Kryponite for the social whiners and haters

Here's an excerpt from my Facebook book on dealing with the event complainers, haters, and howlers ... tis the season!

Because social media is a, well, social animal, it is nearly effortless for people to criticize.

Here are some recommendations on how to deal with negativity on Facebook and it basically boils down to having excellent customer service skills:

My strong recommendation is to not react to anything on Facebook immediately. Don't respond too quickly but also don't wait too long to respond. There isn't a specific time frame, and it largely depends on what a Facebook user posts or comments about.

Have a full-time social media person (or customer service-oriented volunteer) helping you during your event. It is very easy for someone to go through and post negative information to your Facebook page. If you and your team are hard at work putting on a great event, you might miss a negative comment.

In a few instances, a negative comment could turn into a PR nightmare. This is why it's so important to be vigilant about your social media the week leading up to your event and through your event.

If a Facebook user is agitated at you or your event, try to take the conversation off your Facebook page. Acknowledge the person's concern and ask them to send you a personal message. You can do this by directly replying to their post or comment. If you're able to resolve the issue to that person's satisfaction, ask the person to acknowledge that in their post or comment.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of deleting negative posts on Facebook. Unless a post or comment contains vulgar language or is entirely inappropriate, keep it on your Facebook page. Why would you want to keep a negative comment? Because it's social media.

Take the opportunity to acknowledge or explain whatever concerns a person might have brought to your attention. In some cases, people leave such over-the-top comments that you don't need to explain anything.

When you have a great event and loyal customers, you often find your own customers and supporters coming to your defense. This happens more often than not. Here's how it usually goes: A Facebook user leaves a very negative comment on your Facebook page. If the feedback isn't offensive or over the top, don't rush to respond.

What you'll find is that your supporters and customers will often come to your defense and respond for you. Honestly, I've seen this a majority of the time. You still want to monitor your posts and advertisements, but allow your supporters and customers to weigh in.

In short, think first – smartly (don't react), answer later!

If you want to take advantage of social media, you have to play the game differently. What follows are the most common social media marketing mistakes to avoid and simple corrections you can use. The suggestions apply to any social media platform. Click below and dive on in to the 5-Part Social Media Series:

  1. Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs

  2. Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers

  3. Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms

  4. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising

  5. Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work


Your Ticket Buyer's Continuum

In a recent review of outdoor event survey data, I noticed some interesting discrepancies ...

The post-event survey was put together by the event's ticketing company and is sent automatically to ticket buyers after the event. Within the survey, there is a question that asks, "where did you hear about this event?" Followed by a series of multiple-choice answers. It's important to note the specific wording of the question being asked ... "WHERE did you hear about this event?"

Multiple clients have used the ticketing company that automatically sends out the post-event survey. Separately, there was sophisticated tracking put in place for all the clients using the ticketing company and survey question from above.

Interesting discrepancies arose when comparing the tracking data of a ticket sale and the ticket company's customer survey results. The tracking data showed "how" and "why" people purchased a ticket to the event. Which was vastly different from the "where did you hear about this event" data.

As an example, "Facebook" represented a majority of the customer "where did you hear ..." survey responses. At the same time, the tracking data show that Facebook accounted for a small percentage of overall ticket sales. Additionally, there were discrepancies in place across several marketing channels.

Remember from above, the note about specific wording?

On multiple occasions, event organizers focused their advertising spend around the ticketing company's survey results. That could be a very costly decision!

Because how someone heard about your event and why they purchase a ticket to your event, MIGHT be closely related or completely unrelated.

My friend Roman Yako refers to it as the "Buyer's Continuum." It's where a customer starts, takes a journey (through an advertising/marketing funnel), and ultimately results in a ticket sale. Having good data helps give insight on your Buyer's Continuum.

My question to you, "do you know your customer's journey, and can you define that journey with hard data?"

When you know your customer's journey and can back it up with data ... you acquire an unbelievable advantage when investing your advertising and marketing dollars.

If you have your own ticket sales start, please share it in the comment section below.

Want to get more event ticketing info? Check out the articles below:

Curves and ticket revenue control

Previously, we've delved into the world of ticket revenue awareness. That said, if you want to take your game to a whole new level, consider your hourly ticket revenues.

Hourly ticket revenues, seriously?

Fear not! What seems like a daunting number-crunching task can be easily obtained. That is if your ticket revenue data is accurately being tracked and you can integrate Google Analytics. Google Analytics offers hourly ticket revenue insight on a day-by-day basis.

Why should you look at hourly ticket revenue? There are numerous reasons. For today, we'll look at two essential elements. To keep you from going on a wild goose chase, the critical timeframe to look at hourly revenue are the days leading up to and through your event. Especially if you have an outdoor event!

The first element to consider, is your daily hourly revenue curve for a given day before or during your event. For clients, specific days of their event have very similar ticket revenue curves. E.g. the Friday before a Saturday event has a similar ticket revenue curve, every year. Hourly revenue curves are used to forecast future revenue expectations.

Element two is where hourly ticket revenue data is used for tactical marketing actions. If a client is going to be short on daily revenue (this shows up in hourly revenues, earlier in the day), I go to my marketing bag of "tricks."

By implementing specific marketing actions, clients have reduced, and in some cases, eliminate daily ticket revenue shortfalls.

Finite marketing corrections would be far more difficult if you only consider daily ticket revenues. This is because by the time you identify a ticket revenue shortfall, the day is over.

Have you ever looked at your hourly ticket revenues? What did you find?

Want more event ticket sales advice? Check out the articles below:

The Millenium Falcon & your ticket sales

In case you missed it, the new Star Wars "Rise of Skywalker" trailer was released back in October. Even if you're not a fan of "the Force," stick with me here.

While everyone in the galaxy is focused on how many views the new trailer receives, I'd encourage you to look elsewhere. Specifically, at the movie's ticket revenue numbers. As with the Disney/Marvel movies, rarely if ever are the actual number of tickets sold reported. It's all about ticket sales in the form of total revenue. And that's key!

Yes, your event revenue is directly related to how many tickets you sell. But instead of focusing on the number of tickets you need to sell … focus on the potential income from ticket sales.

If you're selling just one ticket type, could you offer a different kind of ticket?

How about a free event. Could you sell a VIP ticket?

Clients have sold more than USD 1MM of VIP tickets to open gate events. In one case charging over USD 3,000 for a VIP ticket … to a free event.

In every instance the initial sentiment was, "that's impossible!" Or, "you're crazy!" Until they tried it and the rest is history.

Food for thought!

All the Board members asked this question

A few months ago, the Executive Director of an event noted something interesting. The director said that all their Board members asked an eerily similar question. That question, "how many people are at the event today?" One would think that question to be perfectly logical.

Yet, after 12 months of hard work, there are probably more critical questions to ask. Specifically, "how much money was generated for all the people in attendance today?" A better answer should include ticket sales revenues, concession revenues, and any ancillary attendee revenue.

It's incredible to me how wrapped up some event organizers are in their own attendance numbers. Here's the irony of event attendance numbers. Far too many event attendance numbers are grossly over-exaggerated.

What gets presented as "we had record attendance," quickly turns into event organizers complaining about "not making enough money."

I'll leave you with two money observations from a top-notch marketer and copywriter John Carlton.

First on the topic of money ... that old cliché, "Money really can't buy you happiness."

Carlton's second money observation is far more intriguing. He states, "Money will only solve those problems that not having money creates."

Remember, if you can't pay your own bills, you can't help anyone else!

Think of your event in terms of revenue, not just attendance. Regardless of how many people attended, were your attendees shown an extraordinary time and did your organization make good money?

The long term growth and success of your event is entirely dependent on revenue, like it or not!

Want to get more event promotion info? Check out the articles below:

Text message lessons and your event

Here's a short one for today.

Yesterday morning, my lady sends me a mobile text (SMS) message. I reply with three text messages full of sarcasm. To which my lady replies with a text message that was serious in tone. And then, I clarified my position with, "(It appears my sarcasm didn't travel well via text)" To which she replied, "Right over my head!"

Why am I telling you about text messages with my lady? Because the actual TEXT (copy) part of the message is the critical part.

Put precisely, the words we use to communicate with our marketplace. Think about it this way. Have you ever read or sent a text message that was horribly misinterpreted? Maybe you were trying to be funny, and the person on the receiving end thought something completely different. Or vice versa.

Here's how text messages apply to your event. The actual words you use MIGHT be interpreted differently than you intended. Especially for short messages like event advertisements or customer service SMS message.

Be crystal clear in your event messaging, especially those short marketing messages. If there is even a modicum of uncertainty on the clarity of your messaging ... get a brutally honest friend to weigh it.

If you want more info on this topic, be sure to check out the 'what exactly is "coming soon?"' email from a few months ago.


The fast-food secret to a killer event

As a caloric assault on my body, I decided to take my lady to go get some fast food. Burger King to be precise. Their Incredible Whopper is in a word, unique. We pulled up, ordered and in less than three minutes were stuffing our faces with utterly useless calories.

Our fast-food experience reminded me of a business meeting years ago, minus the caloric catastrophe.

About ten years ago, a friend had been given a copy of income statements for five restaurants by the owner. At the time, my friend was considering starting a restaurant. There were three fast-food franchise restaurants and two high-end restaurants on the income statement list.

Would you like to guess which restaurants were massively profitable?

It was neither of the high-end restaurants, but the fast-food franchises. When my friend asked the owner about the disparity, his response was, "the fast-food franchises all have a manual to run the business."

As a result, far less guesswork and more efficient systems. The high-end restaurants were much more chaotic and lacked a system to run. There was a lot of costly trial and error. That wasn't the case with the franchise restaurants.

In fact, all the fast-food franchises were paying for all the financial shortfalls of the high-end restaurants. And that's the secret ... fast food franchises use a proven system!

So, are you using a proven system to market and run your event? When asked, most event organizers reluctantly reply, "No, we're not."

A particular point of event weakness is advertising and marketing. Or what my friend Roman Yako refers to as "completely random acts of marketing!" And few, if any results, can be found.

If you are not using a system to market your event, now's the time to take action! As the tired cliche goes, "the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the next best time to plant a tree is today!"

Go out there an find a system with a proven track record. Hint: some people have already discovered it. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, ethically borrow what others are doing.

A little secret about the systems my clients use to generate record ticket revenues, the systems are an amalgamation of other tested and proven marketing systems. I give credit where credit is due, and model intently. You can do the same!

Want to get more event promotion info? Check out the articles below:

Important context on ticket pricing complaints

Pop quiz ...

"How many customers complained about ticket prices at your last event?"

The question above might seem overly simplistic, but there is an essential word of note. And it's a word you and your event team need to pay careful attention to.

What do you think the critical word might be?

The word is "customers," not people.

What's the difference? If a "person" complains about your ticket price and never buys a ticket, do you really care? They're probably whiners. And whiners will never buy a ticket to your event. But they'll complain all over the place and suck the life out of you.

Let's dive in a little deeper on this topic ...

When I asked the customer ticket complaint question above to a client, their response was, "a lot of people complained on social media!" To which I returned to the important part of the original question, "how many customers complained?" They didn't know.

The complaint question was asked of another client. Their response, "not more than 10 people." Again, I asked, "were the people who complained customers?" They also didn't know.

My goal here isn't to rag on clients, because they're super awesome about implementing my insane requests. What's the goal? To focus on the takeaway ... who's really complaining about your ticket prices?

It's imperative that you ignore the whiners and focus on the people most essential to your event. They are your customers and potential customers.

Here's the icing on the takeaway cake. Both clients in today's email have events that sell tens of thousands of tickets. And yet for one client, less than 10 people complained about the price of their event tickets.

Want more event ticket pricing advice? Check out the articles below:

Confusing everything else with ticket sales

Last week, a client threw me a prickly curveball. Their point went like this (paraphrased)...

"Eugene, I understand your focus is on ticket sales. But we as an organization need to show the community all the great things we do."

If you've been following the last few days of emails, you'll notice a recurring theme. Where to focus your efforts. If you're asking yourself, "why do you keep bringing this up?"

Because similar words ("we need to show the community ... INSERT VIRTUOUS CAUSE HERE!") have been spoken by many an event organizer. Especially event organizers for not for profit events.

That same sentiment from above is a significant reason for event failure. Organizations try to do too many things. All while losing sight of selling tickets to their event.

Am I opposed to organizations trumpeting their amazing accomplishments? Not at all! But it's far easier to trumpet your virtues when you don't have to worry about paying your bills.

In an ironic twist to the statement above. The "community" focused organization is behind in their year to date ticket sales. And their focus isn't where it needs to be.

Here's a straightforward question you should continuously ask yourself and your team ...

"How is what I'm doing now (or want to do) going to improve the customer experience and sell more tickets to our event?"

It's a simple question. And hopefully it gets you and your team to think a little differently about your event priorities.

Want to get more event ticketing info? Check out the articles below:

Remember, the Internet is forever

Lately, I've been assisting clients with some particularly thorny online "angry-pants people." Specifically, the people who will whine and complain about anything you try to do. It seems like some people were born to be difficult, without any particularly good reason.

That said, the ultimate goal in every scenario is to take upset people and turn them into happy and loyal customers.

Clients have gotten really good at turning a majority of the complainers into loyal customers. In some cases by being fairly direct with people. Especially online complainers who are downright belligerent and rude. Just because someone is unhappy doesn't give them the right to "f-bomb" the people who are trying to help. Hence, a little tough love may be necessary.

Which leads to today's takeaway.

If you're going to dish it out online, whether it be via a Facebook review comment, email, Tweet, etc. Remember that the "Internet is forever!"

That means if you write an email to an angry customer, assume they're going to post that email online. I've worked on client projects where an irate customer posted part of an email I wrote on the client's behalf. That was A-OK by me. Because I worked from the assumption that the email would be posted. And ultimately, it worked to the client's advantage.

You and your team should work with the "Internet is forever" assumption for every event response. If someone reads what you wrote, how would a casual reader interpret it? Your response could have a considerable impact on your event's reputation. Always be aware!

Want to get more info on online customer service for events? Check out the links below:

The millions in advance ticket sales model

In 2019, three Platinum clients raked in over 2.5 million USD in advance ticket sales for their events. I cannot promise you the same results. But, I can share with your a fundamental strategy they all implemented.

Over the years, I've worked with multiple event organizers who are staunchly opposed to discount pricing. They each have their own reasons. Including, "we don't want to discount because it costs us ticket revenue" to, "I don't want to do discounting because of how it is perceived ... so we don't do discounts!"

Hey, it's their event, so they can do whatever they want.

That said, I try to challenge them on their own beliefs. A simple look at historical ticket sales data really sheds light on what's going on ...

In one instance, an event organizer who is against discounts is always left with hundreds of unsold tickets. My question to them, after their event, "if someone offered you 50% of the value of those unsold tickets as cash, would you take it?" When they answer, "yes!" I proceed to ask, "then why not sell your tickets at a discount?" At that point, you can see the mental gears going.

All of my clients use a strategic pricing model. It involves smartly discounting tickets based on historical ticket sales performance, while aggressively protecting profit margins. Because most of my clients are outdoor events (directly impacted by a bad weather forecast and/or weather), advance ticket sales are critical.

In every instance to date, clients have gone on to record ticket sales revenue while smartly offering deep discounts on their ticket prices.

Just this week, a client used a process called "blocking and stepping" to generate more ticket revenue in four days, when compared to their last event over seven months. And the kicker is ... they started by offering tickets up to 50% OFF!

My challenge to you is, how can you sell tickets at a discount and generate more revenue for your event? Are there tickets for sale after your event? If someone offered to purchase those unbought tickets, what price would you sell them for?

The answer to the questions above should give you a decent idea of what discounts to offer. Yes, there is a lot more to strategic price modeling. The above questions and examples hopefully get you thinking differently about discounts. Start by at least taking a deep dive into your previous ticket sales data.

Want to get more advance ticket sales advice? Check out the articles below:

If you're going to "do it," do it for real

If you're selling your event tickets online or off, maybe a combination of both, I recommend the following. Run a live test of a ticket purchase.

It's simply not enough to run a "test" transaction or in a "test" environment. And ideally, you want to run multiple tests.

It's fascinating to me that with thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in ticket sales on the line, event organizers don't want to run a simple $20 USD "live" ticket transaction.

I hear things like, "oh, I don't want to ding my credit card twenty bucks." Even worse, is when ticketing companies refuse to run live tests. It's enough to leave one fit to be tied.

Just today, there were two critical issues identified before a client's major ticket launch. The problems in question never showed up during multiple test transactions.

Fortunately, the issues were identified early enough to make the needed corrections. Had the problems not been identified during testing, a two-year data set would have been ruined.

If you're going to sell tickets to your event, make sure you test the entire process from start to finish. I cannot recall a single client project where a significant problem wasn't identified during live ticket testing.

Test to ensure your success!

Here are some additional resources regarding selling event tickets online:


How Disney eliminates their competition

Today, we're going to take a quick look at how Disney's movie division scares off their competition. You're probably saying, "Eugene, I don't have a movie studio." And that doesn't matter. Because it's the "stra-te-gery" that counts!

Overall, Disney has a very consistent track record of delivering better than average movies. By the mid-point of 2019 Disney had sold over $5.7 Billion USD of movie tickets. (Source: "Disney Tops $5.7+ Billion In Global Box Office In First Half Of 2019",

In terms of dealing with the competition, Disney's advantage is straightforward. They make better movies than their competitors. That means that things get interesting on the strategy and marketing side of the house. How so?

Disney often announces its movies years in advance. This put the competition on notice. Though it's never verbalized, it basically comes down to the following. "We have something great, here's when it's coming out, we dare you to compete with us!"

Other movie studios, more often than not, stay away from the dates when Disney is releasing a blockbuster. And you can do what Disney does to their competitors. Eliminating competition on the event side of the house requires two key elements. The first element is easy to implement.

You announce your next event date(s) at least a year in advance. This not only informs your target market, but it also puts other event organizers on notice.

The second element is comparatively more difficult. It requires you to have a phenomenal event that the competition is afraid to go up against. And being "phenomenal" comes in the form of praise from your event attendee.

Depending on the reputation of your event, you force your competitors to ask, "do we really want to compete against that event?"

Any wavering on their part means advantage - you!

He's more Disney strategy for promoting your event:

A giant steaming pile of bull***t ...

A few months ago, I received an email from a nearly billion-dollar (USD) marketing company. The company espoused the following "keys to success" for email marketing in said email:

"Better email design = better results."

"What's one of the biggest reasons for under-performing emails? Underwhelming design. To deliver emails that perform as great as they look, follow these essential elements of email design ..."

The first item on their essential elements list, "LOGOS AND COLORS."

Aside from one or two points, that have zero to do with design, the marketing company's recommendations for "better results" were total B.S. If the primary focus of your marketing emails is "design," you're setting yourself up for failure.

Does the design of an email have an impact on your results, "yes, it does!" But the effect of the design is minuscule when compared to other factors driving results. And your results need to be measured in dollar signs, not marketing awards!

These result factors include: who is sending the email, the quality of the relationship with the email list, and the offer. Not even a witty subject line comes close to the previous factors just listed.

Last month, a client sent one email and sold over one hundred thousand USD of tickets to their event, in twenty-six minutes. Their email did not contain a single graphic. Other so-called marketers consider the email sent "ugly and unprofessional."

So my question to you (and you can only choose one of the following), "what would you rather have, a hundred thousand dollars of advance ticket sales or an email that's visually stunning?" Ironically enough, most event organizers choose the pretty email.

Get more insight on effective design that drives event ticket sales:

Lie about this number & you get crushed

A couple weeks ago, a colleague of mine sent me an email chain regarding a large outdoor event.

In the email chain, a representative from a Fortune 500 company took serious issue with the event's reported attendance. The event organizer told sponsors that their weekend event draws over 120,000 attendees. The Fortune 500 company was a sponsor and had booth space at the "120,000" person event.

Because the sponsor had years of outdoor event experience, they are excellent at accurately calculating event attendance numbers. One could say the sponsor has event estimation down to a science. You can probably guess where this one is going …

Long story short, the sponsor asked for their money back. According to the sponsor's internal calculations, the event had approximately 5,000 attendees for the weekend. That's a 115,000 person difference. To be fair, events often exaggerate their attendance numbers. But where does one draw the line, 5%, 50%, 95%? The attendance delta was over 115,000 attendees.

I'm no attorney, but if one were to grossly exaggerate their attendance numbers by 100,000+ attendees and sell a sponsorship or exhibitor booth package based on those numbers, I believe that's called fraud.

Event organizers need to stop blatantly lying about attendance numbers!

If not, they are putting the future of their event in serious jeopardy.

If the fraud statement above is a bit much for you, gross attendance exaggeration creates numerous other issues. One in particular … word gets around about events that completely bull$hit (not by a little, but a lot) their attendance numbers. And people won't do business with those type of events.

Do yourself and your team a favor, keep your attendance numbers as accurate as possible.

Here's more attendance insight regarding your event:

About all those social media icons ...

If you're going to have social media icons on your page, keep them confined to the footer of your website. That is unless you can show, with hard data, that social media icons deserve larger and more prominent placement.

How can I make the above statement?

Because of the millions of dollars in client ticket sales, less than 4% of event ticket revenue could be directly attributed to social media. This is not my opinion, but what the data shows.

Ironically enough, when I bring the 4% or less stat up to event organizers, most get pissed off. How dare I say something so preposterous?! Here's my simple response, "please show me the data to back up your position." At that point, all the protestors all go silent.

Not a single event organizer to date has been able to provide a shred of evidence to back up their anger and angst. Yet they claim social media to be the end all be all event marketing tool.

Are there events generating more than 4% of their event ticket revenue because of their social media efforts? I have no doubt! If you're one of them, please let me know.

As usual, go get your data in order! And let the size of social media icons (on your event website) be proportionate to the ticket revenue generated. Else, stick them at the bottom of your website.

The Cold-Hard Truth . . .
Here's the cold-hard truth: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have built their business empires on the backs of their users. Most people are never paid for the content they post, and social media sites re-purpose that content and make billions of dollars a year. This is lopsided. So, how do you get the better side of this deal?

You Must Play the Game Differently
If you want to take advantage of social media, you have to play the game differently. What follows are the most common social media marketing mistakes to avoid and simple corrections you can use. The suggestions apply to any social media platform. Click below and dive on in to the 5-Part Social Media Series:

  1. Putting Your Social Media Mindset Ahead of Theirs

  2. Focusing Too Much on Likes & Followers

  3. Trying to Engage on Too Many Social Media Platforms

  4. Avoiding Paid Social Media Advertising

  5. Not Measuring the Results of Your Hard Work

Here are some additional social media resources you can use to market your event:


This needs to be in every vendor contract

I'd like to take a closer look at crucial vendors at your event. In particular, your vendor agreements.

In a recent feature, the interconnect between event execution and advertising/marketing was broached. In short, if your marketing is excellent and makes bold promises to event attendees, you need to overdeliver on the event experience! And the only "did you deliver?" opinion that truly counts is that of your event attendee.

One place that has proven chronically problematic for clients has been vendor execution. Which begs the question, "what happens when a vendor fails to execute their services at a reasonable and agreed upon level?"

Let me give you just one example. The cater you hired runs out of food mid-event for an outdoor VIP Chalet. In the words of a VIP ticket holder (heard firsthand), "I paid $250 for this VIP ticket, you promised me food all-day. Now you're giving me a ticket for a single plate of food?! That's not what I paid for!"

Numerous VIP ticket holders expressed the same concerns. The vendor miscalculated the amount of food needed. The client informed the caterer 6 months in advance on attendance numbers.

Vendors probably don't want to have the contingency discussion, or they'll tell you, "the lawyers (legal) won't allow us to change the contract." That's all, hogwash! Like I say to my clients, "you're paying the money, you get to negotiate terms to your satisfaction!" And they have every right to say, "No!"

Today's KEY question ... Are you negotiating contingencies into critical vendor contracts (ticketing, catering, parking, etc.)? And so we're clear, my expectations for vendors is NOT perfection. I'm often a vendor, so I see both sides of the equation.

Negotiate tough and fair! And don't forget the Chester L. Karrass advice: "In business as in life, you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate." Make sure that for your key vendors there is a clear and reasonable plan in place for when things don't go well or when the vendor fails to execute (runs out of food because of poor planning on their part).

Get more event advertising negotiation insights:

Opinions and feelings versus results ...

In response to "A great (aggressive) ticketing idea," Dan P. writes the following:

(FULL DISCLOSURE: Dan does excellent work for my clients, and we are personal friends. That said, he has a significant amount of live event experience.)


"Eugene, reading your email made me think a majority of professional conferences, expos, retreats, etc., are mostly all presale online-only and many of those sell-out.

I think about my past putting on TEDx events and we did all online sales only for those and we always sold out.

I can't think that for an outdoor air show or outdoor event the concept or outcome would be much different than a massively attended professional conference."


And there you have an experience and results-based recommendation. Of which I encourage every event organizer to pursue ... no gate sales.

In the world of events and business, experience and results always trump opinions and feelings. Back to yesterday's email, the objections to the "don't sell tickets at the gate" were emotion and opinion based.

Ultimately yesterday's discussion ended with the following statement, "we're not there yet, we can try that in a few years from now." Opinions and feelings were in play!

Opinions often prompt lousy business decisions. Mainly when decisions are rooted in feelings and emotions. It's imperative that you focus on proven results (backed up with hard data) and actual experience.

If you have something new you want to try with your next event, implement it and measure the results. The same skepticism goes for any of my recommendations. Don't take my word for it, go and apply my recommendations. And then let me know how it turns out.

Want to get more data driven promoting your event? Check out the articles below:

The Godfather of Gore's killer advice

Herschel Gordon Lewis was known as the "Godfather of Gore." His horror movies launched the "splatter" film genre. (I'll let you use your imagination on that one. Or, your welcome to do a Google search. Fair warning, it's pretty offensive.)

A vast majority of Herschel's film work was considered very controversial at the time. His film style was influential on notable film directors, including Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, and Wes Craven.

What most people don't know about Mr. Lewis is that he was an advertising and marketing genius. He was very much the shrewd capitalist. Because he made horror films for the sole purpose of profit!

After retiring from filmmaking in the 1970s, Herschel Gordon Lewis went back to his advertising and marketing roots. He published several advertising and marketing books in the 1980s and owned an advertising agency.

One of the nuggets of marketing wisdom from his books is the phrase:

"If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing!"

Do yourself a favor and write the quote above down. Because it impacts everything you do in the marketing of your event! Including television, print, online, email marketing, and social media. Today, more so than ever, your consumer is mired with information overload.

Too much event marketing is focused on the "emphasizing everything" approach. Take for example, an event website. The event organizer wants that website to look pretty, make sure team members have a great picture and bio, tell people how much money the organization has raised, and on and on. Those are all very nice and do next to nothing to further someone attending your next event.

Don't load up your website, marketing, and advertising with a bunch of extraneous information that most readers will either ignore or simply not care about. Focus all your marketing and advertising on one single goal, getting them to your event. Keep it lean and mean.

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Pick up the effing phone (please)

Fair warning, what follows is a bit of an abrasive rant. My mantra ... if I complain about something, I better provide a solution. There's actionable advice at the end. Ok, let's go!

50 years ago this July, man landed on the moon! And today, it has never been easier to communicate with another person. Yet, there are significant communication issues in business.

Over the last six years, there have been multiple project screw ups, all because people decided to rely on email and text messages to communicate. The screw-ups involved tens of thousands of dollars and serious issues for event clients. One issue almost resulted in a client being suited.

Most recently, a ticketing company nearly borked a client's sophisticated two-year data project. A manager at the ticketing company decided they wanted to play the CYA (Cover Your A**) game.

That manager insisted on using a multiple person email thread, instead of picking up the phone. "But wait, there's more!" One of the people on the email thread was on vacation, and another went on vacation in the middle of the project. Seriously, why even include those people?!?!

My client's tickets went on sale with significant data issues. Thankfully, the client's customers knew no different.

All the stress and useless drama above could have been avoided with a simple two-minute telephone call for business purposes.

My guess is you've probably found yourself in similar situations. You know, those unresolved 25-30 message email threads. Or how about the passive-aggressive text message that you're unclear about its meaning.

I believe that business is best done in person, at least over the telephone, and at worse via email and text message.

So when in doubt, confused, angry, or frustrated ... pick up the effing phone and give that person a call.

In every single instance that I can recall, a polite two-minute telephone conversation was more efficient and effective than any long email thread or series of text messages. A heartfelt telephone conversation also did way more to alleviate hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

"What happens when I get voicemail?" Don't leave a message until you attempt to call some three times. So we're clear, that doesn't mean you should call someone three times in a row and annoy the heck out of them. Try calling in the AM, later in the day, and then the next day. Leaving a message on your third attempt really helps to avoid the telephone tag voicemail game. You call, then they call, then you call.

If you want to be successful at your event or in your business, you need to be good at communicating. When you get good at using the phone for business, it will pay you in spades!