by Kirby LindsayIn mid-January, at the Lake Washington Rowing Club, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce held its third annual event about events… It may sound redundant, but gathering together business owners, event organizers and community representatives has yielded some valuable information, as revealing previously unknown resources.
How To Capture Business
The Chamber’s Executive Director, Jessica Vets, mentioned that all Seattle neighborhoods have events. It’s true, yet Fremont has a quantity, and variety, that surpasses normal standards. According to Vets, businesses that market to these activities can create in them an asset.
Vets started her remarks by identifying the easiest way to tie a business to an event – through sponsorship/donations. Organizers then acknowledged the significant value in even small donations – “a little bit helps a lot,” admitted Ron Bailey, with the Moisture Festival. He pointed out that 10 donations of $100 adds up to $1000. Representatives from One Reel, and the Family 4th Of July at Gas Works Park, provided a live example of how much can be accomplished by small donors.
Yet, Vets expanded, Fremont festivals, shows and races offer many non-traditional marketing opportunities. Sidewalk sales, client parties, fundraisers, renting booth space, or hosting customer drawings/sales will increase the profile of a business during festival times – and increase awareness of the festival among customers. She also suggested social networks, blogs, and websites as ways to tie a business to an event, and increase customer awareness of both.
Ultimately, Vets said her message was ‘get involved.’ “The energy that you put in is the energy that comes back to you, in spades,” she stated.
What Is To Come
Bold Hat Productions came to the meeting with plenty of informational handouts. They already have an extremely attractive brochure, designed by Amy Dryden, to advise neighborhood folk on dates, times and impacts to expect from the Fremont Street Fair and Oktoberfest, two of the events they organize.
While they’ve begun operational planning, Andrea Kramer and Phil Megenhardt, of Bold Hat, said they welcome community members to contact them with suggestions, requests and complaints that can improve the 2011 Fair. Megenhardt described them as “a resource,” especially as organizers located within the community. His plan, he’s repeatedly stated, it to make the Fair community-focused. “Don’t hesitate to call,” Kramer said, and directed those interested to the website for contact info – including those interested in vending/entertainment possibilities.
Bold Hat also produces Hop Scotch, the spring beer and scotch festival held at Fremont Studios, this year on April 1st & 2nd. The event has been marketed toward the scotch beginner, or novice, and offers a variety of educational opportunities for increasing their knowledge. Hop Scotch also offers a variety of tastes of beer, wine and tequila, if attendees find they don’t care for scotch. However, this year, after purchasing tickets Bold Hat staff have a short survey – three questions – to find out if audience members still consider themselves scotch newbies.
Not all events happen annually – and Jennine Welfelt, a regular vendor, reminded the gathering of opportunities at the Fremont Sunday Market. After Pike Place Market, Vets pointed out, the Fremont Market is the longest running in the City of Seattle – and draws visitors to this area every Sunday all year long.
Looking ahead, Garrett Slettebak, of Pro-Motion Events, distributed information on the Fremont 5K Fun Run. It may be early, but Slettebak acknowledged the need to raise the profile of this run. “May is super-busy for us,” he said, with many other races to organize. When the Fun Run (this year on June 10th) comes along, “it’s easy to say, ‘everything from last year is fine.’”
“I think we all get complacent,” said Vets. It’s easy to do, with 19 events listed on the Chamber’s Walking Guide. Complacent that they will always be here, and that someone else will lend support. It is also possible to grow complacent with small irritations they may create – even though an e-mail or phone call might quickly solve the problem.
©2011 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.