Heart & Soul
According to Frady, the most effective tool Live Nation has in its marketing arsenal to accomplish this task is the customer database. It houses more than 16 million names of individuals who have opted in to receive the company’s marketing communications. “The customer database allows us to reach fans of a band early in the ticket-buying process,” he says. “[It] is also used at the back end for filling in when shows might not be selling as aggressively as we want. It helps to put people in seats far more efficiently than traditional media.”
Most of Live Nation’s marketing campaigns are delivered via e-mail, though Frady says the company has “dipped its toe in the water” with direct mail and selectively uses online advertising. “Nothing beats e-mail in terms of cost per acquisition,” he adds.
Segmentation Is Everything
The workhorse of Live Nation’s direct marketing line-up is an e-mail newsletter called the Live Nation Set List, which is customized for 40 different U.S. markets. Distributed weekly, the e-newsletter includes a calendar of presale and on-sale events, and features artist or album photos along with links to the LiveNation.com Web site for detailed ticket sales information.
Live Nation also sends out e-mail alerts targeted to customers’ artist preferences. These communications take advantage of the wealth of information Live Nation has gathered as a result of previous purchases or customer requests to receive artist-specific information. They can take the form of presale or on-sale notifications for shows in recipients’ local areas, merchandising offers for specific artists or shows, contest promotions featuring popular artists or tours, etc.
With these types of electronic communications, Frady says it is important to get directly to the point. Live Nation uses the featured artists’ names in subject lines, which helps them stand out in recipients’ e-mail inboxes. Open rates for Live Nation’s targeted e-mail alerts are huge, he says, adding that open rates across the entire e-mail program have increased nearly 47 percent from 2006 to 2007. This success largely is due to rigorous segmentation, and it flies in the face of challenges such as image blocking that have caused many marketers’ open rates to appear diminished.