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Noise New Media Founders on Staying One Step Ahead on Digital Trends: ‘We Don’t Do Websites… We Sell Tickets’

This year marks a decade of growth for Nashville-based Noise New Media. It's a company that founders Steve Richo and Mark O'Shea began because they felt that there was a change underway in the…

This year marks a decade of growth for Nashville-based Noise New Media. It’s a company that founders Steve Richo and Mark O’Shea began because they felt that there was a change underway in the ticketing business — as well as in the reception for Social Media, in general.

“I was working for a record label that had gone out of business at the end of 2007,” said Richo. “I found myself looking for another opportunity in the digital media world. MySpace and iTunes were just emerging at that time. I thought ‘I could go apply at Sony or Mercury, or a label around town, or I could try to start something up myself. I had met Mark when I was working at that label. He was introduced to me as a musician who had a gift of growing guerilla marketing concepts. I’m more of a technology guy. I don’t have any fans, personally, but Mark being a musician, he had accumulated fans around the world, and he kept being engaged with folks. I could turn his ideas and concepts into reality, and those messages have changed a lot over the years, as well.” A decade later, the two are still having the time of their life while growing their business model. “He’s my brother. We have traveled the planet together multiple times, and we’re currently at the Indiana State Fair, which is one of our favorite clients.”

What makes Noise New work so well? “I think it’s a case of the ‘left brain, right brain’ sort of thing,” said O’Shea, who is one half of the musical duo O’Shea. “He’s very technical, and I’m very creative. That being said, I would add that it’s not as black and white as that. When people engage us, I believe that’s what they see initially, but I think Steve is probably more creative than he gives himself credit for, and I’m maybe not as dumb as I look. I think the secret is somewhere between the two.”

Richo feels that the model for what they do has evolved greatly since 2008 – and they’ve tried to stay at the top of their game. “If you look at our client base – which is mostly promoters of venues, fairs, festivals, rodeos – they really see the value in shifting a lot of their advertising dollars into more online sources of advertising. I think we’ve been able to prove the methods which wind up converting the most – even to the current day, where we can show them a return investment on every dollar that they have spent on advertising. We do a lot in the social media ad space,” he says, adding that keeps them on the road to stay ahead of new trends.

“We were just up at the Facebook office in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, trying to stay abreast of the hot media — which changes every summer. Right now, it’s the Instagram Story series, but last year that wasn’t even a thing. Here in 2018, it’s proving to be a really interesting conversion channel, not only for organic content but ad campaigns that we would run on the Instagram Stories platform. Our clients don’t have the time to keep up with all of these trends, and to stay immersed in that. I think that’s been a major part of what we offer.”

Noise New Media Founders on Staying
Drew Patterson, Steve Richo, Chelsea Warren, Justin Horvath, Wes Beale and Mark O’Shea. Courtesy of Noise New Media

Though Noise New is a digital-based company, O’Shea says the company has a firm grasp on what they do well — and they try not to paint outside of those lines too often.

“I would add that a lot of companies start out saying that they are going to do ‘digital stuff.’ That will mean everything from building a website to making a piece of content. We don’t do websites. I think we’ve been very clear from the start that was something that we didn’t want to be a part of. We wanted to solely focus on how to use digital and social to sell tickets. So, we don’t just judge our success on how many ‘Likes’ we’ve got  – or even our engagement. It’s how many tickets we have sold, which has increased.”

When asked what the latest technical breakthrough that has affected their business is, Richo doesn’t hesitate.

“As far as platforms go, I think that Instagram Stories is something that has really changed. At this point last year, it was just a bit of a side product and not a big deal at all. Now, it’s an essential focus for us. Its’ growth is at a quicker pace than Facebook or Instagram, for that matter. I think they are about to hit three hundred million – which is mostly in the last year.” He feels they have taken hold of those trends – yet they are still looking forward to what’s next. “I think the challenges for us is to create a measure of success year after year. We work in a cyclical business. It’s like winning the Super Bowl. As soon as the party is over, you’re thinking about next year. We find that to be very fun and intriguing.”

O’Shea says he feels that the new advancements in media gives him and Richo a better chance than ever to prove that what they are doing at Noise New is working. It wasn’t always that way, he surmises. “I think a challenge in the past is to prove that what we have done in the past has moved the needle. That has been difficult — because there are a lot of things that have to join up with the ticket providers, technology needs to coordinate with the Facebook pixel or the Twitter pixel, and they only can speak together in a report. They don’t have to live on website to the client. There’s a lot of moving parts. When we first started, the technology wasn’t really all together. But, in the last year or two, we’ve been able to join the dots and pull all of those things together. So, we can pull out the dashboard, and show you a return on every dollar spent. I think that’s what clients want to see, and we’re capable of — and excited to do that.”