The first edition of XLIVE’s data & analytics summit was held last week at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, California. Over the course of two days, an all-star lineup of professionals working within the live event and entertainment industries discussed how to use big data in clever ways to enhance the fan experience and stay ahead of the competition.
John Carnahan, Ticketmaster’s Chief Digital Officer and EVP of Data Science and Engineering, discussed the ever-persistent problem of dealing with ticket scalpers and bots, which make purchasing a ticket harder for fans, and create marketing inefficiencies for artists.
“An artist is trying to build a long-term value for itself in its fan. That audience needs to grow, especially when the artist is just starting out. New artists need to price their tickets low to get new fans. But the tickets are getting to brokers on the secondary market.”
Ticketmaster is implementing strategies to help limit this problem. Their game plan includes both limiting the power of ‘bad actors’, while also giving more power to fans. One shining example is through their Verified Fan program, which gauges the probability that a person might attend an event. Based on this, Ticketmaster will send fans exclusive pre-sale tickets, effectively putting them one step ahead of pesky bots.
Carnahan admits, “In a lot of ways we are eliminating the worst part about live events – which is buying a ticket.”
Event companies have never been better equipped with digital tools to create a personal experience for their fan base. Mailing lists are becoming a thing of the past, and businesses are shifting their focus toward not only engaging their audience, but making their audience feel like their engagement matters. While sitting with the Fanalytics panel, Evan Weinstein, co-founder of Steez Promo, stated, “We’re now in a social media driven system. I’m seeing emails opened by only 35 percent of the recipients.”
Weinstein expanded on this while speaking with Mind Equals Blown. “It’s how you are communicating with people, how is that going to make you different, and I think that has become the most important thing. If you are using a bullshit bot to interact on Instagram, and you’re sending out email blasts that are the same thing to everyone every seven days, you’re going to lose the fan.”
Later this year, XLIVE will be hosting it’s 2017 eSports Summit this August in New York City, as well as their annual showcase event, the Live Event and Festival Industry Conference, in Las Vegas.
Interview with Evan Weinstein, Co-Owner and Head of Marketing for Steeze Promo
How did your career within the music industry begin?
Going to a lot of concerts. Spending time – I got an internship at a radio station, and I started working, doing lights at a theater, and it kind of evolved from that. So, I went to college, my brother was promoting shows, and I was like, alright, I want to try this, because I didn’t like lifting lights and radio wasn’t for me.
It started with a warehouse party, in my sophomore year of college. Was the first one where I had money at stake and I was actually promoting a show.
But before that, street team work, things like that.
You have talked about how the EDM industry is ahead of the curve with social media marketing. Can you please elaborate on that?
I feel like, while everybody was going, “Oh my God, Facebook changed the algorithm,” we were going, “Hey, we can advertise on Facebook now! How do we do this? How do we do this the best way?” So we’ve been going through a lot of the products that are coming out, although it’s interesting to hear how all of the sports marketing guys market, I think it’s really, the products that have been developed, Toned In, Hive, a lot of the products in social media advertising have been ones started from the EDM side. These are products that these guys have developed to market to EDM. Even the ticketing platforms, while Ticketfly was big at getting into the music stuff, their marketing on social media was a big focus for them and it was big for the EDM community and a huge win for them, when they went out and showed what they could do on social media. Whereas Ticketmaster just started their social media marketing a year or two ago.
How do you see the way the live industry event space changes the way that they use data analytics over the next couple of years?
I think it’s more, I think what’s changing, and I think the big thing for me, and what I looked at, when I jumped back into the marketing, I really jumped into the marketing, um, last summer, was how we were communicating. How we use our data, and how we are using it to communicate, I think that’s been the most important thing. Especially, you know, a lot of the people who I follow who talk about social media, and who talk about data and analytics, agree with this, and this is where I kind of get it from, everyone’s become a pusher. So, I was testing some things out with a friend yesterday, he’s a real estate guy, so he posts from twitter every day some real estate fact. So I commented on his FB post, which was from twitter, and I texted him saying “Comment back with something that’s going to make me comment to you.” It was the biggest post on his wall the whole week! Because, now, we are interacting, and now other people are jumping in. It’s how you are communicating with people, how is that going to make you different, and I think that has become the most important thing. If you are using a bullshit bot to interact on Instagram, and you’re sending out email blasts that are the same thing to everyone every seven days, you’re going to lose the fan to the guy who is sitting there and thinking “alright, well here are some discounted tickets, here is a new show announced, here’s photos from the show you just went to, and here’s how we are communicating with you.”
Right now, what I talk about is that micro / macro relationship. We’re going heavy on the micro, and loosening up on the macro, because you just don’t see the conversion rate on when you’re just pushing content. You don’t see it across any platform online. Where you are seeing the ROI, and where you are seeing conversion, is in the interaction. You’re building that relationship with the client, I firmly believe in all of that.
What advice would you give professionals looking for entry-level positions within the industry?
Be willing to work for free, because the reality is – and I don’t say that “you’re a nobody” or “you’re a shit intern, work for free” – I say that because it’s astounding, the amount of paying jobs go to interns, and where the interns end up. My two marketing people who are both under me full-time right now both started as interns. Actually, somebody who works here, in LA now at Circle Talent Agency, started as an intern at Steeze Promo, worked their way up, was getting paid, decided that they wanted to move to LA, and got a job at Circle because of the relationships they built there. If you’re good, and you’re willing to put in the work, you’re going to move up. If you’re not, you still might get a paid job, but it’s probably not going to last very long. If you’re patient enough to say “Look, I’ll work for free, as an intern, just to show you my value,” you’re probably going to be paid before that internship is over.
This is a guest post submitted by Mike Traughber.