Marketing / 01.08.18
Google’s Mike Lorenc on Digital Marketing, AI and the Future of Data in Ticketing
It’s no secret that the ticketing industry is becoming more digital, and with it, digital marketing is an upmost priority for today’s ticketing professionals. Mike Lorenc, who heads up Google's Ticketing & Live Events Group, knows a thing or two about marketing and selling tickets online through Google’s various digital channels.
Lorenc will be sharing his insights at INTIX’s 39th Annual Conference in Baltimore in a few weeks as the closing keynote speaker. He sat down with our team in advance to chat all things digital marketing, AI and how data is really the future of the ticketing industry.
INTIX: Today, so much is bought and sold on the internet, including tickets. Why is it critical for today’s ticket industry professionals to pay attention to tech advancements and updates?
Mike Lorenc: Because the entire world is turning to digital, especially in ticketing. Most tickets are being bought online. The decision on how to spend time and money is happening on digital. From that perspective, understanding consumer behaviors and trends and then being able to understand the tools that Google and other digital marketing companies offer attendees to capture that interest and turn it into actual paying customers is something I know everybody's interested in.
INTIX: What are the biggest game-changers in the market today related to consumer behavior?
ML: It’s not only innovations – I think it’s really important to continue talking about the completed shift to mobile. There are lots of opportunities, but also uneasiness about mobile or a small-screen device being a primary mode of media and news consumption. In my INTIX keynote, I’ll touch on mobile marketing. The big thing that I will spend lots of time talking about is data – data-driven attribution. So, being able to make smart marketing decisions leveraging existing insights and data that both venue operators and companies like Google have access to.
INTIX: Mobile is a major part of consumers’ lives today, but what do you see as the next innovative front for the technology industry?
ML: At Google, we actually talk about the fact that we are no longer in a mobile-first world, we are in an AI-first world. I think it’s really important for INTIX members to try to understand how to combine their day-to-day experiences with the direction the industry is moving. Rather than relying on the same thing they were doing yesterday, it’s about understanding what tomorrow brings and adjusting and aligning to those trends.
INTIX: How can AI and other technologies help engage more qualified fans?
ML: In live events and live entertainment, there’s a big segment of casual or curious fans. People that — given the right circumstances, right timing and right message — are probably interested in spending time or money on entertainment, they just don’t necessarily know things are happening. One of the things with AI is the ability to identify those people and contextually identify what they might be interested in and then engage with them in a very targeted and efficient way.
With broader technology and AI, there are ways to dramatically enhance the in-venue experience. If you’re talking about a sports team, that might be being able to serve real-time stats, information and data about what’s happening on the field. When you’re talking about entertainment like music and musicals, an example would be syncing songs with a karaoke-like experience where people can see lyrics, sing along and find more information about the artist.
INTIX: How do Google’s digital marketing capabilities help organizations reach more fans and, ultimately, sell more tickets?
ML: With Google, there are really three unique properties that we talk to when it comes to ticket sales. The first one and most effective is Google search. In search, it’s the consumer that initiates interest. We call those people "hand-raisers." They are people that are actively telling us that they are looking for tickets to a game, that they are interested in a certain performer or that they are looking for things to do over the weekend. Because most tickets nowadays are being sold online, we are able to measure ROI and specific return that an investment in Google search has for an organization.
The second platform is YouTube. The beauty about live entertainment is that it’s all about sight, sound and motion, and that’s what digital video allows you to do. Especially for those marketers that are looking to attract younger audiences; pretty much everybody in live entertainment wants to get more young people into their venues. So, being able to do that and with a mobile-first mentality, you’ll want to do that in a short format, which is interesting but also very challenging to do right. How do you condense a 2.5-hour show or game into a six-second spot? That’s the attention span we are dealing with when it comes to people who are using mobile to watch video.
The third is data. With data, we’re able to help marketers identify and reach out to their fans or potential fans anywhere on the web using the Google Display Network. It’s not limited to your social media site, your website or search; we can help marketers identify and reach out to those people nearly everywhere that they are on the web through our network.
INTIX: What are the implications of data for ticketing and live events in the future?
ML: It has a lot of implications. Number one, marketing can become much more targeted and effective, which I think is especially important for ticket marketers that don’t have unlimited, multi-million-dollar marketing budgets and have to be really mindful about their marketing spend. The effectiveness and efficiency of marketing can be vastly improved by data. Another aspect is being able to tailor a creative message to different segments of potential users, previous users and people who have shown interest in a specific venue, show, performer or sport. It can actually open up a creative canvas because you have flexibility to personalize your message as opposed to creating a 30-second spot or billboard that appeals to the broadest audience possible.
INTIX: Where do you see the ticketing industry going in 2018 and beyond?
ML: In the next couple of years, I think paperless ticketing is a very big trend that can’t, and won’t, be reversed because it’s a convenience factor. Consumers are able to do their research on their phone, purchase tickets on their phone and they now expect to use their phones to enter the venue. That closes the loop for them. Another trend that we are seeing is primary and secondary ticketing really blending. There is lots of activity happening with Ticketmaster including some of the secondary ticketing, and with SeatGeek and even StubHub striking some of the primary deals. From the consumer perspective, there is a benefit of just being able to go to a destination and having access to all of the tickets regardless of whether they’re on the primary or secondary market. For live entertainment marketers or venue operators, there’s an opportunity to gain some revenue from a secondary marketplace, which they previously didn’t have access to.
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Tags: Paperless , YouTube , Mobile , Digital Marketing , StubHub , Artificial Intelligence , INTIX 2018