Posts Tagged ‘Mobile marketing’


January 8, 2009

As a follow-up to last night’s LiveWorks Newsletter on technology, let’s talk about data capture.  Currently, the two most common ways we extract information from our customers in live and branded live entertainment is through the data captured during an online sales transaction or “registration”, and/or index cards we hand out at our events (usually with a free magazine subscription or something of the like so we can obtain home addresses, etc) where we ask fans to fill-in their personal information.  The first can only cover half the audience at best (probably closer to 1/4 to 1/3), while the second relies on a lot of work by the customer as well as those collecting the data (the data needs to be inputted).  A great solution, use PDA’s to capture data at our live and branded live entertainment events. 

The concept of using mobile technology to capture data is not a new one.  In fact if you Google it, you will find many companies as well as software that already exist in the space.  Yet the simple fact is, it has not become an excepted form of marketing.  Think about it, you get a technology company or mobile carrier (or both) to sponsor your venue, tour or event.  The company(s) supplies you with the latest and greatest devices for your consumers to “test drive”.  To activate the device, your guest types in their current info…and they get free minutes, or a free PDA with service, or something like that for the fan’s efforts.  The show, venue, device manufacturer and mobile carrier can all share the data under an agreement that it be used properly… and sparingly (no spamming).

By using PDA’s to capture data at our events, we will be….

  1. Giving our fans something else cool to do
  2. Save paper, energy, time, and waste
  3. Creating Branded Live Entertainment opportunities (partnership between entertainment and brands doesn’t always have to be the entertainment itself)
  4. Puts new technology in consumer’s hands (see # 3)
  5. Gives opportunity for mobile carriers to differentiate themselves (see # 3)

There has to be some of you reading this that have already used mobile technology to collect data.  Let us all know how it is going.  I bet you get twice as much data as the rest of us.

Talk with you soon…



Branded Live Entertainment

October 30, 2008

Sponsorship is almost becoming a dirty word in corporate hallways these days, as CEO’s and Boards of Directors push for more ROI from their marketing investments.  Yet at the same time venues (such as the downtown complex AEG is building in LA) and tour productions (music, sports, family, etc) are getting more expensive to build and operate, thus putting a heavy burden on consumers to pickup the tab.  The solution of course is partnerships between “Corporate America” and “Live Entertainment”.  What is needed is understanding.

First, both brand and live entertainment properties must gain a basic knowledge and appreciation of their partner’s business and goals.  If you are on the brand side, get familiar with the property, building, artist, or market you are co-branding yourself with.  Understand that they consider themselves brands too and are just as protective as you are.  On the entertainment side, check out your new partner’s website, advertising, products, etc.  Find ways early on in the creative process to work the brand into the show.  In my experience, it is important that you have all players involved from the opening bell, rather than just sales and marketing people.  A sponsorship sales person might not know what is possible…or not possible for your event, tour, show, building, etc.  Having decision makers and those that actually do the implementation involved from the get go will not only save you time and money but will also build a more trusting relationship between the parties (e.g. you won’t have to take anything back later, like when a sales person promises to put trucks on either side of a stage that can’t support the weight).  I’m attaching a link to the website of our genius set and lighting designer (ex-Disney Imagineer) Jim Lenahan to illustrate how well things can work when brands and entertainment folks are joined from day one.  The videos and photos you should link to shows a “transformer” Ford F-150 Pick-up for a Toby Keith tour that I first drew on a napkin (literally) and “Lenny” turned into reality.  I will send a Youtube link that shows the actual transformation as soon as we upload it (stay tuned).

Your partnership can come together in different ways, but what you will see more and more of is the brand side taking the lead to create an entertainment property: “Branded Live Entertainment”.  You have certainly heard enough about “Branded Entertainment” which for the most part is still relegated to TV and film product placement.  Of course films like “Cellular” and more recently “Transformers” along with TV shows built around popular board games have moved past simple placement to build whole storylines around a product or brand.  This same kind of movement works in the “Live Space” as well and what we at the Agency Group Events & Entertainment Department specialize in (sorry I have to give shameless plugs once in a while).

There are brands out there that are getting good in the live game.  One that deserves props is Jägermeister and what they are doing in music.  According to the brand’s website, they started the Jager Music Program in 1994 and now sponsor over 160 bands.  Besides being principal sponsors of tours like OzzFest, in 2002 the company started their own Jägermeister Music Tour. This is classic “Branded Live Entertainment”.  Jager came up the concept, books the talent, decides what markets and venues to play, and the message(s) being delivered to consumers.  Besides the tour, there is the Jager branded stage that travels on tours and to events across the country.  Just a few weeks ago my family and I saw their stage parked in the middle of Palm Springs for their annual motorcycle rally.  It was there in the middle of the street for the entire weekend and every band played on it.  When the stage was shutdown at night, it was still doing its branding job.

There is a difference between Branded Live Entertainment and Mobile Marketing.  The latter usually involves some kind of expando-truck with a brand’s display and some sort of “experiential element”, product sampling, etc.  Branded Live Entertainment is built around a fan’s experience interacting with the brand or product in a natural environment (for the consumer, not the brand).  If the brand looks authentic in the entertainment atmosphere created, it only makes sense that the consumer will identify that product with that experience.  This is why musical acts that you come to know in college or on vacation always have a special place in your heart…even if they aren’t really that good.

With advertisers looking for new ways to cut through clutter and see their marketing dollars selling more stuff to more people, there is no better way than through Branded Live Entertainment.  “Live” allows your brand (whether an entertainment property, household good, or artist) to differentiate itself from competitors by; interacting one-on-one with your consumers or fans, creating a communal environment where those in attendance share a once in a lifetime opportunity (live is live…it will never happen exactly the same way again), driving press to your brand that it might not otherwise get, is far more cost efficient for a national or international program than a traditional advertising program (local & regional print, radio, and cable ads are usually used for live).

So if you are in Entertainment, stop asking for sponsorship and if you are on the brand side, look for ways to build your own property.  Need help, call or email me at (310) 385-2800 or

Talk to you soon…


Start or Buy a Consumer Show… or Three…Today!

October 26, 2008

To be fair,  just as CNN or Fortune disclose that they are “a Time Warner Company”, I should let you know that although not in it now,  I grew-up in the consumer show business (my parents own and or operate a bunch in the Albany, NY market).  Consumer shows (Auto, Home, Bridal, Boat, RV, Ski, Sport, etc) have been around forever and yet for the most part have not been consolidated (although there are two companies working on that now), re-invented, grown, or even been on most of our radar.  Consumer shows are a huge growth area for the Live Entertainment and Branded Live Entertainment Businesses and something you should look into right away.

Certainly can’t speak for the rest of the world, but in the U.S., consumer shows are for the most part controlled market-to-market.  One promoter usually “owns” a city or region and does a majority of the shows in that market by locking-up the convention center or best venue or venues in town (e.g. Javits Center in NYC).  There is no reason for this model to continue, although if you wanted to start this way, there are markets open for you to jump into all over the country.  Because consumer shows are not seen as sexy to the entertainment industry (no real talent, very short windows to make money, low margins), we have ignored them.  As consumer show promoters’ die-off, there is no one there to take their place so the markets now lay dormant.  Opportunity there for sure, but what I’m thinking is looking at this from a whole new angle.

Consumer shows work perfectly into today’s economy.  What I’m suggesting is infusing what all of you do best into a model that in many cases needs some updating.  Have you been to one of these shows recently?  If not, go.  You would be surprised that with few exceptions (some of the auto shows for example), not much has changed.  Same booths, same pipe-n-drape, skirted tables, demos, brochures, promotional giveaways, and appearances by “celebrities” you’ve kind of heard of…you think.  What if there was real celebrity, real production, and great brands all built around the idea of helping consumers with a problem?

As an example, “the news” is full of reports that the new home starts are way down.  Makes sense since banks have no money to lend.  So what if Sears were to grab two big celebrities they currently work with, Tye Pennington (new school) and Bob Vila (old school) and build “Do-it-Yourself Workshops” around the country starring Tye and Bob?  Besides Tye Pennington and Bob Vila, Sears and Craftsman become the stars and their brand breaks through the clutter.  Sears and Craftsman advertising and promotions not only push the brands, but the upcoming events (which they also have a piece of), their stars and their stars’ brands (sold through Sear’s outlets and online).  You could do the same with Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, Ford, Dell, AIG (no spa treatments please), P&G, Coke, Wells Fargo, and any other brand that wants to reach consumers.  Again, you must be helping people with a problem.

The keys to success are these.

1) Be Authentic.  Your event needs to be the real deal, not a mobile marketing campaign for your brand.

2) Have great talent involved up and down the line.  It isn’t enough to have a few celebrities involved; you need to have a first class event.  As an example (although not a consumer show), if you were to ever go to Michael Jordan’s adult fantasy camp, you would notice that you not only get MJ himself, but a whole team of NBA and NCAA coaches, training and hospitality staff.

3) Media partners are key.  Most consumer shows don’t spend much on advertising.  They usually will partner-up with a local print, TV, and radio partners.

4) Make money before you open the doors.  Between selling booth space and sponsorship your consumer show should be making money before you sell a single ticket.  Any money you make at the gate is gravy.

5) Don’t charge the public a lot of money for a ticket.  If your show is extremely talent heavy and in a major market, maybe you charge $20 with no coupons (of course there should be multiple places for consumers to get coupons for discounted tickets).

6) Solve problems for consumers.  As an example Wells Fargo (my bank) could setup “Get Back Your Money” shows where they bring in the biggest names in personal finance as well their best local stars to help consumers get back on their feet.

7) Start Now!!!

If ever there was a time to get into the consumer show business, now would be it.  Whether you are a brand, live event pro, or currently in the consumer show business, it is at least worth a look to see if you could find an opportunity for yourself or company in consumer shows.

Would love your input.

Talk to you soon…