Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Carolina Donut Festival was clearly not "marketing free"

Years ago, some tech conference promoted itself as being "marketing free." If any speaker started to do any marketing, the speaker would be immediately battered by signs. Expertly constructed sign...whoops! (Ducks) However, the company that promoted "marketing free" stuff ended up going bankrupt.

Because of all this, marketing lives on. (Which is a good thing for me, since I am currently employed as a strategic marketing manager.)

I was recently reminded of the continued importance of marketing when I heard about a stellar event in Marion, North Carolina.

The Carolina Donut Festival, which is taking place as I write this.

Just listen to the local press description of the event:

The first ever Carolina Donut Festival will be held in the downtown Marion from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday....

As of Tuesday, the festival had 66 vendors lined up. These include vendors for arts and crafts, non-profit organizations and direct sales. These vendors will be lined up along Main Street in the block in front of Mr. Bob’s Do-Nuts.

Before the festival begins, there will be a Carolina Donut Dash 5K through the streets of downtown Marion. All walkers and runners are encouraged to dress in a doughnut theme....

The Carolina Donut Festival Pageant will then take place after the opening ceremony. Masiello and Morgan said Tuesday the pageant so far had 38 contestants lined up, which includes male and female contestants. They will be in different age divisions: birth to 18 months, 19 to 35 months, 3 to 4 years, 5 to 6 years, 7 to 9 years, 10 to 12 years, 13 to 15 years, 16 to 19 years, birth to 6 years (male) and 7 to 19 years (male). The contestants will come from Spruce Pine, Troutman, Lenoir, Shelby, Morganton, Hickory, Newton and Dallas, N.C., in addition to those from Marion and McDowell County.

Sounds like a lot of stuff, and I haven't even mentioned the donut part. This is, after all, a donut festival. For that part of the festivities, I will turn to a friend of a friend, who posted a review on a semi-private Facebook post.

Doughnut festival.... One and only one doughnut vendor, the local doughnut shop, selling doughnuts on the street in front of the store. Hmmmm.....

Left after getting funnel cake, not even a doughnut. Lol.

Yup, that's right. The entire Carolina Donut Festival is the brainchild of Mr. Bob himself, the donut (whoops, do-nut) guy, along with an events coordinator. If you want to try someone else's donuts, go to THEIR festival.

Now there's no issue per se with a town hosting an event to glorify a single business. After all, if the business has contributed to the community for decades, and if the community is known for that business, I could certainly understand that. For example, if my hometown of Ontario, California entered into a festival deal with Graber Olive House (founded 1894), that would make sense. So how has Mr. Bob contributed to Marion? Back to the article:

Since this business opened in October 2014, Mr. Bob’s Do-Nuts has proved to be a big hit in the local community. Owner Bob Masiello serves up doughnuts, cinnamon buns, Danishes, cannoli, bagels and cream cheese. Customers can also enjoy a cup of hot coffee with their treats, all of which is made fresh every morning.

As you can see, Marion has been blessed with an amazing vendor - one who has served the community for over EIGHTEEN MONTHS, and who serves donuts that are made FRESH. Not only that, but he also serves COFFEE. Where are you going to find an establishment that has done all of that, for so long?

Yet, despite all of this, I am not criticizing Mr. Bob for coming up with this idea.

I am criticizing myself for not thinking of it first.

The Empoprises Festival Planning Committee is being set up as I speak.
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