success promoting local events.
Sadly politics have seen festivals like Lift Off and Winterfest destroyed by Cornwall City Council petty politics.
Telling groups who to advertise or work with always is a recipe for disaster. CFN was a media sponsor for Lift Off’s most successful year when it drew over 50,000 people as well as helping sell out Aultsville Theatre for a cover band and some of the Port Theatre’s most successful events.
Last year Carol purchased a small last minute ad on CFN. Personally having promoted and run over 200 events myself I have a grasp of what factors help or hurt an event. CAPE’s success its first year had a lot to do with the lack of events in Cornwall and a thirst from the public of simply wanting something to do. It was the right thing at the right time and was very successful.
A smart operator would analyze what worked and why. Instead of building on that success Randy Sauve decided to expand the event to two dates.
Events like CAPE need two factors to grow. A positive result to those asked to pay $20 per day to enter, and the same result from the vendors who bank most of the show. If you don’t have that positive balance you don’t grow.
And if you get results; IE a large crowd, you have a better chance of getting real corporate sponsorship.
You need to program and market an event like CAPE 12 months of the year.
CFN offered CAPE a huge package at a highly reduced price last Winter. The plan was to roll out marketing support four months in advance peaking during March and April.
With over 75,000 unique visitors in March alone, including over 1 million human page views, of which over 60% were in key markets to make CAPE a success petty Cornwall politics came into play. CAPE chose to not work with CFN.
As I do with many that play these games I write down predictions and notes. CAPE hit all of those notes as attendance was down on Saturday with a lot of vendors and attendees voicing issues, especially those that had been there the year before. Likewise, the post event chatter via social media is very very quiet.
Ironically I was invited to a business opening Saturday by its marketing manager who reached out via Twitter. Their ad buy alone from that single event was almost as much as the entire package to support CAPE would have been. Of course they are part of a larger company that doesn’t care about Cornwall silly politics.
Was CAPE a failure? No. Hopefully this was a simple hiccup that should be a warning to its organizers that they have a choice. They can do everything they can to make the event a success or they can manage it as badly as those that ran Lift Off and Winterfest.
You can’t get married every year to spark attendance, and to demand $20 per ticket in Cornwall or expect people to travel you will need to up the ante.
The good news is that there’s lots of room for improvement for CAPE which just might be good news for Cornwall.
What do you think dear CFN viewer? You can post your comments below.