Posts Tagged ‘Value’

COMPARISON ADS

February 2, 2010

Happy New Year!  At some point I will write a Newsletter (which also appears on my Facebook page, etc) on why I haven’t been writing newsletters recently…but not now.  Today I want to rip-off some more business’s  advertising ideas.

Have you seen the Allstate Insurance TV spots where they compare their competitor’s prices to Allstate’s?  We could do the same type of ads comparing money a consumer spends on a video game…or trip to the movies that one thinks is so inexpensive…or going out to dinner, etc, to going to a live event or purchasing music.  The comparisons don’t and shouldn’t be limited to a financial message, since our ticket prices aren’t exactly cheap…and we all have seen what younger consumers think the value of recorded music should be.

There probably isn’t a person alive today that doesn’t mark important times or periods in their lives…good or bad, with a song or piece of music.  Many of remember decades by the type of music prominent at the time… 70’s Rock, 80’s New Wave and Punk, etc.  Do you think the casual gamer has the first game they ever owned…although I am very sentimental to Pong?  But you never forget your first concert.  Now that I’ve taken my 12-year old Gwen to a few, she told me she wants me to take her to as many live shows as I can.  Gwen is now hooked on live music!

Experiment…in your next ad, instead of the same old music video, new single, and frame with the B.S. “call to action”, try comparing going to a Zac Brown Band concert (just an example since I’m a fan and we were talking about him in the office today) to going to a movie.  It’s a no brainer for a consumer after that.  Price is very comparable… Zac is only in town a few times a year at most…it is fun, communal …you can go with friends…you can meet members of the opposite sex, that show will only happen once as no-show is exactly the same…but the movie and theatre aren’t going anywhere…just to name a few. 

Hope to hear from you on the subject.  Let me know what you come up with.  Also, the movie trailer concept is something we all should consider.  More on that in the Aspen Live wrap-up which will be headed your way shortly.

Have a great day!

Jim Lewi

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THE PRICE OF ADMISSION

December 15, 2008

Sorry it has been a while since the last LiveWorks Newsletter.  To make sure subscribers didn’t receive another old newsletter from our FeedBurner account (for those of you not familiar, our feed system for newsletter subscribers sends out old posts whenever I don’t write for more than a day), I deactivated our system while away and will continue to do so whenever I don’t post for more than one day until we figure out how to fix the problem or import our subscriber list to another subscription feed service.  If you have tried to subscribe to the LiveWorks Newsletter in the past and it wouldn’t work, please try again by clicking on the following link  Subscribe to LiveWorks Newsletter by Email.  Once you subscribe you will receive a verification email.  You must respond to this email in order to start receiving the newsletter.

As many readers may know, since last Tuesday I’ve been in Aspen, Colorado, hosting the 14th Annual Aspen Live Conference.  Although we covered many topics in our eight-plus hours of meetings and debate, the most important message to come out for me was… BRING THE PRICE FOR ADMISSION DOWN AND THE EXPERIENCE UP!

In past newsletters I’ve talked about early concert experiences at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center or SPAC.  My friends and I went to almost every concert each summer because the venue was so special to us, and we could afford to go.  In Aspen last week, Don Strasburg broke-it-down to an even simpler formula of “opposite sex + friends + cool place to hang out + affordable experience = crowded venue” (I’m paraphrasing here so please excuse me Don if I didn’t get it right).  When Don said that, I realized that some things will never change (as much as they change), and Don’s theory had merit.  After all, when we were young, we didn’t go to see Loverboy, REO and others at SPAC because they were our favorite bands, we went because it was $7 for a lawn seat and we knew that the experience at the venue would be great.  So Jay Scavo brought up the concept of a venue season pass to help develop artists.

Season passes are nothing new to the live entertainment business.  Amusement parks, sports teams, recreational areas (such as ski mountains and beaches), and performing arts centers have had season passes for decades, so why can’t you?  Yes there are hurdles to overcome such as artist compensation for season pass holder’s tickets and the potential for no-shows from those tickets… but there is simply nothing that can’t be negotiated when the deal is put together.

Don Strasburg tried an experiment for our group.  He made-up four season passes to the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO and put them on-sale on the club’s website for $400 per pass.  With no advertising, no email blasts, and only a post on The Fox’s website, Don’s four season passes sold-out in less than an hour.  Sell enough of these and you have a very healthy business going.  If season pass holders want to go to a show that is sure to sell-out or at least do well, they will need to put in their orders by a certain deadline or their tickets will be released for general sale.  Difficult, yes…impossible, no way.

Do you have a season pass for your shows?  How about a low-priced “starter rate”?  If not, it might be time to start thinking about ways to compensate everyone and show fans real value.  Two-for -ones, discounted tickets, and the like only devalue your show’s brand, but the venues, promoters, and more.  Create a season pass, discounts and loyalty programs, or simply lower the price of admission and watch your numbers go up.

Talk with you soon…

Jim

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