Monday, June 23, 2014

How not to sell tickets.

Ticketmaster never cared about its image. Or its public relations. It charges usurious add-on fees for concert tickets, and people pay them. Sometimes, Ticketmaster gets hauled into court for its fees, and then vanishes from the news radar.

OnCenter in Syracuse, NY, by Joegrimes at en.wikipedia
 [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Still, you'd think they actually wanted to sell tickets. Yet, judging by Ticketmaster's weekly email blast, they have a grudge against Rochester. Their emails tout concerts in Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, New York City, Verona, and Salamanca. All an hour or more away. 

But, Rochester, where I live? Hardly any shows.

Ticketmaster has my Zip code. They know from my purchase history that I'm more likely to buy tickets for Judy Collins than Usher. A 6th grader could look at these data points and assume: "Dave prefers attending concerts by soft-rock artists in Rochester." 

Yet, they think I'm dying to hike to Syracuse to see Engelbert Humperdinck. Never mind that I last visited a concert venue in Syracuse in the mid-1990s. Ticketmaster's database knows which venues I've frequented, and many more of them are in Rochester than anywhere else. So I can only assume that:

a) Ticketmaster's database has zero customer relationship management capability. They don't know a thing about their customers, despite our purchase history.
b) Ticketmaster gets more promotional dollars to hype out-of-town shows than Rochester concerts. (But really, Engelbert Humperdinck?)
c) Ticketmaster overlooks that any concert more than 45 minutes away requires an additional investment in fuel, parking, meals, etc. that I'm seldom willing to pay. (Again, I ask: Engelbert?)

Ticketmaster is now owned by LiveNation. LiveNation books performers and venues. Ticketmaster sells the tickets to their concerts. Why this isn't symptomatic of a monopoly, I don't know. But that might suggest why Ticketmaster's e-blasts promote artists I'm seldom interested in seeing.

This type of e-marketing might work if Ticketmaster was the only game in town. But it isn't. There's StubHub. Brown Paper Tickets. Wegmans. Craigslist. A dozen ways to buy seats at concerts I'd want to attend. You may not care about your reputation, but as long as you disregard your own customer data, you're just holding the door open for other ticket merchants.

At the very least, please stop selling me Engelbert.