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Selling the Live Event Experience Must Change!

This is from my newsletter: Talking Tickets! Sign-Up Free!

This is what it looks like to walk up to Wembley to see Spurs v. Chelsea! Get there if you can.

Big Ideas:

  • Your market research matters now more than ever. 
  • Gain a grasp on the three elements of your product.
  • Know your customer journey and be deliberate about it.

My piece in this month’s ALSD newsletter centers around the premium experience. This is something we’ve talked about previously since Corey Leff wrote about the bump in premium sales as the general admission sales slump. 

This idea of improving the premium experience has been on my mind a lot lately as well since I’ve spent a lot of time in the premium area over the years. 

In writing this piece, I was guided by the big ideas that your research matters because the shape of your market has changed. That the “product” has to be thought of differently and more comprehensively. And, that the customer journey is a purposeful and deliberate process that you need to focus on. 

Let me add a little flavor to this since I can’t include everything in a column that needs to be 700-800 words on average. 

First, market research. 

Every brand project, marketing project, or strategy project I start begins with some form of the question: “What research do you have?” 

I’m consistent in my expectation that y’all are going to do your research and do it in a way that you are consistently in the market. 

Now more than ever, this matters. 


Because your market has shifted in ways small and large. You can’t just go the business as usual route, you have to know what is driving behaviors and how you can create value in the buying process. 

As an example of changes in the markets I know:

  • DC has lost residents during the pandemic, stopping a decade-long trend of double-digit growth. That’s going to change the market dynamics. 
  • NYC is starting to see residents return to the City, putting an end to the ridiculous notion that people wouldn’t go back to the City. 
  • In London, people have been slow to return to some core areas of the city, making foot track drop near-certain cultural institutes and venues, challenging their recovery efforts. 

Also, like my buddy, Frederic tells me, “Almost every question can be answered by the customer.” 

I like that. 

Second, I think I shared this article on the three phases of the product last week or a few weeks ago, but I’ll share it again to be sure. 

In looking at the way that the premium experience is sold now, you can’t just fall back on the access to the club or the parking spot along with some cushioned seats. 

You have to consider all three parts of the product:

  • The actual product: which is the ticket.
  • The core value: which is how your customer is improved by going to your events. 
  • The augmented product: which is everything surrounding your experience. 

As an example, look at the work Scott Spencer and Suite Experience Group are doing with updating websites of single-game suite sales around the United States. Or, check out the way the Copenhagen Opera House sells the experience with a focus on imagination and the grandeur of the space. Finally, take a gander at this landing page for the Sydney Opera House…if only there was sound. 

In researching the sites, I feel like most places can do a better job of their landing page, their copy, and selling the experience but those are just easily linked to examples. The augmented product includes the experience of parking your car like I did at the Lexus Garage at Capital One Arena, not bad at all. It can include benefits to membership like the annual trip Red Sox buyers in the first row take. Or, way you approach Wembley Stadium when you are going to a soccer match.

The point is that every touchpoint matters and every aspect of the experience counts. 

Finally, this brings us to the customer journey. 

In your research, you should actually be able to recognize and spell out the individualized funnel that your customers take to the sale. 

In thinking through the idea of a premium sales funnel, you likely have more than one with funnels for new sales, individual sales, suite sales, and renewals. 

This means that you have to think through the customer path for each of these “products” and make sure that you end up at the point you need to so that you can achieve your goals. 

The ultimate thing in thinking through a new premium sales process is that you need to rethink what you are doing because the market has changed, the value expected has changed, and your experience needs to keep up.