Booking Nirvana as a “Secret Opening Act” typically would solidify a club as a legendary music venue, and that’s the case with The Crocodile, one of Seattle’s most vaunted venues. Famous for hosting grunge icons Soundgarden and Pearl Jam in the ’90s, The Croc still has fans chomping at the bit for tickets.

“The venue originally opened in 1991,” Josh Saenger, Marketing and Ticketing Manager at The Crocodile, tells ToneDen. “What started out as a grunge venue has pretty much turned into a venue for all kinds of shows, every genre.”

That transformation is partly due to the current owners, a trio of musical luminaries — Alice in Chains’ Sean Kinney, manager Susan Silver, and Portugal. The Man’s Eric Howk — working with Seattle events master Marcus Charles, founder of Capitol Hill Block Party, Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room, and more. With so much industry knowhow, ToneDen is proud to call these PNW icons partners. 

“We started at the tail end of September,” Saenger says. “Eventbrite was doing the full integration and I saw other venues using it. We have so many shows: This month we had 63. Not all of those are in-house, but I still have to ticket or market them. I was looking for something to streamline and make Facebook ads easier. ToneDen’s been great for that.”

“It Makes Targeting and Cross-Targeting So Much Easier”

During the day, the bar inside The Crocodile gets great sunlight. That’s where you’ll often find Saenger working — working a lot. “All the marketing, ticketing, social media, poster design, any ads, any meet and greet, anything venue and ticket-related I do.” Josh is a real OG.

Josh Saenger, Marketing and Ticketing Manager at The Crocodile

For the past six years, Saenger has been a key player on The Crocodile’s nimble team. Originally from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he moved to Seattle, where he started working at a promotions company and found himself flyering — “like most people,” he says. “When everybody else phased out, I stuck along and ended up getting a marketing job.” 

Today, that marketing job has him advertising a wide range of shows — everything from Alice in Chains to The Penthouse Boys to celebrity chef Matty Matheson. “A lot of the people that are about to blow up do their first tours here,” says Saenger. 

For the past three months, he’s been advertising those shows with the help of ToneDen. The venue and concert-promoter-friendly platform is exactly what he needs. 

“It makes targeting and cross-targeting so much easier. Instead of having to download files and create custom audiences or lookalike audiences, I can input the shows and [ToneDen] does it itself. That was the aha. I don’t have to sit here and create multiple ads.”

DEAs + Retargeting = A 69x Match Made in Heaven

SNL breakout star Chris Redd. Afro-Latinx sensation Combo Chimbita. Indie-pop act Ezra Furman. These are just a few of the acts Sanger’s advertising in February and they couldn’t be more unique. 

Diverse programming may be a venue’s dream, but it can be a marketer’s nightmare — without the aid of ToneDen. “You’re never targeting to the same audience,” Saenger says. “All of our shows are so drastically different and have such a niche for their audience that I’m using ToneDen to streamline that.”

Dynamic Event Ads — DEAs — offer a workaround to marketers with just that dilemma. An adaptation of calendar ads, DEAs have allowed Saenger to advertise an entire calendar of events, under a single campaign. 

One recent DEA campaign Saenger ran was geared specifically toward retargeting. Prior to using ToneDen, The Crocodile’s retargeting budget was — well, zero. But for just $1 a day, the club saw incredible results. 

“It works really well,” Seanger says. “The ads have looked really good and they’re pretty clear. Without having to create content, the basic information of the show event has been pretty helpful for people to buy tickets from.”

Pretty helpful and pretty lucrative. Having spent only $42, The Crocodile has brought in more than $3,100 so far — a 69x return on ad spend

“It’s Been Great”

There was a time when we were running one or two Facebook ads a month for bigger shows,” Saenger recalls. “Now, every show gets multiple ads. Fewer posters on the street, fewer print ads, more digital ads.”

ToneDen is necessary, given how the music industry has evolved. “There’s so many shows now,” Saenger says. “Artists aren’t making as much money as they used to off of CD sales, so there’s more touring, which is good for us. We’ve recommended ToneDen to a couple people in town and I’ve seen some other venues in the trial phases. It’s been great.”

In that choppy, changing tide of media, ToneDen offers a lifesaver for marketers. Saenger considers the platform a perfect fit for “any venue that runs like ours, where you have people doing multiple jobs, looking to save time on putting this stuff together.”

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