Are You Trying to be the Biggest or the Best?

Profitable Small Businesses depend on Maintaining a Laser Focus On a Defined Niche

A few weekends ago I attended the Crawfish Festival.  The Crawfish Festival is a small (I am guessing 10,000 people over the weekend) New Orleans style music festival held in Augusta, New Jersey in June of each year.  It is not the largest festival.  It does not have the biggest and newest bands.  It is not designed for hip 20 somethings.  With all that going against it you might be surprised when I say that IT IS A HUGE SUCCESS EVERY YEAR and its fans rave about the event and attend every year.

I found out about the festival the way most people do.  My best friend Bobby goes every year and brings about 20+ other people.  Many of those people bring more fans the next year.  So, how did this success happen?

First, the festival started as a get-together about crawfish and music, two of the founder’s loves.  Second, the festival did not try to be all things to all people.  Third, they have been consistent in their messaging for at least the 5 years I have known about the festival. Lets look deeper at these points.

Founders Loves – Louisiana Music and Food

For over 25 years the festival has featured good affordable food and quality bands.    The home page mentions the founding as a crawfish boil with music.  The food tends to have a New Orleans accent with crawfish, jambalaya and the like prominently on the menu.  It is good and flavorful and the prices are kept reasonable.    The music is similar to the food.  A few big names from the past and perhaps a future big name or two.  But the vast majority of the bands are outstanding musicians known to their somewhat smaller followings.   They are enthusiastic about playing at the event and great fun to listen to.

NOT All Things to All People

The festival is geared to people 50 years old and up.  Kind of a forgotten market (with lots of disposable income) at least in advertising and music.  My 20 something kids would have a great time if I could get them to come but this is not Firefly.  (In fact the Firefly camping picture and mention of 70,000 campers would be the last look for Crawfish customers.)  Clean bathrooms with short lines – even for the women.  You can camp and listen to music from Friday night through Sunday evening or buy a ticket for a day.  Lots of drunk grandmas but no rowdy drunk kids.  Lots of raving fans and yet it is just a little toned down with no mosh pit or pretty girls on shoulders.  Again, this all is how we like it – at least at this stage of our lives.

Consistent Messaging

The messaging throughout the year and on the website is consistent.  Great time, great music, affordable really good food with a Louisiana theme.  As I say this I am a little startled as they are advertising four stages next year.  I was doing good the keep track of the music on three stages they have historically had.  Change comes slowly to Crawfish’s market.

Crawfish is a great fun event.  It is also a thriving business.  They are not trying to be the biggest.  They are trying to be the best for their niche market.  Judging from the attendance and smiles they do a great job.