Throughout a musical artist's career, touring and live concerts are both a major revenue generator, as well as a viral marketing tactic to engage existing fans and gain new fans while selling music and merchandise along the way. The typical marketing strategy for a tour includes a combination of PR, print, radio and digital marketing. Increasingly, email marketing has proven to be one of the most effective, efficient and highest converting channels to drive concert attendance. The average tour scales at 30 sequential concert dates in different cities and countries worldwide.

Traditionally, the operational challenges around direct marketing concert tours has been so complex that most tours across the industry are marketed with one-time batch and blast messages that display a plain text list of all tour dates. In addition, data shows that almost 50% of all tickets worldwide go unsold with the most common reason being, "I didn't know." Understanding these challenges and staying committed to helping drive the entire lifecycle of fan engagement, Warner Music Group's CRM team started exploring a robust, scalable and cost-efficient system to manage concert tour marketing.

Warner Music Group's Consumer Sales & Marketing team oversees centralized web, commerce, analytics, and marketing platforms while managing thousands of email campaigns for hundreds of artists per year across multiple territories, languages, and stakeholders on Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The operational challenges of such scale are compounded by the fact that many messages require dedicated client approval and feedback in advance of launch.

The main challenges that Warner Music Group identified were:

  • Content Relevance - Creating a different message for each tour date and managing stakeholder approvals is massively time-consuming
  • Timing Relevance - Managing the time of message arrival is challenging as the best results happen when fans get notified within a week of the event happening near them
  • Geographic Relevance - Segmenting and targeting subscribers geographically can be complicated as market sizes differ, available geo-databases can require normalization and enhancements, and the distances fans are willing to travel to see their favorite artists vary
  • Always Current Content - The web happens in real-time, and increasingly, fans expect ancillary content like Instagram feeds, eCommerce sales, and YouTube videos

Warner Music Group was able to tackle these challenges by integrating two powerful partners-Salesforce Marketing Cloud and StoryPorts. Combining the power of Marketing Cloud's Customer Journey automation and fan-base targeting with StoryPorts' content radar listening engine, Warner Music Group is now able to deliver geographically relevant, time-aware, 1:1 artist branded concert notifications for hundreds of artists across full national tours with minimum setup or management. In addition, StoryPorts approval workflow has proven to be invaluable in letting stakeholders accept or reject emails with two clicks before they are sent publicly.

StoryPorts is a content listening and syndication platform and an original Marketing Cloud HubExchange partner. By helping organizations easily connect to any content on the web and automatically triggering contextual messaging and Customer Journeys into Marketing Cloud, StoryPorts helps organizations save 95% of the time to create brilliant 1:1 campaigns while increasing engagement and delivering highly relevant, beautifully designed messages.

According to Itay Rahat, Director, CRM Product Solutions at Warner Music Group, "StoryPorts innovative product and dedicated team helped us deliver a powerful, scalable, Personalized Tour Alerts Email Program, utilizing the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform, which enables our artists to connect with their fans across the country digitally, and subsequently, through irreplaceable live experiences. This program has done wonders in supporting our efforts to increase engagement, practice relevant audience targeting and maximize operational efficiency so that we can focus on super-serving our broad roster of artists and their fans."

How it Works:

  • Every message is custom-branded with unique Concert data provided by the Bands in Town API. Clear calls to action to buy tickets, share to social, or RSVP. Real-time, always current content from Facebook, Instagram, Wordpress, or eCommerce

  • Tour dates and ticketing links are powered by BandsInTown artist API
  • Flexibility in design to include branded colors, fonts, logos, images, and styles unique to every artist
  • Set it and forget it. Program is configured once in advance to run across a full US tour
  • Each email only targets fans in the upcoming show's geo-market and includes respective show's details (Broader targeting than City but narrower than State and crosses state borders where appropriate)
  • Emails can include real-time social posts, native artist store smart blocks, or an artist Spotify playlist to listen to before the show
  • Stakeholders can get a preview by email when an alert is ready to send. With two clicks from any device, they can approve or reject the message

  • Emails are built and sent automatically, 10 days in advance of each show date (advance time period flexible)
  • Automated engagement reporting across all emails sent for a tour
  • Advanced progressive profiling campaigns help increase geo-data, in order to be able to maximize audience reach for the program

Award-Winning Results:

  • Fans are up to 200% more likely to open an email. Fans are up to 300% more likely to click through to ticket purchase destination

  • There are hundreds of hours are saved monthly across the organization in creating and approving emails
  • There is increased traffic to social and eCommerce channels using real-time smart blocks in emails
  • There is capability of scaling costs and management resources across hundreds of artist tours
  • Warner Music Group has won 2 awards for this program. An Internet Marketing Impact16 Award for Email Marketing Strategic Campaign and a Summit Media Award for Marketing Effectiveness

The StoryPorts technology stack emboldened Warner Music Group to expand and grow concert-driven, geo-targeted tour alerts. Removing the time necessary to create, segment and market by automating the entire process, StoryPorts empowered Warner Music Group to become the industry leader in direct-to-fan email marketing. Plus, they won some awards in the process, which is nice.

View and Download Case Study

About the Author

David DeVore is the Founder and CEO of StoryPorts where he obsesses over helping email marketers become more productive, save time and increase engagement. In his previous life, David was the Co-Founder and CEO of FanMail Marketing, ExactTarget's original Platinum Partner. David has consulted with some of the world's largest media and entertainment companies including Viacom, Universal Music Group, Major League Soccer and AEG, on how to get the most out of their email campaigns.