As with other areas of strength at venue giant SMG, the company’s marketing arm benefits venues and partners alike because of its size and network of experienced staff.
SMG senior VP of entertainment Jim McCue and John Bolton, GM of the BOK Center and Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Okla., and national director of marketing for SMG, oversee four regional directors of marketing and roughly 140 arena marketing professionals.
“It’s like every other facet of our business,” Bolton says. “There’s a complete network of support that helps our venues be successful. We focus on whatever we can do to help promoters, agents and shows sell tickets, but we also focus on the venue itself and how we can market it. It’s also about how the community reacts to what we do and how we’re involved in the community.”
Marketing is one of the most critical components of a venue’s success, according to Bolton, and SMG’s network of professionals is one of the company’s biggest assets.
“It’s great when there’s a new tour and they can get on a call with 140 of our people in all of our venues across the country and they’re able to tell us about their show,” he says. “It’s a really easy opportunity to talk to a bunch of people and launch an event or family show or whatever it might be.
“There’s a sense of relief from a lot of event promoters when they come to an SMG venue that they know they’re coming into a network of professional people who not only have local support, but regional and national support,” Bolton says.
SMG’s focus on back-end support, embedded systems and its use of best practices are also strengths.
“There’s been an investment by our company to make sure those back-end systems are in place to make our clients successful from the minute the customer walks through the door until the show loads out at 3 a.m.,” he says. “It’s that kind of comprehensive management of all facets of the business that makes a huge difference in our company’s success.”
“There’s such a support network for every facet of venue operation,” Bolton adds. “There are highly skilled people who have been doing this and sharing best practices in all of our buildings. They help our clients and the venues that we manage really be successful.” -Ken Tucker