6 Tips to Advance Your Distribution Channel Strategy

June 23, 2016 AudienceView Marketing

With more entertainment options than ever before and fans finding things to do in so many different places online, having the largest possible audience for your upcoming events is just good business.  This is especially important considering that 30-40% of inventory goes unsold at many venues.

Think of a secondary market as a “Google of tickets.”  As one of the only distribution channels for full-price seats, it searches dozens of the biggest ticketing sites and presents results in one place.

With millions of monthly active users, it’s a great way for organizations to access a large group of entertainment consumers, attract first-time customers, ensure events are center stage for last-minute event discovery and sell more seats.

Best of all – it’s mobile first and fans can buy tickets in just two taps.

We talked to Adriel Saporta, who works the business development side of a leading secondary market provider with initiatives in theater and the arts, to get expert advice on things to consider in a sophisticated multi-channel strategy.

Here are six tips from a best-in-class company to help you compare distribution channels.  You’ll want to ask yourself these questions before entering into a distribution partnership.

1. Will you have complete insight and control of your inventory?  If not, why not?  This is a question you’ll want to ask and evaluate.

2. Can the partner expose your events beyond your existing fan base?  Active communities offer one-stop shopping for tickets to all sorts of live events – from theater and sports to concerts, comedy shows and festivals. Secondary markets are a way to reach that husband who otherwise wouldn’t know where to buy tickets to the ballet for his wife or to reach that young Taylor Swift fan who had no idea that Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is right up her alley. It’s really a way to reach new and different users that you might not already be reaching,

3. Who owns the data? If you don’t own the data captured through distribution channel sales, it will be difficult – and in many cases impossible – to market to these customers in the future.  Owning the data allows you to create profiles for new attendees and increase your knowledge of those who have come to your events in the past.  These profiles help target your marketing efforts and understand what your fans want and when.

4. Can fans transfer tickets to friends?  If yes, you’ll know even more about the people in your seats instead of just the cardholder who made the purchase.  AudienceView’s integrated social ticketing feature eliminates “ghost friends” and reduces the ratio of tickets to known buyers.  You can use this data to re-target and re-market to new customers who you wouldn’t otherwise have known about.

5. What is the cost of using the distribution channel?  While some providers does not charge rightsholders a fee, some channels charge large fees or require a revenue sharing arrangement to put your events in front of their audiences.  Others may want to sell your seats at a deep discount.  Be sure to fully understand the cost of doing business – both for your organization and your fans – with any distribution partners you are considering.

6. How is the mobile experience?  These days, many of us live on our phones.  The average American adult checks it 150 different times every day for 177 minutes – meaning each session is a quick 71 seconds.  It’s important to engage quickly and make the purchase process as easy as possible so you can make a sale every time.

“We try to predict what customers are going to want and expect before they ask for it,” Saporta says proudly.  “We are a technology company and I understand that a lot of rightsholders don’t have endless IT department resources to spend on offering the best mobile experience.  I think it’s a lot of deciding what you think is actually going to improve the customer experience and then maybe more importantly what’s going to improve conversion.”

Ultimately, distribution means more tickets being bought by more people in more places.  You can go beyond your typical marketing and sales channels and capture more data too.

Sophisticated multi-channel distribution is the next major shift for ticketing, predicts Saporta.  “It’s something that other industries accepted long ago, but live events have been slower to follow.  Apple doesn’t sell most of its products through Apple.com, but through BestBuy, Amazon and other distribution partners.”

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