How McMenamins Implements a Data-Driven Pre-Show Marketing Strategy with Etix
McMenamins has been a neighborhood gathering spot throughout Oregon and Washington since 1983. They use preserved and historic landmarks to “pair fun with cultural celebration” in an eclectic mix of pubs, historic hotels, movie theaters, concert venues, spas, and events. Portland, Oregon is home to McMenamins’ Crystal Ballroom, a historic (over 100 years old) venue that has a capacity of 1,500 and is distinctive for its unique “floating” floor that bounces as more fans dance.
Mike Walker has spent the last 20 years as the McMenamins’ Music Marketing Manager, improving event strategies to draw more loyal fans to the venue. Walker talks about an important part of his role: “There are 20 to 30 shows that are ours to promote at any time at the Crystal Ballroom. We could be selling tickets to a couple dozen different shows at any time.”
Walker and the Crystal Ballroom team wanted to revamp their pre-show marketing strategy in order to raise more event awareness, connect the right fans to shows they are more likely to be interested in, and sell more tickets earlier in the event lifecycle.
Part of this new strategy required learning more about their customers’ interests, ticket purchasing habits, and demographics. The more details the Crystal Ballroom could gather about their ticket buyers, the more powerful they could make their pre-show strategies.
Every effective marketing strategy starts with data. Etix not only provides an easy-to-use purchase process that delights the box office team, but also features multiple data-centric tools for venues to uncover valuable customer data trends and habits that otherwise remain hidden. Etix Community is one of these powerful tools that helps the Crystal Ballroom team segment their audience based on genre interests, purchasing habits, and more. This is an important step in their preliminary research to plan pre-announcement campaigns.
Mike Walker mentioned, “Etix Community is fantastic in getting one master list for a variety of shows and overtime the way the queries have expanded to filter shows based on behavior.”
The Crystal Ballroom builds segmented customer lists by determining which groups of customers are more likely to see a particular show and start marketing efforts earlier in the event lifecycle. For instance, ticket purchasers who have been to a past Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness show at the Crystal Ballroom are more likely to be interested in attending another Indie Rock show. When the team begins the marketing plan for an upcoming Indie Rock show, this list of past purchasers would be included in the segment pulled.
Walker and the Crystal Ballroom team takes Community one step further by pairing it with the Purchase Correlation report, which gives more insight into customer behavior by comparing customers who purchased tickets for current shows to those who purchased for past performances. A high correlation rate can help filter the right performances into an Etix Community segment. Connecting fans based on ticket purchasing patterns helped the Crystal Ballroom develop new and advanced ad strategies.
The Crystal Ballroom launched their new pre-sale event strategy, which boasted impressive numbers early on. With a customer database of over 150,000 ticket purchasers, the team’s new strategy helps quantify its effectiveness through social media tools, contesting, and email marketing.
“Before Community, we used to pull a whole bunch of lists together,” Walker commented “Mailchimp takes care getting rid of all the dupes, but for staff they are taking their time to pull excel sheets. [With an] army of two people, every minute counts.”
With the use of Etix Community and Etix’s robust suite of reports, the Crystal Ballroom relies less on the “go with the gut” feelings and more on their data-driven pre-launch strategy. The venue saw boosts in ticket sales earlier in the purchase funnel and picked up on trends in loyal customer behavior to use for the next round of shows.
“Overall the new strategy has doubled our numbers for number of RSVPs, overall awareness, and ticket sales at the end of the marketing funnel.“ – Mike Walker, Marketing Manager