James Hamlin: selling tickets, socially

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

james-hamlin.jpgLiveblogging – errors, omission and unfinished sentences possible

James Hamlin, marketing director, seatwave

Seatwave is seat marketplace – buying and selling tickets. They’ve moved it from a shady business in car parks to something open, transparent and social on the web. And social media and e-mail are crucial to their CRM.

collectfrom – allows direct pickup of tickets from sellers and then customers to buy/collect the tickets from the O2. The mayor of their shop there on Foursquare doesn’t pay fees. They offer a photo booth at their pop-up collect from locations. It allows people to memorialise their experience – both as a physical product and through social media. The photos can become Facebook photo pictures, for example – with seat wave branding in place.

What are the marketing challenges?

Fluctuating prices. Keeping in contact with sellers, to keep the supply funnel topped up. Reaching the right fans using targeting and user preferences to maximise conversion. The number of true fans is quite small. Most people are more casual. You need to push the message home to casual fans that the price might be right for them.

No-one in the audience uses Facebook Connect! seatwave does – it allows them to connect deeply with Facebook, showing whose going to gigs, and which friends like the artists. My Bands encourages people to follow their bands on Facebook – and this find out about events, and potentially buy tickets. They’ve layered a price alert mechanism on top of that. Five times more effective than standard e-mails.

E-mails direct to sellers promoting collectfrom are effective at getting new stock. Marketing tickets starts with previous buyers of that act, with coupon codes, then spreads out by location. Price-led offers have highest CTR. Social kicks in close to the end of the sale process, with people sharing offers and ticket purchases widely once prices drop low.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.