Pollstar Live! sessions have occasionally been known to take a turn for the wacky, and with Ticketfly’s Andrew Dreskin serving as the self-proclaimed sheriff of the 3 M’s of Live Entertainment Marketing, viewers knew they were in for a good time. 

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Photo: Barry Brecheisen

3 M's Of Marketing

First-timer Brandon Frankel of CAA scored a handful of condoms in honor of losing his panel virginity, Dreskin handed out out a round of brews and the session was interspersed with high-pressure “lightning rounds” plus “truth or Dickel,” where panelists were encouraged to take shots of the famed Tennessee whiskey.

Aside from the hijinks, there was also plenty of serious talk about marketing, the rise of mobile discovery, empowering loyal fans to spread the word, and personalizing event experiences on an individual basis.

To give some perspective on just how important mobile is when it comes to marketing, Dreskin announced that in 2013, the U.S. transacted about $25 billion in mobile purchases.

Expanding that to Ticketfly, he said 40 percent of visitors to Ticketfly's network access via mobile devices.

Frankel noted that with CAA clients, “We always try to integrate with a company that has a mobile version because we do find that people want what they want when they want it, which is usually on their phone.”

AEG Live’s Joyce Szudzik echoed that statement, adding that “mobile shifts you into that instant-gratification moment where you’re driving down the road, you hear that radio spot” and you’re compelled to purchase a ticket on your mobile device at a stoplight.

For YPlan, mobile isn’t simply a good idea, it’s a necessity.

YPlan’s Vito Iaia explained the company is a last-minute, mobile-only marketing platform for live events where “90-plus percent of sales happen today and tomorrow. People are not necessarily buying at the onsales like they used to because they don’t know where they’re going to be in three or four months.”

To highlight mavens, Dreskin recalled a lifetime pass giveaway The Vogue in Indianapolis did for fans that tattooed a ticket from the venue on their body.

Donna Westmoreland explained the 9:30 Club features a loyalty program called Friends with Benefits for the venue’s biggest fans.

“At every touch point of engagement you score points,” she said. “You accrue those points for buying a ticket, using a ticket, tweeting about the show, for your food and beverage purchases, your merchandise purchases. These points accrue and then you are able to use them for tickets, merch, etc., and you also get special messaging, special presales, and VIP upgrades. … It gives us an opportunity to reward those customers and make them feel special. We’ve got about 15,000 members after the first year and they write us love letters. It’s great.”

But sometimes, reaching the maven isn’t the aim at all.

Greg Rudin of GrouponLive said the company instead seeks out the casual fans.

“We’re always 70 to 80 percent new. We’re a vehicle to create awareness and exposure,” he said, adding that his clients don’t want to give the impression that shows are doing poorly and would prefer to sell to their power users directly. A cautionary tale of a Target’s personalization efforts tipping a father off to his teenage daughter’s pregnancy jumpstarted a discussion of me commerce, which all panelists agreed is crucial for online marketing.

But while Dreskin wondered whether the Target was an example of “personalization gone terribly wrong or terribly right,” Iaia and Szudzik saw things a little differently.

“Frankly, I’m not sure Target got that wrong. If someone likes an event on our app or shares an event on our app, they’re telling us something,” Iaia said, explaining the information might help the company sell in a better way down the road. “It’s not that they got it wrong or they got it right, it’s just the state of where things are today,” Szudzik added. “Nobody wants to know that somebody knows this much about you.”