A Fair (Season) to Remember

Oct 28, 2016
Consumers learning about dairy by visiting the DDZ.

It’s hard to miss the Dairy Discovery Zone. The brightly colored mobile learning center quickly draws dairy lovers and dairy skeptics alike in, despite its competition with rides, animals and corn dogs. Over the last two months, the interactive booth has seen more than 79,361 visitors between runs at the New Mexico State Fair and the State Fair of Texas®.

Kaci Creel, consumer marketing director for Dairy MAX, says it remains one of the organization’s best consumer outreach tools. It not only helps tell the farm-to-fridge story, but also serves as a resource for nutrition education.

“The Dairy Discovery Zone provides a unique opportunity to be able to have conversations about lactose intolerance or milk alternatives or the nutritional value that milk provides,” Creel says. “It gives us the avenue to have those one-on-one conversations that we couldn’t if we were not attending events like these state fairs.”

However, it’s not just about the minutes spent with consumers at the fair — it’s about building lasting relationships.

One way they connect with consumers is through the free milk for a year giveaway, Creel says. When a visitor takes a photo with Bella, the resident mascot and model cow, and posts it to social media, they’re entered to win. By submitting their entry, they also sign up for Dairy MAX’s consumer-focused newsletter. Each newsletter includes links to Dairy MAX’s consumer-facing website and social media outlets, where consumers can gain even more information and become a part of the community.

“It’s been one of our goals for a couple of years to find a way to stay connected with each person who visits the Dairy Discovery Zone,” Creel says. “They come in, they learn the information, they have the experience. But what do they do next? How do we stay connected with them?”

She says by staying in touch throughout the year, Dairy MAX establishes itself as a go-to resource for questions about dairy farms as well as dairy’s role in a healthy diet.

“Somebody's going to tell our story,” Creel says. “We can either do it ourselves, or we can allow them to Google it and believe whatever information comes up. We must stay connected with them. It’s vital to our success that they can continue to learn and this is not just a one-time thing where we all move on and don’t worry about it anymore.”

To drive even more fairgoers to the exhibit at the State Fair of Texas, the country’s best-attended state fair, Creel says Dairy Max sweetened the deal this year.

“We've always put an ad in the daily program guide that they pass out,” she says. “This year, we put in a promotion for a giveaway while supplies last. If they bring their coupon to the Dairy Discovery Zone, they could redeem it for a small battery-operated fan. The promotion has gone very well and we have received a lot of positive feedback.”

And who knows? A little fan may create a big fan of dairy.