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Best Marketing Strategies

When it comes to marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. Ali Harnell of AEG Live/The Messina Group made the point by discussing how a few guys from the marketing team rented dragon costumes and filmed a silly video to announce an Imagine Dragons concert. 

Photo: Jason Squires

“You never know what it’s going to be,” Harnell said. “There is no best practice. Either the show is going to sell out or you gotta work your ass off to figure out how to get as many impressions in a market as possible to get as many butts in seats.”

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She added that the best marketing strategies come down to knowing who your act is, as well as your audience. Live Nation’s Jason Stone chimed in, “It’s not best practices, it’s every practice – everything you can think of, putting it all together and that becomes your marketing campaign.”

To help sell tickets and drum up attention for Jake Owen’s tour, the country singer had tiki bars on stage and personally appeared on radio to give away seats on stage. This strategy benefited Owen, the radio stations and the fans, who had a great time and couldn’t stop talking about the tiki bars. RCA Records Nashville’s Josh Easler pointed out that the promotion wouldn’t work with every artist or consumer but that it made sense for Owen because of the fun vibe he had created with a few of his singles.

Other creative marketing examples that came up included leaving nail files with a concert date at nail salons, promoting Kings of Leon gigs by distributing condoms printed with “Sex on Fire” at colleges, and giving out coasters with Little Big Town’s show info to tie in with the band’s “Day Drinking” single. “People like free stuff!” MSG Entertainment’s Laurie Jacoby said.

And who could forget when Jon Bon Jovi agreed to walk an Australian fan down the aisle at her 2013 Las Vegas wedding after she created a Facebook page and website to persuade him? “It’s all about being nimble and taking advantage of opportunities,” Bon Jovi Management’s Anthony Piedmonte said. He noted that it wasn’t about selling the Las Vegas show Bon Jovi played the evening after the wedding but that it laid the groundwork for great press in Australia.

In addition to tailoring your marketing strategies to your artist, some acts – like Bon Jovi – require you to adjust your message to fit different demographics within the fanbase. For example, Piedmonte said if he sent an email about pricey VIP tickets to all of the band’s fans, it might end up alienating a young fan who doesn’t have that kind of cash. 

When it comes to getting artists involved with social media, Thirty Tigers’ Traci Thompson says that she tries not to be “overly sales-y.” She explained that while Thirty Tigers sometimes allows promoters to do sponsored posts on Facebook, she tries not to do that with Jason Isbell because his fans know he’s more of a Twitter guy.

Of course social media is important when it comes to marketing, but don’t dismiss more traditional methods like ads at bus stops and flyers. Insight Management’s Maria Brunner brought up a study that concluded that the No. 1 way fans age 28-34 hear about events is flyers. Brunner added that a great place to leave flyers about shows is at your local gym.

And because everyone is always pressed for time, we’ll leave you with a few quick time management tips: Use the phone instead of email and put out metaphorical fires immediately.