Marketing More For Less At Pollstar Live

Good marketing advice: contact your local government organizations, remember that everyone’s goal is to get more business, and put giant cardboard cutouts of your acts outside catering trucks.

“It’s goofy, but people are goofy! And they want to get a picture,” said Karen Rappaport of Muddygirl Productions, who set up giant Yo Gabba Gabba! character cutouts outside popular lunch trucks in Los Angeles as part of a ticket giveaway.

The catering trucks already have their own groups of fans and their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. Tying a giveaway or something of extra value to this type of business brings buzz for both parties and will pay off for almost zero marketing cost. Fans take pictures and share them with hundreds of friends – creating yet more visibility in the process.

And she said this could work just as well for something like Kings of Leon.

“[The old] approach isn’t always working, because the target markets are splintering off, the way we receive information has completely changed, and now there is no one cookie-cutter approach to any show, festival or any experience you are trying to market,” she said.

Getting creative can produce marketing opportunities so beneficial for the other party that it’s almost too good to be true.

Rappaport brought up a Neutrogena “Rainbath” product campaign where they provided every marathon event they could find with free shower products at the big shower stations following the races.

The runners could not believe they were getting something free, and were more than happy to give testimonials and participate in a promotional video for the product. A similar campaign she came up with was for Max Factor waterproof makeup for the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swimming team, who could not be happier to participate.

“They were so thrilled that I’m almost embarrassed to even tell you, but I think we got to sponsor the entire synchronized swimming team for $10,000.” And they ended up on the “Today” show and every beauty magazine imaginable.

For Pollstar Live! delegates, however, the trick is to apply those ideas to the concerts.

Insight Management’s Maria Brunner says it’s important to make sure your online presence on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t just become “buy this, buy this, buy this” and become a constant spewing of information rather than an offer for something the customer wants and can’t get elsewhere.

“Show the volunteer of the night at your venue, show something funny that happened, maybe during a contest in the lobby. … We really like to feel like we’re on the inside track with you,” the panel moderator said.

Nichole Ipach from CSU Channel Islands near Santa Barbara says to remember that everyone benefits from strong sales. She says it’s important to start with local governments, Rotary groups and chambers of commerce.

“What they’re really looking for are ways to generate business in their cities,” Ipach said. “If you can approach the cities and say, ‘Hey, if you can market and promote this for us, we will bring you business,’ they would be all over that in a heartbeat. So you could come up with some really creative ways to do marketing for close to nothing.”

Charlie Blum from the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Ind., pointed out from the audience that it’s important to let individual fans make life a little easier as well.

“I go onstage before the show starts as the representative of the theatre and make the announcement to turn off all cell phones – no recording devices during the show. And I say but before I do that I’m asking all of you to turn on your cell phones – everybody in the theatre – and I’d like you to text this number, and I capture their mobile phone at that time.

“In a matter of a minute I’ve picked up over 3,000 names and they all get excited to do it,” he added. For older crowds, he might do a ticket giveaway by text message or offer the onsale date for an upcoming show at the venue the crowd will be interested in.

“I’m stealing that idea, too!” Brunner and Rappaport replied. Needless to say, the panelists could not stress the importance of sharing ideas. Sometimes, Brunner said, it’s even important to see what your direct competition is up to and see what you can do to work together.


Pollstar Live 2011 Panel Index