Too Many Fans, Not Enough Customers: Facebook, Live Nation, AEG Live, Gupta Media, Ticketfly, Eventful Execs Talk Digital Mktg Strategies at Touring Conference

The Esteemed Panel: From left: Ashley Bradbury, Facebook Client Partner, Global Marketing Solutions; Jordan Glazier, CEO, Eventful; Gogi Gupta, Founder, Gupta Media; Ryan Okum, SVP, Social Media, Live Nation; Sean Porter, Senior Director, Product, Eventbrite; Kristina Wallender, Senior Director, Marketing, Ticketfly; and moderator Joyce Szudzik, VP, Digital, AEG Live. 

(Photo: A Turner Archives)

The concert business is in full boom - thanks in part to the increase of targeted and efficient marketing strategies spawned by new media. Capitalizing on mobile, social, email, re-targeting and push marketing platforms, music fans and artists are now closer than ever. The major challenge? How to leverage massive fan numbers into paying customers. That's what execs from Facebook, Eventful, Gupta Media., Live Nation, Eventbright and Ticketfly discussed

That was one of the biggest questions AEG Live’s VP of digital Joyce Szudzik posed to the panel of digital marketing leaders at the 10th annual Billboard Touring Conference.

When asked how fan data can maximize profitability, Ashley Bradbury, Facebook’s client partner of global marketing Solutions explained, “Anything you’re doing both on Facebook, on web, on mobile is all feeding into this profile of who you are as a user. All of this data - Eventful, Spotify - all of these have plugs, and it feeds into your data, which makes targeting that much more exact.”

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Despite increased technology, some things have remained the same - for one, content is still king for the artist, said Ryan Okum, SVP of social media Live Nation. “Fans will do a lot of the marketing for us.” One example he gave was Miley Cyrus’ recently announced BANGERZ tour. “We put a Facebook event in place, and late last night we crossed 100,000 RSVPs, which is the highest we’ve seen thus far. We also know that on average each concertgoer has around 300 friends on Facebook, so it’s just that hand raising of ‘yes I am attending this event’ -- it does wonders for us.”

The panel unanimously acknowledged the importance of personalization. “They just want to feel special,” says Ticketfly Senior Director of Marketing, Kristina Wallender, who launched a product called Fanbase to tap into that need, allowing clients to identify and engage directly with their top fans. “For most clients, the top 5% of their fans generate up to 20% of their total sales. They’re the loyal fans, the influencers and they can be a huge part of a targeted marketing campaign.”

Another service that cuts out the middle-man is Eventful’s DemandIt platform, where the artist polls fans on social media to see where their demand is highest, allowing artists to control that data. Explains Jordan Glazier, CEO of Eventful, “Performers can also now see the demographics - the age and gender - but  most importantly, there’s a highly effective contact tool, and the open rates on the emails sent out are usually around 80%, which are sizeable audiences.” Describing influencer as a big buzzword this year, moderator Szudzik added, “It’s figuring out who has the loudest voice. If that person says they’re going, their posse is going to follow.”

Gupta Media founder Gogi Gupta has also embraced similar technology, informing the crowd that they just rolled out a platform Nov. 13 called “Shows Nearby” which will create links to purchase tickets in whatever city you’re in with one click. “We really shorten the road between ‘I want to see that artist,’ and ‘I want to buy that ticket,” Gopta said. “It will change the way bands think - you won’t need to create an event page anymore.”

The panel came to a close with a question from an artist in the crowd, wondering if the panelists could work on a way for fans to ‘zap’ money form their phones to his phone, rather than going through Paypal. “We’re all for zapping,” joked Szudzik.“But to me it’s a battle against ease and data - there’s so many different ways to purchase tickets, but as a promoter on the venue side you still want them to create an account, so that you’re able to track them.”