Three Ways to Stand Out at Midwest Horse Fair and One Big No-No

Three Ways to Stand Out at Midwest Horse Fair and One Big No-No

You want to talk to horse people. Seems straightforward, and the plan should be simple enough. So you invest in the largest horse event in the region, Midwest Horse Fair!  The Midwest Horse Fair annually brings a wealth of knowledge, new gadgets, and the latest western fashion together for three days in April. There is a reason they call it a fair and not a show - it’s the vast collection of clinics and displays that help hone horsemen’s skills and draws nearly 100,000 attendees.

So, as an exhibitor in the trade show, how do you stand out among the 500 other exhibitors trying to grab the attention of the fair-goers? An eye-catching display? On-site advertising? While these tactics certainly don’t hurt, they are not as effective as tapping into the “need to research before you buy” culture that is 2023. 

According to, 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying, and 77% use a mobile device to do their research. We know people are checking out the exhibitor list ahead of time and composing their shopping list long before climbing up into their pick-up trucks and descending on Madison. Shopping lists that include everything from grooming supplies, tack, feed, supplements, and of course, apparel - cowboy boots included. 

Tell People Who, What, and Where Before the Fair

While the Midwest Horse Fair does advertise its event, it is up to you to advertise your presence there. We just established that people are doing research and shopping prior to the show. The best way for them to know who you are and where to find you at the Midwest Horse Fair is to do your own advertising. By advertising prior to the event, when people go to do their research, they will find you as well.  Too often, companies rely on the organic nature of trade shows. Show up and get leads. However, in the age of research, this might not be enough to get noticed anymore. The show has a lot of bodies that even getting noticed in the crowded aisles and hallways can be a challenge, regardless of how amazing your display is. 

Facebook and Instagram Ads, Audience

So, the Midwest Horse Fair event on Facebook has almost 4,000 interested in attending as of this blog. That is 4,000 potential customers that have an interest in horses and the Midwest Horse Fair. Insert Facebook and Instagram ads. I am not talking about paid posts, I am talking about ads that target this specific audience, whether it’s on the event page or maybe in the marketplace as they search for tack for sale. Yes! We can serve ads to this specific audience! When you compose the ad, showcase your best product, your booth number, and your location. You can also find additional people who may not be able to make the event but who share the same interests and likes as those attending. It’s a whole other audience for you. 

Never Underestimate Radio

Turns out that almost everyone arrives at the Midwest Horse Fair in a truck, and a few folks are in a car. And guess what, they are listening to the radio while they make the drive and wait to park. What if you were the last thing they heard before exiting the vehicle to take in the fair? It’s not a dream. It could be a reality. The Farm is a radio station specifically tailored to the county and rural lifestyle, including segments of farm news and bonfire Saturday nights. I can also tell you that almost every barn in Wisconsin has a radio playing most hours of the day. If you think horses (and cows) don’t enjoy music, you would be wrong. I mean, just look at cowbells! Radio is affordable and has a high frequency in a non-invasive way. 

One Big No-No—Event-Targeted Display

Targeted display for events seems like a pretty great idea at the beginning, but when you take a closer look, it may be a waste of dollars. Since the security of phones has changed drastically over the last year, so has geo-fencing. We are no longer allowed to get as precise when it comes to location targeting. Since the Midwest Horse Fair sits adjacent to two incredibly busy roads in Madison, it’s likely those people will be served impressions, and they will not even attend the fair or even have an interest in horses! If you are able to target the people on the grounds, chances are they are not on their phones as much. Instead, they are probably watching a clinic or walking around and shopping. So in order to serve the number of impressions you bought, they get served to people who are on their phones, including food vendors, facility workers, facility office staff, and more. Finally, if you happen to serve your ad to the right person at the right time, you are probably in competition with a number of other companies on the grounds for that impression. It is almost impossible to serve the right number of ads to the right number of people. Usually, ads get served to the wrong audience, hence wasting dollars. 

Not sure how to tackle the pre-event promotion or don’t have the time? Turns out I know just the folks who can help you. Contact us today to learn about our custom Midwest Horse Fair advertising package.

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Liz Matzke

About the Author : Liz Matzke

Liz has a passion for helping people and agriculture, making her a natural fit on our strategy team as a self-proclaimed cow expert. Having owned her own agri-marketing business, Liz is no stranger to the challenges associated with running a business. She is able to give first-hand insight and creative solutions for business owners, large or small.