The Must List for Working With On-Demand Audience Channels

"Audience," © 2010 Streamy Awards, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

“Audience,” © 2010 Streamy Awards, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Recently, I talked about the rise of the on-demand economy, and I wanted live entertainment and arts marketers to know that it’s not just cars and lunch you can get on demand. You can get ticket buyers and audience, too.

But it’s important to take this further. Not all On-Demand Audience channels are created equal. Or, to put it differently, you should work with On-Demand Audience channels that are set up for you to succeed.

Here is my ‘Must List’ for working with On-Demand Audience channels:

You, the ticket seller or marketer, must be able to get out easily. Long commitments make no sense. You don’t decide on your Google Ad Words months in advance. You don’t order your Uber months in advance. You must be able to pick and choose when you are selling with an on-demand audience channel and when you’re not. And if situations change, you should have a fair amount of flexibility in stopping or starting sales. If there’s no flexibility or too many early commitments, that’s not right.

• You must have some control levers. Is it easy to add new dates, new tickets, new prices, new sections? If not, that’s old-timey and limited. Can you cut back in real time on a section that’s selling better than you thought on your own system? If not, that’s a high price to pay. If you don’t have some real-time tools for making changes, that could be a real problem.

• You must have an advisor who is working to optimize your sales. On-Demand Audience channels are not fire-and-forget. You can’t just set up a campaign and walk away till the show or event settles. To get the full benefit of the audience that an On-Demand Audience channel brings, you need someone there who knows how that channel works and is always thinking about how to get the most out of it for you. If you don’t have someone like that, good luck!

• You must not be required to give exclusivity. If an On-Demand Audience channel asks you for exclusivity in selling your event, ask them if they are prepared to purchase 100% of the ticket volume you need to sell the show out. If they are not willing to do this, they are asking you to walk away from revenue opportunities (often major ones) without compensating you for it. Those lost sales go directly against your ROI on the exclusive program you’ve been pitched, likely turning that program into a money loser. It doesn’t have to be. Just say no to exclusivity every time. Asking for exclusivity is not a sign of strength from a channel. It’s a sign of weakness.

• You must pay on performance only. Never guarantee or pre-pay for an On-Demand Audience channel. Google changed the game forever with pay-for-performance, on-demand marketing. Don’t accept any less. The great thing about On-Demand Audience channels is that they are no-risk, no-cost ways of tapping into a pre-built audience. If you pay for something other than performance (or pay excessively on performance), you’re not getting one of the best benefits of On-Demand Audience channels. Just insist. Anyone who can’t do it on performance alone is hoping it works out and putting the risk on you.

That’s the Must List! Do this and you’re on your way to maximizing your revenue per seat and growing your audience.

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