The Ticket Crowd's Elle McMahon: Key Strategies For Successfully Marketing Festivals in 2024
Events Blog
May 10, 2024
Event Insights

The Ticket Crowd's Elle McMahon: Key Strategies For Successfully Marketing Festivals in 2024

Four Key Ways to Give Your Event the Best Chance of Succeeding

Event Marketing
Fan Engagement
Purchase Behavior
Ticket Sales
Rod Yates
Rod Yates
Marketing Manager, Content
Audience Republic
Download now

“In the UK, the events industry is having a bit of a tough time,” offers Elle McMahon, CEO and Founder of The Ticket Crowd, a growth marketing agency for events.

“I think 31 festivals have now been canceled this year in the UK, which is a phenomenal amount. It's definitely rocked the industry as a whole.” 

There are, however, bright spots amongst the gloom, with a good number of festivals outperforming their previous years. Some of those events are clients of The Ticket Crowd.

“We work very hard, but we seem to have found a sweet spot where we're working really well with our clients, and the strategies that we're implementing are working well,” says McMahon. “And most of our clients are beating their targets from last year, which is wonderful.”

Here, McMahon shares some of those strategies as she considers the key elements event organizers and marketers must stay on top of to give their event the best chance of success in 2024 and beyond.

Master Your Marketing Budget

"The number one thing in the current landscape that event organizers should stay on top of is marketing budgets – proper financial planning and budgeting, especially when it comes to ad campaigns.

"At The Ticket Crowd, we plan our marketing campaigns based on three phases.

"We'll have a tease phase, where we're drumming up lots of excitement through presale tickets, just building on FOMO, and enticing people to buy now.

"After that, we have the sustain phase where we use all the data that we collected in the presale phase, and we really focus on what messages are working, or creatives are working, where are we best placed to use our budget and do that wisely.

"And then the third phase is the push phase. And that really happens in the last six-to-eight weeks if we haven't sold out before the event. We allocate at least 20% of the overall budget into that six-to-eight-week timeframe. Of course, that budget weight will depend largely on how much time we have to do the first two phases.

"But usually, if we have at least an eight-month build-up, we save 20% of that budget into the last six-to-eight weeks, and really push those campaigns that are working and scale upwards from there. And that's been working incredibly well for us."

"If we have at least an eight-month build-up, we save 20% of that budget into the last six-to-eight weeks, and really push those campaigns that are working and scale upwards from there."

Creating Urgency Is More Important Than Ever

"This year more than ever we're seeing that delay in ticket buying urgency. We saw it last year when we were coming out of COVID and people were just buying later, but I think this year the cost-of-living crisis has also affected that as well.

"So because we have those two very serious things going on in the background, a lot of our messaging this year has been around urgency. We drive urgency really early on through presale.

"And we give a limited amount of  super early bird discounts, for example, but then we just start selling out tiers. And we're quite strategic in the way that we do that, and the timeline and the messaging that goes around that as well. Just so that we can encourage people to buy earlier.

"Because we know if people buy earlier, then you have more money to actually build the events, it spreads that financial risk, and you're not sat there, fingers crossed, waiting for that build up in that last two-month period.

"So it's really been about playing with the different kinds of urgencies, and where they fit within your marketing funnel. And testing different types of urgency messaging, or various different hooks or incentives. So keep testing, keep making sure that you're hammering that urgency, but not too much.

"No one wants to go on to social media and be sold [to]. So do remember that as well. Make sure you're giving them that fun and engaging content before you start hammering down those urgency messages, and those two work really harmoniously together."

Tailor Your Marketing to Each Audience Segment

"We've found this year more so than ever that focusing just on promoting your headliners for a music festival and focusing on your line-up can be a really big needle driver. And we have seen that in quite a lot of the festivals that we work with.

"But actually, really leaning in on the experience-led element as well for your festival has been incredibly important. We have done that for one of the more well-known music festivals in the UK. It's their 10th anniversary this year.

"And previously, I think they've always gone down the line-up route – here's who's playing.

"[This year] we really drilled down into who exactly are we targeting for the festival in question, and what we found was there's actually more target avatars that we could create those offers for. And instead of going down the line-up route, [we created] an offer that's specifically tailored to each audience avatar.

"Leaning in on the experience-led element for your festival has been incredibly important."

"So say, for example, you've got a festival, and your target demographic could be families with young kids; it could be 18, 19, 20-year-olds who just want to go and have their first festival experience with their friends; or you've got maybe a slightly older demographic. Those three types of audience will have very different motivators to buy tickets for your event. It might be line-up led, however, if you can tailor your offer, and what you're directly offering those different types of avatars, which will be different for all of them, then you will be able to sell more tickets that way.

"Because the reason for an 18-year-old buying a ticket to go to a music festival is going to be very different from a young mum with perhaps two kids who's looking for a really nice family experience.

"And your festival could offer both of those things. But if you're just pushing a line-up, neither one of those people know exactly what is in it for them. So really tailor your offer, and that’s been working incredibly well for us.

"So create videos that show a day in the life at your festival for a family. They go down so well. It's really authentic content. It's really engaging, and it just helps make that decision for the families in question and really helps kind of push that needle. And the same for your young demographic, Gen Zs, Millennials, and then you've got your older demographic as well. Really make content that's super tailored to them. And it's working super well."

Credit: Tijs van Leur (Unsplash)

Pay Attention to Data

"We think as E-commerce specialists. And I think the reason perhaps why event promoters are maybe struggling a little bit to sell tickets at the moment is because it is very line-up heavy. And quite rightly so – you put a lot of money and thought and inspiration into that line-up.

"But I think when you're looking at it from an E-commerce perspective – buying products and selling them online – you can get a real handle on actually diving into the data on which tickets are selling specifically well through tracking, and just being a little bit more data led with it.

"So I think that's something that should definitely be lent on a little bit more this year."

Visit The Ticket Crowd here. Follow Elle on LinkedIn here.

Download eBook

First name
Last name
Email address
Company or event name
Company or event type
By entering your information, you consent to receive marketing communications from Audience Republic from time to time.
Your eBook is ready to download.

The Ticket Crowd's Elle McMahon: Key Strategies For Successfully Marketing Festivals in 2024

Download eBook
Something went wrong. Please try again.