It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your festival’s tickets will fly off the shelves simply because we’ve been in a live entertainment drought for two years. Marketing is still an essential part of making a music festival as successful as possible.
Look at South by Southwest (SXSW). SXSW is a behemoth in the festival world, and their popularity has grown to the point where they now host an annual conference to discuss breakthroughs in tech, film, culture, and music. The 2022 SXSW Conference takes place from March 11-20 in Austin, Texas, and the company is still pulling out all the stops for advertising the event. The dedication of SXSW’s team should inspire you to re-examine your music festival marketing campaigns.
Crafting a successful music festival marketing campaign looks a bit different now than it did a few years ago. Since consumer demands are constantly evolving, advertising has to evolve as well. With the help of a few new tools in your arsenal and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have no problem packing the floor at your next music festival.
As we dive into marketing tactics, keep in mind that your festival’s lineup may significantly influence your marketing choices. For example, you’ll need to know what is most likely to work for your target demographic.
The more specific you can be about the type of people your festival is for, the more successful your music festival marketing campaigns will be. And the more intentional your campaigns become, the more critical it is for you to maintain a superior level of organization to keep all of your ducks in a row. But don’t worry, we’ll get to that.
5 Things to Try in Your Upcoming Music Festival Marketing Campaigns
We’ve gathered these music festival marketing tactics to be a constant resource as you navigate your advertising campaigns. We can’t reiterate enough that every festival is different, so not all of these may be the right option for you for a specific campaign. But it can’t hurt to have this article tucked in your bookmarks for future reference.
1. Make Your Festival Feel Exclusive
If you’ve ever heard of “FOMO” (translation: fear of missing out), then you already know what we’re getting at. One of the easiest ways to make more people want to attend your festival is to focus on how there are a limited number of opportunities. If fans are afraid that they’ll miss out on the event of a lifetime, they’ll jump at the chance to score a ticket.
You can advertise that there are only XX tickets left for a specific day, a total of XX VIP experience packages available, or that insider members have first dibs on exclusive events/prizes/pre-sale tickets. Propelling your music festival marketing campaigns on the idea that only a select few will get to participate will generate the buzz you need to reach your goals.
The Pineapple Agency showcases an excellent example of using exclusivity for music festival marketing campaigns. Marriott allowed Marriott Rewards members to use their points to bid on luxury yurts at Coachella before the event. The members loved the idea of being one of the select few who could escape the heat and crowds in their personal yurt that one member spent 800,000 reward points (which equals about $38,233). Impressive, right?
2. Focus on the Big Picture
The festival experience isn’t limited to the few days that the actual event takes place. Your music festival marketing campaigns should capitalize on the time before and after the event.
Think about it. People who go to festivals with a group of their friends usually make a vacation of it. They’ll likely need a place to stay, restaurants to eat at, things to do when they’re not at the festival, and more.
The more your festival promotes local businesses and partners with nearby hospitality enterprises, the more you can sell the festival as a whole package. People will begin to envision themselves in the area and spring for the flights or road trips. You can even host giveaways for hotel stays, event tickets, gift cards to restaurants, or a swag bundle to hype up the event before it even begins.
And since most people travel to attend festivals, you can create a “travel playlist” featuring the various artists performing at the event. Better yet, if people who are on the fence about going to the festival listen to the playlist, it might be the nudge they need to purchase their tickets.
Keeping the excitement going after the event is a bit tricker, but not impossible. The best way to maintain the hype post-event is to provide multiple opportunities for people to buy or make things that they can take home with them. Then every time they see that item, they’ll think about the incredible experience they had at your festival and want to return again and again. If you need an example of how effective this marketing tactic is, look no further than Disneyland.
3. Take a Stance
One of the most significant shifts in consumer attitude is that more people want to purchase things from brands that they feel share their values. Engage for Good reports that close to two-thirds of Gen Z and millennials have a “preference for brands that have a point of view and stand for something.” Additionally, “76% of young people have said that they have purchased (53%) or would consider purchasing (23%)” a product from a brand that shows support for the social issues they’re passionate about.
What does this mean for your music festival marketing campaigns? You’ll likely have a better chance of reaching your target audience if you connect yourself to a cause.
For example, the ARISE Music Festival in Colorado promises to plant one tree for every ticket sold. You can follow a similar model or run a campaign that pledges to donate a certain portion of ticket sales to a charity that people will want to invest in.
Need a place to start? The United Nations offers five global causes that are relevant right now.
4. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
It’s no secret that social media has become the most prominent channel for digital marketing. Getting the news about your festival out into the world begins and ends with social media. The epicenter of your music festival marketing campaigns should be social media.
Unfortunately, simply posting a still image once a day on an Instagram feed won’t cut it anymore. You need to explore social media trends to make sure the right people see your content. And while you should have a presence on every social media page possible, the pages you prioritize will depend on your target audience.
Sprout Social provides a complete breakdown of the latest social media demographics for 2022. But for a quick guide, the most prevalent age groups for each platform are:
- Facebook: Younger Millennials, 25-34 (31.5%)
- Instagram: Younger Millennials, 25-34 (31.2%) and Elder Gen Z, 18-24 (31%)
- TikTok: Gen Z, 10-19 (25%)
- Twitter: Elder Gen Z and Youngest Millennials, 18-29 (42%)
- Snapchat: Gen Z, 15-25 (48%)
- YouTube: Gen Z and Younger Millennials, 15-35 (making YouTube the channel with the broadest primary age group)
When you know where your audience is hanging out, you can begin tailoring your strategy to the channels where you’re promoting your festival. Some things you can try with your social media marketing campaigns include:
- Hosting giveaways for people who follow your brand account, like the post, tag their friends, and share the post on their stories
- Posting snippets from live performances or full interviews with the artists performing at your festival
- Use promoted ads to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list
- Encourage user-generated content by commenting on or reposting things that your followers tag you in
- Partner with a celebrity or industry influencer to build brand awareness and generate hype for the event
- Use hashtags to attract a broader audience of people who don’t follow your account (yet)
- Feature the vendors who will be at your event and encourage them to share your post with their followers
5. Employ an All-in-One Live Music Management Software
You and your team are only human, and there are only so many hours to plan, organize, strategize, and promote. While you’re busy planning that perfect marketing campaign, you must also prepare and organize the festival itself. Here’s where you need integrated live music management software to help you plan and execute the whole event without missing a beat.
Prism live music management software allows you to keep all of your documents in one place, manage your calendar with ease, track your marketing expenses without pulling out the calculator, and streamline communication and collaboration with your crew–all really important when you’re planning and marketing a large music event.
Prism offers all of these features and so much more. If it’s time to revolutionize your music festival and its marketing, look no further. Get started with Prism today and schedule your demo.