Posts Tagged ‘Over Deliver’

PURCHASE DECISION TIME

February 7, 2010

It isn’t just the economy…or marketing clutter…or technology…or number of entertainment options…or price, that has reduced the time consumers take to make purchase decisions, it is all of the above.  This should weigh heavily in your mind as you are drawing up marketing plans for 2010. 

PRINT

Not dead…well certainly not for music anyway.  Fans still go to their local weekly publications for news about what’s happening around town.  The key is to change your messaging if it isn’t working.  Dailies have a place in the world too, but not for your advertising.  For those managers still making promoters buy full-page break-ads in the NY Times, please stop.  Monthlies, their deadlines are too far out for most of us.  How do you know what your messaging should and will be in 3-months?  

Social Media

You need to really commit yourself to this.  No sticking your toe in the water.  There needs to be a fulltime voice or voices online.  You can’t go half-ass or fans will either take over the conversation or you will end up talking to yourself.  If all of your social media efforts are self-serving, you will fail.

TV

If you are going to use television, start producing content the public will take notice of.  Remember what you are competing with. 

SEARCH

Search marketing such as Google and Yahoo! can be very effective.  Just don’t buy-in to your marketer’s claims of 300% ROIA click isn’t a purchase.  Measure appropriately. 

RADIO

Again, don’t listen to those holding the crystal balls.  In 2010, radio is still a very effective way to reach a targeted audience.  The problem is our radio spots are too cluttered.  With all the sponsors, pre-sale info, new album info, promoter info, “concert series” info, and website addresses, most of the time the message we want to send isn’t getting through.  Test for yourself.  Listen to a radio spot from a national advertiser and then one of ours…on the radio.  It will make you laugh. 

PUBLIC RELATIONS

PR is a lost art.  What happened to publicity stunts?  When did our talent get so precious that they can’t speak with journalists anymore?  If you can find a good publicist… like I did with Giant Noise, you should hang-on for dear life. 

YOUR WEBSITE

Keep it simple and easy to navigate.  Make sure you have as much information as possible on your site, as well as a place for visitors to contact you.  If guests don’t have a way to purchase tickets on your website, kill yourself. 

MAILING LISTS

Whether online or not…NO SPAMMING!  You must get permission to talk to someone.  No permission, stay away.

PRICING

This doesn’t always mean going lower.  As many promoters found over the past several years, the same ticket that wasn’t selling at a P2 price will sell at a P1 price.  At the same time, rewarding fans for purchasing early versus late would help.  By discounting tickets as you get closer to the show, you are training your customers to wait even longer than they already are to buy.  Flip the model.  Why not make tickets more expensive each day?  That would certainly get some attention if nothing else.

LOYALTY PROGRAMS

We haven’t really been able to get this right since the Columbia Records Club, but it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.  Take a look at what Harrah’s has done.  Hell, Amex makes you pay to be in their loyalty program if you think about it….and the same with many artists’ fan clubs.  The key is to know your customers.  What do they see as a value?  If you are doing some of the other things right, you will know.

OVER-DELIVER

Instead of looking for ways to cut your budget this year, search for places to over-deliver for guests at every touch-point possible.  As marketing guru Seth Godin recently wrote, “Radically overdeliver. Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique”. 

MAKE YOUR MESSAGE TIMELY

Anyone who has followed how automaker Hyundai and its sister Kia have used the economy in their messaging to sell hundreds of thousands of cars in the U.S. will understand this point.  Because Hyundai could move so quickly, they were able to roll-out their “Hyundai Assurance” program.  Perfect messaging that resonated with consumers. 

A PLAN IS NOT A GRID

A grid showing where and when you are buying adverting isn’t a marketing plan.  You must understand that each show is different.  That every act is a brand…so is every venue, promoter, and producer.  Measure your results. See what’s working and what’s not.  Although you do have a plan in place, it doesn’t mean it can’t be amended. 

Keep Trying…

Jim

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Top 10 Ways to Make Your Festival Successful

November 27, 2008

Last week I had the honor of moderating the “Festival Panel” at the Billboard Touring Conference in New York.  I hadn’t really wanted to do these type of things since starting the Aspen Live Conference (Dec. 11-13 @ St. Regis, Aspen http://www.aspenlive.net), but when Ray from Billboard emailed me the list of panelist, it was an easy yes.  After all, we are talking about the best and most successful music festival producers in North America.

The panel; Chris Shields from Festival Productions (New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, etc),  Charlie Jones from C3 Presents (Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza, etc), Tony Conway from Buddy Lee Attractions (CMA Festival, Nashville…formerly Fan Fair), Chuck Morris from AEG-Live, Rocky Mountains (Mile High Festival, Rothbury), and Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment (Bonnaroo, Vagoose) really are the best at what they do.  Our Canadian representative got sick and was unable to…well represent.  The basic question that we were dealing with was the health of the festival business in North America.  Is there room to grow?  Are there enough headliners to go around and still have each festival keep its identity?  The easy answer to all is yes.

Tony Conway pointed out that the CMA Festival actually raised their ticket prices this year and are at this point well ahead of last year’s sales to date, without announcing a line-up (the event takes place in the spring).  On a call prior to our panel, Charlie Jones talked about how the Austin City Limits audience “must be trained or something”.  The fact is they are…trained to expect that the event will be well run, with great music and food, clean port-a-johns, plenty of places to get a bottle of water that doesn’t cost $4, amazing transportation system, and a friendly staff.  The ACL and CMA audiences are trained to expect quality and value.

Based on my notes from our panel, here is what the experts had to say…at least on that day is the TOP 10 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE YOUR FESTIVAL SUCCESSFUL!!!

1)      Know Your Market There is so much that goes into a festival’s workings, that without knowing about traffic patterns, neighbors, law enforcement, political issues, competition, and a whole host of other issues, you are setting your festival up to fail.  Chuck Morris pointed out that artists that aren’t big around the country can draw in Colorado.  One reason being radio station KBCO in Boulder.

2)     Community Relations – Each of our panelists at the Billboard Touring Conference had at least one story of how building relationships with community and business leaders, neighborhood associations, law enforcement, fire and rescue, parks & recreation officials, health department, and others gave them some kind of advantage.  Whether it was bidding on a new project, going into a new city, or getting into trouble and needing help, there is no substitute for being a good citizen.

3)     Over Deliver – Especially in year one, it is important to over deliver for your consumers and talent.  Even if it means the difference between breaking even and losing money, spend the extra to WOW the audience.  It keeps them coming back…”trains them”.

4)     Price – Price is very much tied to knowing your market, but for some reason, festival pricing is much more sensitive than regular live entertainment pricing.  Your customers really want to feel they are getting their money’s worth since there is an assumption that what ever they are going to see will be watered down (music act will play a shorter set without their production, food festivals will give you smaller portions than the restaurant would, etc).

5)     Transportation & Housing – This really should be 2 if not 4 separate departments of your festival team.  Certainly if you going to have 2 departments you need to separate responsibilities between those that handle transportation or housing for artists and crew and those that will get the audience from place to place.  Housing is a place not to be overlooked.  Every try to get a hotel in a city where there is a large festival?  Good luck!

6)     Booking Talent – The strong message here is that anyone can book a really big headliner; it is the whole package that makes a festival. Remember, a festival is more than a line-up it is about passion.

7)     Camping vs. “City” Festivals – Our panel all believed that the growth in North America would be more in the non-camping festival model (ACL, Jazz Fest, CMA Fest, etc).  With that said, Rothbury only started-up last year in Michigan and it is a camping festival.

8)     Food & Beverage – Every producer will tell you about the part that food and beverage play in the overall feel of your festival.  With festivals like New Orleans Jazz & Heritage and Austin City Limits, the food has become almost as much of a draw as the music.  Also price was a big topic.  Some people just have a problem with $4.50 for water.

9)     Technology Is Your Friend – Use technology whenever and wherever possible to make your fan’s experience more enjoyable.  Things like an event schedule that consumers can customize to plan their day at your festival have become necessity.

10)  Build a Model – All of our panel’s festival producers pointed out that once you had a model that worked, you could reproduce that model in other cities and with other festivals.  The key here is experience.

If there was an 11, it would have to be staying out of trying to do a festival if you have no experience.  Better to partner with someone like those listed above who already have their “models”, and can make things run smoothly for you.  Going in head first without learning to swim can make all of us drown.

Talk to you soon,

Jim