The CMO Show:
Kevin Cooper on Moshtix’s audience-first...

Moshtix is Australia’s leading independent ticketing provider, but according to Kevin Cooper, Head of Marketing and Innovation at Moshtix, their success lies in providing more than just tickets.

“Moshtix has always been very service oriented. We’re known for going above and beyond, and that’s why we’ve always been involved in the full event lifecycle, not just the ticketing side of it,” Kevin says.

Kevin notes one of the challenges other ticketing platforms face is not having strong marketing strategies – or any at all for that matter.

“When I look at the ticketing and promotion industry, it’s probably sitting a few years behind the general ecommerce industry, as far as marketing strategies.”

So how can these companies expand their influence? Kevin says knowing your audience and adjusting to suit them is vital. For Moshtix, the customer journey no longer ends once they’ve purchased their ticket, with the platform now offering their expertise to promoters on what exactly music fans want.

“When you look at promoters, they’re very much focused on customer experience of the event. So, yes, they get the word out there but marketing is itself moving so quickly these days, it’s hard for someone to keep up if they’re also focusing on what acts or venues to book… So, it’s up to the platforms and distributors to come in and do some of that heavy lifting for them.”

“One of the advantages that Moshtix has is our clear audience and our brand. And so, what we bring to the partners is the opportunity to reach them with an authentic voice to amplify their reach.”

Over the years, Moshtix has doubled down on its digital differentiation, from creating one of the first Australian digital resale features to using social media channels to assist and engage users. Moshtix has never been afraid to adapt.

Tune in as we discuss how Moshtix became a leading brand in its industry, and how to remain ahead of the curve as the competition catches up. Sadly, this is also Nicole’s last episode as our co-host, so do tune in and bid her a fond farewell.

Resources

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The CMO Show production team

Producer – Charlotte Goodwin

Audio Engineers – Daniel Marr & Tom Henderson

Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: cmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au.

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Transcript

Hosts: Mark Jones and Nicole Manktelow

Guest: Kevin Cooper

Mark Jones: One of the most important elements of a brand storytelling strategy is what I call a belief moment. And a belief moment is a story that engages the hearts and minds of people in a narrative that you’re quite intentional about telling. So, for example, in a movie we are emotionally engaged and we remember the facts. Likewise, in music we listen to a band and we get caught up in the emotions and we also remember the lyrics or the content. And so when it comes to marketing a band or marketing an entertainment event, how can you connect these to ideas of hearts and minds? How can you tell the story of how you will feel, and also include a bit of the messaging as to what you might know? It’s one of the keys to successful brand storytelling.

Mark Jones:  You’re with The CMO Show. My name is Mark Jones.

Nicole Manktelow:  I’m Nicole Manktelow.

Mark Jones: And it is a big day today for us, recording this. It is a farewell episode for my co-host Nicole.

Nicole Manktelow:  Mark is wiping away a tear.

Mark Jones: I am a little bit, actually. It’s been about 18 months or so with us at Filtered Media, and also on this show. More than 30 episodes or so, we haven’t done an exact count.

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah. 30 something is good enough.

Mark Jones: A lot of stories and a lot of marketing conversations under the bridge.

Nicole Manktelow:  A little bit technology. A little bit of nerdism.

Mark Jones: Yeah. So, while you’re moving on to other exciting things, Nicole just before we kind of get into today’s conversation, what have you loved about the CMO show?

Nicole Manktelow:  Oh, I think anyone who’s gonna give me a chance to sit around and yak in a microphone, and tell some bad jokes, that’s a good opportunity for me. But I mean, the people we’ve had on have been pretty good. I’ve had some pretty funny conversations. And I think that opportunity to have other people ping you, I often get pings on LinkedIn and other places, where people say, oh I’d like to be on the show, or have you thought about this? And that’s been really fantastic.

Mark Jones: Yes hearing from our listeners.

Nicole Manktelow:  It’s lovely. Yeah.

Mark Jones: Yeah. And look I’ve enjoyed it, our bad joke telling, for one.

Nicole Manktelow:  Well, some of them have been yours.

Mark Jones: Well, I just like the fact that you were polite enough to laugh. So that works for me fine. So there it is please do send in your well wishes to Nicole and we’ll make sure we pass them along. And-

Nicole Manktelow:  And Mark is going to keep up the good fight.

Mark Jones: I’m gonna soldier on, and the show will continue … the show must go on.

Nicole Manktelow:  It must.

Mark Jones: Yeah and speaking of which, today’s episode, we’re going to cover a bit of rock and roll.

Nicole Manktelow:  Oh so good.

Mark Jones: Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  So happy about this.

Mark Jones: Yeah, in fact we had a vision, a bit of a mission if you like, to bring in a bit of rock and roll to the show.

Nicole Manktelow:  If only I was wearing the pleather rock and roll pants today [crosstalk 00:02:16] that would have been icing on the cake.

Mark Jones: Uh, huh. We can pretend because they can’t see.

Mark Jones:  Okay, so we’re speaking with Kevin Cooper who is the head of marketing and innovation at Moshtix.

Nicole Manktelow:  I remember when Moshtix was new.

Mark Jones: Right.

Nicole Manktelow:  And it was cool.

Mark Jones: Yeah.

Mark Jones:  And I think the question for marketers is, what can you learn from an entertainment and ticketing company from a marketing perspective? Because if you think about the promotion aspect of events, putting on an event, attracting … you want to tap into the events, of course, and also building up your own loyal world following.

Nicole Manktelow: Well, you gotta do something else besides selling tickets. The tickets are really important, obviously, but you don’t want it to become so commoditized, that’s all you do. So how do you expand and grow and get that story that you started with and let it mature.

Nicole Manktelow:  When you been in business for a long time, how do you still rock that Independent spirit? We get caught up in the stories, these bands and these acts. And it becomes part of the whole story that you’ve gotta tell to your customers to your audience right?

Nicole Manktelow: Yeah.

Mark Jones: How do you make sure that’s a consistent piece? So why don’t we jump straight over to Kevin Cooper and hear what he’s got to say. So, we’re digressing wonderfully here because its all about stories, music and entertainment is all about stories and how it gets us fired up. But we’re gonna go to Kevin, but just as a reminder before we do that, our producer Charlotte has some really interesting interviews, in the middle of our show, talking to some of Filtered Media’s staff about their first concert experiences, so make sure you stick around for that segment, in the middle of the show. Let’s go to Kevin.

Mark Jones:  Our special guest today is Kevin Cooper. He’s the head of Marketing and Innovation at Moshtix, thanks for joining us.

Kevin Cooper:  No worries. Thank you for inviting me.

Nicole Manktelow:  Thank you, Kevin, for bringing a bit of rock and roll to the CMO Show today.

Mark Jones: Seriously, it’s time we got a bit of rock and roll on this show. You’ll no doubt gonna bring it in spades. Let’s firstly, Moshtix, does it do what it says on the tin?

Kevin Cooper:  Moshtix, it’s a fantastic business, and a fantastic brand to be associated with. Really exciting, so I come across from a large, corporate, in the hospitality world, into a small business as Mosh. But, it’s got this aura around it, so its clients love it and rave about it. But, then also, when you talk to customers, lot or people have bought their first ever event ticket at Moshtix, and that’s this little moment in time that our brand’s been connected to. So, they talk about it with such reverence. And, the really exciting thing is now I’m still talking to people and they’ve bought their kids’ first event ticket, as well.

Kevin Cooper:  So, being around 15 years, we’ve got a bunch of history, and it’s really exciting to be part of shaping that moving forward.

Mark Jones:  Yeah, I ask that with a smile on my face, because the name just sounds like it does what it says, right? That it’s a really active brand. That’s a very alive brand, as opposed to, if you like, a staid, more stable transaction based platform. maybe tell us a little bit about what Moshtix is.

Kevin Cooper:  So, Moshtix was launched 15 years ago. And, it was one of the original disruptors of the ticketing industry. At the time, Ticketmaster and Ticketek basically controlled the whole lot. And, Moshtix came in and disrupted it based on a move to online ticketing, so PDF based tickets, sort of the first ones to kind of launch that into the Australian Market, as well as price. Because, of the dominance that Ticketmaster and Ticketek had, the price per ticket was outrageous. So, Moshtix really came in and positioned itself as a friend of the fan. I think the tagline at the time was, “More Mosh, less Dosh.”

Mark Jones:  Nice.

Kevin Cooper:  And, they lived up to that.

Mark Jones:  I remember that, actually.

Nicole Manktelow:  It was more of a signal, as well as to the kind of event that you could access to?

Kevin Cooper:  It was, so-

Nicole Manktelow:  So, a bit more independent spirit.

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, so, one of our brand values, and our guiding light is to make life easy, and it was really that challenger mentality to get in there and lean and green and go after it. And, over the years now, Moshtix is 15-years-old now, so it’s probably stretched outside of those initial very live music-based based roles. So, we work with ticketing the ATC, for example. Supernova, and other conferences, and stuff like that now.

Kevin Cooper:  So, it’s very much become a much more rounded business.

Mark Jones:  And, to that point, obviously, you guys are the classic clip the ticket business right. But, there’s a bit more to it.

Kevin Cooper:  Ticketing, especially more so recently, as the newer entrance of … come into the Market, the actual ticket model is becoming commoditized. So, the price per ticket that the platforms are able to drive is becoming less and less. And so, Moshtix is very much focused on becoming more than just a ticketing platform. So, we’re a partner with all their clients, and promoters. We’re involved in event strategy through to event day operations. The whole gamut. So, working with promoters about when they go on sale, pre-sale, strategies, brand partnerships, communication and Marketing, event day operations, post-event reporting strategies. And, how you can pay year-on-year results, and all that sort of stuff, as well.

Kevin Cooper:  So, it’s really quite an exciting little area to play in.

Nicole Manktelow:  Are those clients perhaps a little bit more new to these kind of events? That they need your help? Or, are they just looking to really change the menu items they offer?

Kevin Cooper:  There’s a really good mix. So, we work with a lot of up-and-coming festivals and venues and things like that. But, also, we work with the most established, biggest festivals out there.

Nicole Manktelow:  Pick your favourite, go on.

Kevin Cooper:  Splendour in the Grass has always been one of the big ones. We’ve got a lot of little venues that we put … we work with as well, Oxford Arts Factory, here in Sydney is pretty iconic, as is 170 Russell  also, down in Melbourne.

Mark Jones:  It’s interesting to consider the idea that promoters need help with Marketing. Isn’t that their job? So, what’s changed, if you like, in the industry or structurally that means that there’s an opportunity for that broader collaboration.

Kevin Cooper:  When you look at promoters, generally, they’re very much focused on customer experience of the event. So, yes, they get the word out there about their events on, and that Marketing side. But, Marketing is itself moving so quickly these days, it’s hard for someone to keep up if they’re also then focusing on, what are the acts that I need to be booking? What are the venues I need to be working with? You know, how are we gonna get people into the venue and around? And, the corporate social responsibility stuff that they’ve gotta play with these days. And, it’s becoming a very tricky area.

Kevin Cooper:  When I look at the Marketplace around ticketing, so, even though I’ve worked with event promotion for about 15 years now, through a few roles. When I look at the ticketing and promotion industry, it’s probably sitting a few years behind the general ecommerce industry, as far as Marketing strategies. And, probably more so, it’s closer related to the accommodation industry, as far as, there’s a lot of smaller operators that don’t have huge, internal marketing resources or skill sets.

Kevin Cooper:  So, it’s up to the platforms and distributors to come in and kind of do some of that heavy lifting for them. You’ve seen that in the accommodation industry with booking.com, and those bigger brands coming in and playing that place. And, I think you’re seeing a little bit of that in the ticketing industry now with Eventbrite.

Nicole Manktelow:  Now, that’s really interesting, I wonder what you see is now the role or the challenge for Moshtix. It’s not the independent upstart any more. In that case, you’re actually showing others that you can tell them how it’s done. How do you tell that side of your story now?

Kevin Cooper:  Moshtix has always been very service oriented. And, we’re known for going above and beyond with the service level, and that’s why we’ve always been involved in the full event lifecycle, not just the ticketing side of it.

Kevin Cooper:  So, it’s been a lot of personal one on one and direct recommendations and stuff like that. So, the business has grown very organically over the years. But, this is where, with my new role in coming onboard with the business, we’re starting to focus on trying to promote that a bit further forward. We’ve more recently ramped up our PR side of the business. We’ve had a bunch of really interesting announcements. And, Moshtix is a humble brand, at its core.

Kevin Cooper: So, in the past we haven’t really been one to beat our chest and talk about the wins and successes that we’ve been having, but that’s probably ended up damaging our prospects in the end. So, we’re taking a little bit more pride in what we’re actually achieving, and getting out there and rattling the can a bit.

Mark Jones: Getting more pride, people about telling your story.

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, most definitely. And, it’s a fantastic story to tell, as well.

Mark Jones:  The interesting thing, and you’re talking about this as your role, and the innovation aspect. So, how can you innovate in ways that achieve those growth outcomes? What are the, if you like, tools that you’re leaning on?

Kevin Cooper:  My background is a Marketing technologist. So, very much a data-driven approach to this. When you’re a Marketplace such as Moshtix, we have a lot of challenges that traditional ecommerce players don’t have. Our margins are extremely slim, and we have no control over the pricing or availability of products, as well. So, as far as being able to Market that, we really have to have lean and green strategies. But, the thing is, if you can’t get those in place, there are really attractive strategies that we can open out to our clients and promoters, for them to battle to leverage.

Kevin Cooper:  So, all of a sudden, I’ve got campaigns where we’re running 50 to 60 return on ad spend, which is just kind of breaking even for us. But, that’s a tremendous result for a promoter to they’ll get onboard then, throw some budget behind it.

Mark Jones:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). Which, leads me to ask my next question. From a Marketing strategy point of view, what works and what doesn’t? So, if you could maybe take us through just say I’m a … Let’s just pretend I’m the promoter for U2, because, you know, imagine that. And, I’m coming to you and I say, “Take me from beginning to end, how would you make my event sing?” And, maybe position that, compared to your competitors. What would be the approach that makes you unique in that way?

Kevin Cooper:  So, that’s very quickly changing at this point, as well. So, one of the advantages that Moshtix has is our clear audience and our brand. And so, what we bring to the partners is trying to use that authentic voice to help amplify your reach, as well as plugging you into the data in the core behind our system.

Kevin Cooper:  So, one of the things that really offset my goal on is to have Moshtix be the leader, as far as Marketing enablement. And, that’s through deep integration, to pixels and analytics, as well as re-launching our open API to enable further integrations.

Mark Jones:  So, in other words, you can really drive the digital side of things. Because, I’m thinking, how is Marketing changing in your industry? Are seeing that there’s a particular angle that you bring to social, for example? Is it still word of mouth? What’s the, you know, those disciplines, what’s changing?

Kevin Cooper:  A few years ago, the entertainment Marketing and the ticketing Marketing area was very much driven by transactional data and email databases. And, that’s still a large part of it. And, a lot of people probably over index in it. Social media’s become a massive, massive buyer in this space, as well. But, it’s still very much a blast style approach.

Kevin Cooper:  I think, as we’re moving forward, it’s becoming a much more content driven and lifestyle driven approach that we need to have. So, there’s been a big focus on creative agencies, and people in there trying to tell the stories of these festivals and brands, as well.

Kevin Cooper:  And, that’s seeing some really great results.

Nicole Manktelow:  And, what are you doing to get those stories closer to the point of, “Yes, I’d like to buy a ticket.” I know that if I’m engaging in a story or a news item about somebody that I want to see, and then I think, yeah, I actually do want to go and I take that next step. I may be two or three clicks away. I may be on a different site at the point I want to purchase. So, that’s not exactly seamless. What are you doing to bring … because, I think you will be, considering you’re a Marketing technologist, and you’ve got this idea, you know, you understand the data and what’s available out there. How are you bringing those two moments together?

Kevin Cooper:  Entertainment ticketing and live event ticketing generally, you have several interactions before the point of purchase. Because, there’s not too many people that buy tickets without going and talking to their friends, or their family and working out who wants to come along, and all that kind of stuff. Because, events in the end are a social experience.

Kevin Cooper:  So, it’s very important to be able to re-Market across channel, and also then, the attribution across channel and bring it back in. Where we’re seeing biggest success, is where you’re customising the content for where people are in that journey. So, you very much got awareness post at the start, where you talk about line up or the overall event details. And then, once someone’s absorbed that sort of information, and that’s not the same information that you need to pass to them further down the funnel.

Kevin Cooper:  It’s about just trying to drive them across that last bit of the purchase stage.

Nicole Manktelow:  I’m thinking of Supernova. But, I was thinking about the costumes that people wear, and how it’s all that free content that’s out there, people sharing what they got up to, and the amazing other customers that they’ve seen in the queue to get the signature of their favourite star. That’s there waiting to be used. How do you get them for the next time?

Kevin Cooper:  Yup. So, Supernova’s a fantastic example, and they’re one of our key clients. There’s a great opportunity there with the content play. From the Moshtix marketing side of things, it’s extremely hard for us, because we don’t own that content, or have limited access to it. And, brands such as Supernova have got quite a tight idea on how they want their brand represented. So, the ability for Moshtix to operate outside of their direct control, it limits us quite a lot.

Nicole Manktelow:  Do you white label for them?

Kevin Cooper:  We do, as far as the purchase process, and we work really closely with their own agencies to make sure that they’re enabled to be able drive those extra funnel processes, and stuff like that.

Mark Jones:  So, what’s the content strategy for you, then?

Kevin Cooper:  Moshtix where it differs from a lot of the newer entries to the Market has got a destination site. So, people come to the Moshtix site to discover events, in the end. We’ve got event based news on our site, but really, the big focus moving forward is around personalization and making sure that the recommendations and everything are as relevant as possible so that that journey is frictionless as possible.

Kevin Cooper:  We’ve got quite a large brand partnerships, part of our business, we are sort of pseudo publisher, as well as a ticketing company. So, that’s something that you don’t necessarily see across some of the other ticketing sites. But, I think that’s based around the fact that we’re quite a attractive destination, quite a loved brand, as well.

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah, some of the others are a bit vanilla. So, they have a broad spectrum of events. I guess they can’t go too far down having any particular personality, unless they mix that up. I don’t know, I kind of feel that you guys have that leeway. That you go, “Oh, wait, Moshtix, we can talk about what we want.”

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, exactly. And, I don’t think I’ve ever been in an office where the puns are probably the general gist of the day. We probably spend more time talking about ticketing-based puns than any other office in the world, I’d say.

Mark Jones:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which, speaks to your culture, I think. So, there’s a, look it’s a cliché, but the whole sort of human thing, right? So, trying to be authentic, and all those sorts of things. Clearly, you see that as one of our differentiators that you’ve got to double down on. You’ve gotta make sure that that’s consistent through all of your communications and all of your strategies, right?

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, so just overall, the culture and brand value is an extremely important point, both for myself and for the other leaders in Moshtix. And, it’s one of the things we’re really focusing on bringing forth. We’ve got a brand refresh that’s just about to hit the market, which is really quite exciting. And, that just plays back into the whole being of what Moshtix stands for, which is to be a friend to the fan, and to “Make Live Easy” for everyone.

Charlotte Goodwin: Hi guys, it’s your producer Charlotte here.

Charlotte Goodwin:  Ticket marketplaces, like Moshtix, are all about providing great customer experiences, and great customer experiences produce great stories. I think we each have a first, or best concert experience up our sleeves that we can tell. Reliving the sights and sounds of that time in our mind as we tell it. My dad took me to see my first real live rock concert experience, The Living End, at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, when I was a teen. Seeing my favourite band, live in concert for the first time was a formative experience that I’ll never forget. But what makes it even more special, is that now, as an adult, every time The Living End go on tour, my dad and I go and see them together.

Charlotte Goodwin:  It’s a concert experience that’s become a tradition for us, and it means a lot to me.

Charlotte Goodwin:  Now let’s hear from some others on the Filtered Media team, about their concert experiences. Our Business Development Manager, Anne-Maree Brown; Content Manager, Rian Newman; and PR and Social Assistant Stacie Hickey.

Anne-Maree Brown:  2018 was quite an amazing experience for me as a mum. I’ve got two daughters, an eight year old and an 11 year old. And being an avid live music lover myself it was the first chance I got to take them to their first, not only their first concerts, but large stadium events. The weekend just gone I took my eight year old to see Taylor Swift. She’s been a massive fan for many years. And she kept saying to me, “Mum what was your first concert?” And I said, “Oh, I think it was maybe 30 people in a local RSL club.” She said, “How many people will be at my concert?” And I said, “About 30,000.” Her little face,she couldn’t even imagine that many people. We sat down. The lights started to glow, she had the wristband on. The music started, it’s an unforgettable moment for a parent. I just got goosebumps. She sang her little heart out, she danced like there was no tomorrow. It was, yeah, experience for her was everything.

Rian Newman:  My first concert experience was when I was eight years old, my parents took me to see Billy Joel. Which is a little big daggy, I know. Or maybe not, maybe you like Billy Joel. But the first thing I remember is the sound, and just how loud it was, and the strobe lights and it was all very intense. Blew my little eight year old mind.

Rian Newman:  I think the best thing about attending a Billy Joel concert at eight years old, is that it prepared me nice and early for the many rowdy sing-alongs, to Piano Man, that were to come.

Stacie Hickey:  My first ever concert experience would probably be my favourite one. It was to Fall Out Boy when I was about, 16 years old. And my mum had bought me a ticket, but refused to go in with me. I went in by myself, experienced the whole concert, and my mum sat outside and waited for me the whole time. Which was pretty fun to come out, and then kinda share that experience with her, kind of? But it was fun.

Charlotte Goodwin:  Cool. And there you have it. Everyone has a great story to tell. now back to Mark and Nicole, chatting to Kevin.

Mark Jones: Hey, I’ve got to say, what about the social aspect? You talk about how it’s a social event that you’re selling ostensibly, or a social experience, was I think the word you used.

Kevin Cooper:  Yes.

Mark Jones:  You’d be aware that there’s a lot of conversations out there about event safety.

Kevin Cooper:  Yes.

Mark Jones:  And, all sorts of related issues, okay? So, how do we hold events that people are safe, that people are respected, and that the environments that are created in these spaces are ostensibly good for the community? Is that a conversation you feel like you can speak into? That you could show leadership around? How do you think about those contextual, you feel like, conversations that shape the experience and the future growth of your industry?

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, the live event industry is being impacted by a lot of those conversations both by situations such as the recent drug deaths at festivals, and laws that are coming into place to protect people from that. But, also, good conversations such as diversity of acts in festivals and lineups and stuff like that.

Kevin Cooper:  So, one of the things I’m really proud of is Moshtix plays a large part in a little of the local music foundations. So, Music Victoria, South Australian Music and West Australian Music, and by supporting those industry bodies, we get involved in a lot of those conversations. And, I think overall, it’s making the industry a much better part of society. I think if you looked a few years ago before a lot of the large festivals started dying off, there was a lot of operators out there that were just out for maximum profit. And, not actually giving too much back to society in general.

Kevin Cooper:  But, especially with the festivals scene growing leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, there’s been a really enhanced focus on environment and those social consequences, as well.

Mark Jones:  Yeah, yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  What do you think’s driving that love of festivals at the moment?

Kevin Cooper: I think that authenticity of those festivals is touching a part again, definitely. I think the over commercialization of festivals in the past is what really burnt people out. We do have to be careful not to over saturate the Market. Running a festival is extremely risky and expensive proposition for the promoters, especially in Australia, trying to bring out international acts. It’s a very, very large upfront costs. And, there’s a lot of other risks just around having a successful event on the day.

Kevin Cooper:  So, I think there are some very good operators out there doing some really great stuff. But, there’s also some operators out there that I think are trying to cash in while they can. One of the things that I was told when I first joined Moshtix was that we’d rather work with a good operator, and let one of the other ticketing companies work with the bad ones.

Mark Jones:  Yeah, I can see a good long-term strategy there. It’s interesting because, I think as a culture we’ve really, in different seasons been fascinated by live events. I’m gonna show my age here, but going back through the ’80s and the punk rock scene, and into the ’90s and then this sort of dying off and there’s been these question about live venues, and about the future of live venues. And, what’s happening to that industry. I wonder these days how much of it’s being driven by the fact that bands just have to tour. Because, they weren’t making much money in any other way. We’re really back to that core thing. “I don’t tour to sell records, I have to tour to make money,” that’s the business.

Mark Jones:  So, I wonder how in that context, working with these bands and the events and festivals, and so on, it actually takes a whole different spin, doesn’t it? Because, you’re talking about a whole industry, and livelihoods and how do we promote? Sustained growth? Because, of the digital disruption elsewhere, that’s really where the action is.

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, so, my previous role I spent 13 years working in the venue side of entertainment and hospitality. So, we very much saw kind of the regrowth of bands touring into the suburban venues and that kind of local scene. And, it’s been really exciting, like you said, now that’s a large portion, if not the majority of the revenue that the bands, a lot of bands are driving these days. And, there’s a hell of a lot of successful bands that are touring almost non-stop around Australia and internationally.

Kevin Cooper:  One of the really interesting things with that is probably 10 years ago, the bands would turn up, and they would expect you to promote the whole thing and have an audience waiting for them. These days, with social media and kind of the lowering of those barriers of the general punter and the band they’re a follower of, the bands are able to mobilise and bring their own audience with them.

Kevin Cooper:  And so, that’s made the point of booking these bands a much less riskier proposals for venues. So, it’s helped everyone be a lot more successful.

Mark Jones:  Yeah, right. Yeah, you’re right. It does take a risk.

Nicole Manktelow:  Have you been able to tie the platform, whether it’s your content platform or part of the transactional platform, have you been able to tie that closer to the social media access to get people showing interest that you can bank on?

Kevin Cooper:  Yup. So, there’s a bunch of things in play there. Facebook’s obviously doing quite a large ecommerce play, at the moment, across their Facebook and Instagram platforms and messenger. At the moment, it’s still relatively locked out for a lot of the ticketing companies through a couple of exclusive arrangements that they did. And, I’m still relatively lukewarm with how successful the ecommerce stuff into Facebook’s going to be.

Kevin Cooper:  But, messenger seems to be going quite well, as far as both driving awareness, and ticket sales. One of the products that we recently launched was Ticketingbot on messenger, so people can do event discovery. And, customer service, as well as getting your tickets via messenger, which makes it easier to share your tickets with your friends and you partners, and stuff like that, as well.

Kevin Cooper:  It’s just evolutionary, so the next steps around that is just better messaging and more access back to the artists and having them run the messenger channel for the day and things like that. So, there’s a lot of really exciting things in the pipeline there.

Mark Jones:  Are you concerned that Facebook might take the whole transaction piece?

Kevin Cooper:  They’re trying that. The thing there that I think protects us a little bit is that ticketing transactions aren’t as simple as the basic ecommerce transactions. So, there’s a lot of work around up-sales and add-ons-

Nicole Manktelow:  Choosing your seats.

Kevin Cooper:  Choosing your seat, additional attendee data, all that kind of stuff. Whereas, the integrated ecommerce features out of Facebook are extremely limited. So, even where we see some of our competitors that have that integration with Facebook as part of their launch partner plan, there’s a lot of promoters that are using their platform that actually don’t use that functionality, simply because of the restrictions that are in place.

Mark Jones:  And, I wonder about the whole resale and scalping side of things, right? The security aspect-

Kevin Cooper:  Oh, yes.

Mark Jones:  Like, that’s gotta be a big ticket thing for you.

Kevin Cooper:  It’s a big ticket thing for the entire industry. So-

Mark Jones:  Excuse the pun by the way.

Kevin Cooper:  What Moshtix did, which is real interesting, and this is probably goes back to the fact that we weren’t really beating our chest around things, was a few years ago, we were one of the first to Market with a official resale facility. And, which has been used to great success with a few of our larger festivals such as Splendour in the Grass, especially. So, what that allows is, if you bought a ticket and you no longer want it, you can come back to Moshtix and re-release it for sale.

Kevin Cooper:  And, that radically cuts back all the scalping and the extremely high prices and stuff like that.

Nicole Manktelow:  Some of that’s been terrible, like the push back on other providers in the Market who attempted this-

Kevin Cooper:  Yes.

Nicole Manktelow:  Has been pretty negative.

Kevin Cooper:  I think we’re only really starting in that space. You’ve got companies like Viagogo that as soon as we large festival on sale, you’ll see them buying up every single Google Ad result as possible, selling tickets at a hugely inflated price, even while official tickets are still available at normal pricings. So, it’s really damaging that customer experience, it’s a terrible thing when a customers rocks up to one of your events that, even though it’s not the event that I’m hosting, but we’re selling tickets for, and they think they’ve got a legitimate ticket, they’ve spent thousands of dollars on, and then they get turned away at the door.

Kevin Cooper:  It’s a horrible situation for everyone to be involved in, and I really think companies such as Google that are profiteering off of this, as well, really need to step in and try and restrict the access there.

Mark Jones:  ‘Cause, it’s hard if you … is it an education thing, as well? ‘Cause, I know that a lot of bands talk about this. They’ll educate their fans about, “Make sure you buy legitimate tickets.” Also, beware of scalpers. I’ve seen quite a bit of messaging around that. So, is it a broad education piece? But, at your level, really, I think there’s also gotta be some sort of technology solution just to kinda control it.

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, so, definitely that broad education piece is in play, and we continually bang on about it in association with a lot of our promoter clients. The technology solution is available where you can make the tickets link down to a specific name. So, Splendour in the Grass use that to combat scalping, as well, so your name on the ticket has to match your ID to be able to get in. When you use that in combination with the resale facility, it works quite well.

Kevin Cooper:  But, unfortunately, that does add a bit of friction to the entry level, for the entry process, at an event. Not too many events want to go down that path. So, it’s very much looking at what’s the next thing around entry control whether it’s NFC based technologies, facial scanning technologies is another thing that’s coming in. But, that starts going to the bidders, is that a bit spooky? Are people gonna be happy with that?

Nicole Manktelow:  Plus, some of the events are sold so far out, that people buy the tickets not knowing for sure if they’re going to be available. And then, their cousins decided to get married on that day, and well, okay, I’ve gotta sell my ticket. They should legitimately be able to do that.

Kevin Cooper:  Yes, they should. So, it’s very much a moving Marketplace, as far as that. There’s a few startup companies, as well, that are trying to kind of disrupt that resale area. But, once again, without full cooperation and deep integration into the actual ticketing source of truth, it’s hard to guarantee all of those tickets.

Kevin Cooper:  In America, they’re still dealing with exactly the same problem with their resale platforms. As you can see, by the more recent Ticketmaster kerfuffle as far as wholesaling of tickets to scalpers before the events are even sold out.

Mark Jones:  Right, well, I think the innovation part of your title’s got a lot of work. And, focus ahead-

Nicole Manktelow:  He got a bit in the in tray, needless to say. He got a few things to do.

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, so, it’s you know, as a leader, one of the big decisions we need to do is actually decide what not to spend some time on. There’s a lot more opportunity there than there is time. So, I’m still quietly confident we’re gonna do some quite amazing things shortly.

Mark Jones:  That’s fantastic. Hey, before you go, what’s the coolest rock star you’ve ever met?

Kevin Cooper:  Recently, I had the pleasure at being at Splendour in the Grass, and I’ve met a bunch of the stars backstage, and I’m usually pretty good. But then, I ran into Murray, the Wiggle-

Mark Jones:  Seriously.

Kevin Cooper:  I got a little bit choked up, and it’s … that was one of the defining moments of my career so far, I think.

Mark Jones:  Ah, that is so good.

Nicole Manktelow: And, of course, you’re very fond of the Wiggles, because you’ve got a little one.

Kevin Cooper:  Yes, yes indeed.

Nicole Manktelow:  And, the dilemma there is, what? The first concert?

Kevin Cooper:  Yes, so, there’s a lot of pressure trying to pick the first concert to take a new child to. I’m having to think about that quite a bit. My partner is also an extremely vocal live music fan, so I think I’m gonna have to fight her to make that decision.

Nicole Manktelow:  And, what was your first concert?

Kevin Cooper:  My first concert was Silver Chair at Brisbane, back when I was a teenager. I had my mother drive me four hours into the city.

Nicole Manktelow:  Good work, mum.

Kevin Cooper:  Yeah, I know. She was a rock star, herself.

Mark Jones: Well, Kevin Cooper, Head of Marketing and Innovation at Moshtix, thank you so much for being our guest today. Fascinating to get your insights in live music and Marketing and ticket sales. First for us at the CMO Show, it’s been a great conversation, so thank you.

Kevin Cooper:  Okay, thank you very much, guys.

Nicole Manktelow:  Thank you for bringing it to us, rock on.

Kevin Cooper:  Cheers.

Mark Jones: So if you’re a music fan Kevin’s got a great job.

Nicole Manktelow:  He does. One of the best.

Mark Jones: I reckon. I love this idea about being involved in event strategies, so positioning from not just clipping a ticket, we talked about how you’ve actually got a partner with the promoters and the entertainment acts, etc to really be able to shape a marketing strategy that is contextually relevant to your audience. But also it keeps changing, so different approaches and techniques will apply to different people.

Nicole Manktelow:  Well, if you’re all about experience and you’re going to an event, and that is the crux of the matter. Then the company that’s gonna make that happen needs to play an important part. And that experience should extend from the beginning when they’re finding out about it, including the transaction-

Mark Jones: Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  All the way through to the event and after.

Mark Jones: Right so that complete, audience journey, right? You’ve mapped out the whole thing-

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah, it’s not a customer journey it’s a fan journey.

Mark Jones: It’s a fan journey, well done. I like that.

Mark Jones:  Well, the other thing from a competitive angle, touching on Facebook and other existential threats to the ticketing business, you need to able to have this value ad. So it’s interesting how the marketing aspect really can’t be separated from those market dynamics.

Nicole Manktelow:  I like this idea of that he talked about social element that people hear about these things one way or another, and that’s really where the journey starts. So it’s a little hard to map, in that regard. However they come to you then I think you’ve got to work really hard.

Mark Jones: Right, so pixels and … Facebook pixels, for example, and the social platforms how you work with people through, what’s otherwise a very messy, non-linear customer journey.

Mark Jones:  Its been great to listen to Kevin’s insights I hope you got a lot out of it. Entertainment is a fast moving area for marketers and the challenges that we’re facing in these social platforms, of course, is gonna be one in which the innovation part of his role will continue to be just as important as, the marketing element. So, that’s fantastic.

Nicole Manktelow:  Didn’t you find it comforting that he was star struck when he met a Wiggle?

Mark Jones: Actually that was very cool, right?

Mark Jones:  Yeah. Those stories you just didn’t see that coming.

Nicole Manktelow:  No in particularly, the calibre of events that he’s probably seeing.

Nicole Manktelow:  What was your first concert?

Mark Jones: Oh good question. So we’re going to go back into, I’m gonna say late ’80s.

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah.

Mark Jones: I went to the Entertainment Centre, which is now destroyed in Sydney, and it was an ’80s rock band called Noiseworks.

Nicole Manktelow:  No way!

Mark Jones: Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  I would have been so jealous, I was out in the country.

Mark Jones: I was a raging fan.

Nicole Manktelow:  Wowzers.

Mark Jones: And I think they played with HooDoo Gurus or something like that.

Nicole Manktelow:  Oh get out.

Mark Jones: Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  Alright so I would still go and see HooDoo Gurus.

Mark Jones: Right. So that’s kind of where I was at. That morphed into INXS and Hunters and Collectors, that was kind of my-

Nicole Manktelow:  That really, really good.

Mark Jones: My rock roots, which was pretty cool. How about you?

Nicole Manktelow: Mine was incredibly daggy, Elton John.

Mark Jones: Really?

Nicole Manktelow:  Also, at the Entertainment Centre.

Mark Jones: Very cool though.

Nicole Manktelow:  But yes but no but yes.

Mark Jones: He’s an icon.

Nicole Manktelow:  He is. He is. I think at the time I was aware that I felt a bit daggy.

Mark Jones: But that would have been quite a show.

Nicole Manktelow:  That was really, but I … listening gone through some pretty strange things, I think my favourite would have been V Fest in London watching Radiohead.

Mark Jones: Wow.

Nicole Manktelow:  That was like almost being in church. People were so packed into what was a paddock. And yet there probably wasn’t much skin that wasn’t touching the next people. And all just gently swaying, singing “I’m a creep” it was like a nerd-

Mark Jones: A religious experience.

Nicole Manktelow:  A nerd mecca. Yeah. Yeah. It was great.

Mark Jones: So clearly you’re on the fence of … ’cause with Radiohead you either get it or don’t right? So you’re in the get it.

Nicole Manktelow:  I’ll get it.

Mark Jones: Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah.

Mark Jones: Alright, now I understand it.

Nicole Manktelow:  Doesn’t necessarily make people happy, that’s alright.

Mark Jones: Yeah, no well I’m –

Nicole Manktelow:  Small doses.

Mark Jones: I’m in the don’t get it category.

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah.

Mark Jones: Quite happy to admit that. Like really? Hmm-mm-hmm (affirmative) anyway. But isn’t that the thing about music right it just takes.

Nicole Manktelow: That’s pretty good.

Mark Jones: It takes all types right. Look this work-

Nicole Manktelow:  I don’t know if our Spotify playlists would match up, Mark.

Mark Jones: There are some Radiohead in my defence that I do like, but generally speaking don’t get it.

Nicole Manktelow:  Alright, daft punk.

Mark Jones: Look, its not on my rotation.

Nicole Manktelow:  No?

Mark Jones: No.

Nicole Manktelow:  AC/DC?

Mark Jones: Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow:  Really?

Mark Jones: Yeah I got a couple AC/DC songs. Yeah.

Nicole Manktelow: Okay. Was nice knowing you.

Mark Jones: It’s been nice knowing you. The good thing about this is I will continue to know you Nicole.

Nicole Manktelow:  Yeah I know.

Mark Jones: And so, all of you I trust. If you haven’t connected with Nicole on LinkedIn and other places, please do- continue to=

Nicole Manktelow:  And keep listening to the CMO show-

Mark Jones: Yes.

Nicole Manktelow:  For your dosage of everything you need to know and stuff you didn’t even know you needed to know, because its all, everything that you need, for marketing. [inaudible 00:14:18]

Mark Jones: It’s been great, please do subscribe and tell your friends, as we always say but until next time it’s been great. Thank you Nicole.

Nicole Manktelow:  It’s been wonderful to be here on The CMO Show. Mark a very big thank you from me, to you sharing your baby so for the last 18 months I’ve been able to talk to people, I wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to, and discuss all manner of things, geeky, marketing, enterprise, just expand the brain cells and get out there. It’s been really wonderful, thanks.

Mark Jones: Thanks Nicole, likewise.

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