10 Ticket Marketing Principles

I’m glad to see that a lot of the folks in tickets have started to learn about the power of marketing during the pandemic.

Welcome aboard.

As an OG in the game of marketing tickets, a lot of the information that is being shared is likely wrong.


An untrained group of non-marketers listening to a group of “marketers” that are also not trained doesn’t end well.

But I’m here to serve…so let me give you 10 guiding principles to better market and sell your tickets after the pandemic.

Strategy Before Tactics:

At the end of the year, I did some research.

I’ve been talking about research a lot lately in fact because I know that DATA is overwhelming folks and a lot of times people are afraid to admit it.

What I found out was that around 40% of people said that they don’t really have a strategy. And, I’m guessing that number is low because most of what people call strategy isn’t actually strategy.

But remember, put strategy before tactics. If you don’t, you spend a lot of time chasing the newest shiny object with no idea whether or not you should be chasing that new shiny object.

The Holy Trinity of Marketing is STP:

Not Stone Temple Pilots, but segmentation, targeting, and positioning.

The way I learned them, think of a railroad line. You can go forward and you can go back. Get each one right before moving on to the next one and if you find yourself stuck on one, back it up and check the previous step.

This is the heart of your strategy and requires you to be Market Oriented, do research, and be willing to slow down to go fast.

Segmentation must be done by behavior:

I wish this stupid talk about Millennials or Gen Z would die because the same half-assed arguments have been being used since the Baby Boomers.

If you are going to segment your market, you do it by behavior. Not some stupid thing like birthdate.

Actions speak louder than words.

If you’ve done proper marketing work, you probably can’t target the whole market:

I’ll allow Byron Sharp’s argument that you can attempt to target the whole market, but most of us don’t have the resources to actually pull off the trick.

Targeting is strategy because it is about choice.

And, if you have done a good job of segmentation based on behavior and not some irrelevant thing like birthday, job role, or other things that may not impact decision making, targeting a big juicy opportunity should be easier.

Positioning isn’t one of the 4Ps, but you do need to do it:

I wrote about this for the ALSD a lot, but I’ll say it again…

When you are positioning you have to make a choice, position your tickets and your spaces about you or against the competition.

You have to be distinct and you have to spell out a clear, compelling case to get people to spend their money with you. Just being the local football team isn’t going to be enough.

In setting your strategy, the 3 Cs are your friend:

What are the 3 Cs:

  • Customer
  • Competition
  • Company

In setting up a strategy, you are going to look at what the customer wants or needs, see what your competition is offering, and market your product or service that will deliver better value to that customer now. Not at some indeterminate time in the future.

If you aren’t using SMART objectives, you are BS-ing:

I know a lot of folks fall back on easy things to measure like dials, engagements, clicks…none of this really matters.

You have to go SMART because you need to show you know where you are focusing your attention and you have to set clear expectations for what you will achieve.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Ambitious
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound

100 calls a day in your boiler room, not going to cut it.

The 4 Ps still matter, don’t listen to the crap:

There are a lot of knuckleheads that don’t know the 4 Ps and are trying to tell you they don’t matter.

Hide your wallet.

The 4 Ps are product, price, place, and promotion.

If you have a good strategy, it flows right into these 4.

I study businesses all the time and I can tell a business that has allowed marketing to become the coloring-in department. There pricing is screwed up and they use discounts. They aren’t using the value ladder to make a better product offering. There’s not a huge amount of thought put into the channels of distribution. And, there promotions are all over the place with no clear targeting and positioning.

Don’t do it!

The 4 Ps are about bringing your strategy to life! Use them!

Pricing is the most important marketing decision you can make:

In tickets, discounting was rampaging before the pandemic.

I hear far too many folks that seem to only want to get back to the way things were before the pandemic.


You were destroying your brand with discounts. You were pricing by sticking your finger in the air and hoping to get valid information. You were making guesses based on what you would see on StubHub.

Stop it!

Pricing requires research.

You’re going to want to know about the pricing thermometer. You are going to want to know about value based pricing. You’ll want to brush up on the Likert Scale. And, you’ll definitely want to figure out the Van Westendorp Pricing Model.

Don’t even get me started on trade off analysis and experimentation.

The key is to do the work of setting the price right at the start!

Pricing is the most important marketing decision you make because that is the point in your job where you capture some of the value that you create for your customers and fans!

It is simple as that.

It is too important to guess at.

And, don’t discount. It is toxic and it will destroy your brand faster than anything else.

Everything you do is your brand!

Your brand is the accumulation of all of the good and bad interactions someone has had with you over the years.

The problem in this equation is that the pluses and minuses don’t add up equally.

In reality, the good stuff takes a long time to add up. On the flip side, the bad stuff can destroy your brand in moments.

Brand is everything. The totality of what you do as an organization. In sports, we have the opportunity to create the best and most meaningful brands in the world, but too often they deteriorate towards the commodity.

Don’t do it!

There are no commodity brands! And, every touchpoint matters.

You know the fastest way to ruin your brand?


Don’t do it!

There are my 10 marketing principles for ticket sellers after the pandemic. Get more by signing up for my FREE Friday newsletter on the ticket game, Talking Tickets!

Comments 1

  1. Pingback: Talking Tickets 26 March 2021: The Royal Opera House! Major League Rugby! Brokers and Corporate Buyers! Women's Sports! And, More! | Wakeman Consulting Group

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