At what point in a tough manufacturing economy does a metal forming and fabricating company pull back its marketing efforts? For most companies, it's one of the first areas to be cut. Others, however, see an opportunity to stand out, while others step back and wait for better times.
As one marketing guru once told me, "A company should want to be where his competitors aren't."
So it was with a sense of pride that I saw a Wisconsin metal fabricator step up and support a community festival that also happens to be one of my favorite summertime events—Milwaukee's Summerfest, which runs June 25-July 5 on the city's lakefront.
KAPCO Inc., Grafton, Wis., is sponsoring a great deal for music lovers. Through KAPCO's partnership with the event organizer Milwaukee World Festival Inc., Summerfest attendees will be able to purchase $2 admission tickets for entry into the fairgrounds from noon until 8 p.m., June 30. Tickets typically go for $15, so that's a really good deal.
Not too many companies in the metal forming and fabricating sector make big splashes in the markets they serve. Many do a great job of marketing themselves through smaller avenues, such as sponsorships of sports teams or donating in-kind gifts to local charities, but large-scale sponsorships are unusual. Heck, sponsorships of any kind are really unusual in this economic climate.
Here's what KAPCO President Jim Kacmarcik had to say about his company's sponsorship: "Summerfest has always been one of the highlights of the summer, and KAPCO wanted to make sure the party continues for everyone. In a tough year for many, providing affordable entertainment is very important."
So what can visitors expect that one day out of the 11-day music festival? The lineups for the day are only starting to come together, but some of the headliners have been named. You've got Buddy Guy at the Harley-Davidson stage for those who like Chicago-style blues, and Billy Squier will be looking for some "kinda lover" at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Rock Stage. My wife wants to relive her metal days with Mr. Squire on that day.
To be honest, Summerfest is a great time. I heard one of my favorite nights of music there two years ago. I saw Ryan Bingham, a great west Texas singer and his band the Dead Horses; The Old 97s, a fun alternative country band from the Dallas area; and Son Volt, a soulful folk-rock group from the Midwest. They followed one another, and each performance only raised the bar for the next band. It was an outstanding night of music against the backdrop of a setting sun on Lake Michigan.
Nights like that help me to escape the real world, and that's a great gift. KAPCO's marketing move is music to my ears.