Drop Your Price Already…

Well I must start with another disclaimer.  You see my brother writes a blog very similar to the LiveWorks Newsletter and today, he talked about what’s covered below…and we post on the same site.  So here is a link to Joe’s stuff so you know there is no plagiarism on either of our parts. http://joelewi.wordpress.com/

For weeks we have been talking about embracing the recession and finding ways to use our Live Entertainment to pull consumers out of their funk.  We’ve covered customer service, partnerships versus sponsorships, using examples from political marketing to move an audience, and all the positive psychological and financial attributes of selling-out shows.  What our business needs to fix immediately is ticket prices.

Burlington, VT concert promoter Alex Crothers pointed to gas prices as having a much more noticeable effect on ticket sales than the stock market or bad news about the economy.  There has been story after story reported in the media about retailers perceived as bargain or discount merchants sales going up, while those catering to design and style sales are declining.  Case in point, Wal-Mart and Target.  Target is down, Wal-Mart is up.

Of course there is always the consumer that had the perception that if things cost a lot, they have to be worth it.  There is case after case study of events attendance actually going down as ticket prices fell year-to-year and the opposite happening if ticket prices rose.  That was not in a 2008 economy.  Now even luxury brands normally immune to market fluctuations are feeling the hurt.  In Forbes annual “Richest People in America” issue, even the boys from Google took it hard seeing  their “stock down 40%  since all-time heights last November.”  Why are we in the live business ignoring this trend?

It is time for all of us in live entertainment to knock-off the “pomp and circumstance” around what we do and see it as any other business would.  Yes our talents need to eat.  So do managers, agents, promoters, techs, stagehands, venue people, and everyone else associated.  But everyone needs to eat a little less to get a lot more.  The live and music businesses are special.  But I’m sick of hearing that what we sell is so different from what everyone else sells.  Selling is about emotional connections.  So the fact is, we have a leg-up on all the other entertainment distractions out there.

In the November 3rd Issue of Advertising Age there is a story about ranking brands based on “best bang for buck”.  Interesting stuff.  Consumers were asked to rate best ans worst by category based on “providing the best value for the dollar”.  For Domestic Airline, Southwest was best, United worst.  Carbonated beverages, Coke best, Red Bull worst.  Credit Cards, Visa good, Discover bad.  And no surprise here, in Financial services, Fidelity was ranked best while Goldman Sachs got a negative rating.  Another great group of stats from the article where the “Bottom 10 Brands”…brands with the lowest scores.  10) Starbucks, 9) BET, 8) Neiman Marcus, 7) 7-Eleven, 6) Perrier, 5) Abercrombie & Fitch, 4) AIG, 3) Red Bull, 2) Hummer, and # 1) MTV!!!! No live brands in the study.  Btw, Craftsman was the #1 brand for value.

Why is this all important to you?  Because if you are Live Nation, AEG, MSG, Feld, Momentum, GMR, or Chrysler, you are creating live brands of some kind.  Building value into everything you do defines your brand.  Ticketmater Entertainment will have a hard time getting over its old “TICKETMASTER” reputation.  Hiding the fees is not going to change anything.  The artists and shows will always have their names.  What we need to do is drop our prices and explain to consumers what they are getting for their money.

We do a bad job of marketing the experience of live.  Let’s take a look at that.  Volume will do more for our business than raising prices.  Lower your prices $2 on everything (tickets, merch, food, beverages, parking, venue charges need to go away all together, etc) and tell the consumer all the amazing things they will see, hear, feel, and do at your event, show, or attraction.

So drop your prices and watch as the money comes in.

Talk to you soon…

Jim

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