Event marketing software startup ToneDen has just completed a rapid period of expansion, signing up 50 independent promoters, venues and festivals for its subscription-based marketing system in just a two-month stretch.
New signings for platform include Ohio’s Prime Social Group, Seattle’s USC Events, the Clyde Theater in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Nashville’s Mercy Lounge. The company started in 2013 working with “friends who were mostly broke DJs,” jokes Ali Shakeri, co-founder and CMO. “They had no way to promote their music and we told them that instead of giving it away for free on Soundcloud, we’d make sure they got a Soundcloud follow out of it.”
The strategy came as many talent-buyers were shifting from making booking decisions based on Facebook likes, over to Soundcloud plays.
“Then artist management firms like Deckstar approached us and asked if we could help promoters that are booking their shows do a little bit better with ticket sales and Facebook ads,” Shakeri says. “I think there’s just a lot about Facebook ads that promoter’s frankly just don’t have the time to learn,” especially when they have multiple venues to book with dozens of shows on each calendar. Shakeri said many venue marketers realize their Facebook-generated ticket sales could be higher, but notes that running a successful Facebook marketing campaign requires constant monitoring. Shakeri believes the opportunity for ToneDen in the space is automation of some of the marketing, reporting and budgeting functions that had been previously done manually by show marketers and talent buyers.
The Mercy Lounge complex in Nashville, for example, is home to three venues — the 500-cap Mercy Lounge, the 1,000-cap Cannery Ballroom and the 225-person High Watt — and hosts a total of 700 shows per year, says Wes Davenport, marketing director for the three venues. He says he uses the reports from the service to show touring acts how their events were advertised — “I can show the results from the ads in the ad pack and which ads were optimized as high as possible in the market.”
ToneDen helps venue marketers track conversion rates and see how much of what they spend on marketing is paid back to them in gross ticket sales.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for the industry if people just knew a little bit more about what those best practices were,” Shakeri says, explaining that ToneDen offers Facebook advertising automation and Facebook Messenger platforms and helps marketers “view Facebook as ticket seller, not just a black hole that sucks up your show’s marketing budget.”
“I think what we’re also focused on doing is making it easier for the marketer or talent buyer to make everyone around them happier too,” Shakeri says. “It’s not just about optimizing the ads, it’s also making sure whenever the agent is verbally abusing that talent buyer for how marketing is doing, the talent buyers are able to come back and say ‘hey guys, not only are we spending what we promised, but the ads are actually doing good. So like, chill out because everything’s gonna work out.'”
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