What Glow-in-the-dark Donuts Can Teach Us About Marketing

Last week a new craze hit Instagram—glonuts. Yup, everyone was buzzing about donuts that actually glow in the dark. If you’re interested you can check them out—and see a recipe for making them—here.

So what’s the latest food fad got to do with marketing? Actually, quite a lot. After all, marketing at its most basic level comes down to a battle for eyeballs. And given the deluge of media messages, advertising and other impressions pouring over us every day, that battle has never been more intense.

And that’s where novelty—the art of showing people something they’ve never seen before—comes in. Glowing donuts may not exactly be world-changing, but they did get a lot of attention. And they were just different enough to inspire this blog.

On some level, the trade show and events industry has always pursued novelty. From the magicians of old to artists who paint portraits upside down to glowing nitrogen drinks, we’ve all seen it or done it.

Now new technology is raising the novelty stakes higher. Virtual reality, augmented reality and transparent monitors can create powerful educational experiences, but first and foremost they’re exciting simply because they’re so new.

And the stakes just keep going up. Get ready for facial recognition systems that will stop attendees in their tracks at future shows. Cameras that can read your customers’ emotions as they consume content are also right around the corner.

Of course, when it comes to effective marketing, getting attention isn’t enough. There’s a world of difference between drawing a crowd and turning them into converts for your brand.

The key to creating an effective experience is making it personal. That’s why we all work so hard to discover what’s meaningful to our audience, to understand what they truly need and to forge that knowledge into a deeper connection. That’s the essence of real salesmanship.

Which isn’t to say that novelty won’t always have its place. If a glowing donut is what you’ve got on hand to attract a prospect, we say go for it. It’s a great start and, in the battle for people’s minds, almost any kind of attention is a good thing.


Now, let’s take a closer look at that recipe…


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