If you want a spot on Pollstar’s Top 100 Promoters list, you don’t have time to mess around. Meet Pepper Entertainment, a full-service promoter agency, currently crushing it in that very spot. Pepper Entertainment programs events at venues nationwide, manages talents, and serves as marketing and advertising agency.
“Jered Johnson (President/CEO) started out of a basement,” Matt “Bump” Bump tells ToneDen, “booking small shows and building the brand.” That was in 2006, and today Pepper Entertainment’s events fill more than 100 venues across the country.
Bump works in Digital Media and Graphic Design at Pepper Entertainment, but he’s quick to amend that title. He does social media marketing, too. “We all wear multiple hats,” he says. “All of us do everything.”
That’s why ToneDen is indispensable. “If something pops up and we need to run an ad,” Bump says, “I have to be able to do that relatively quick … Instead of sitting in Ads Manager forever, I’ve realized ToneDen is going to be really efficient in my life.”
Looking Back and Moving Forward
Efficiency is paramount if you want to make Pollstar’s Top 100; so is flexibility. Even the biggest agencies count on employees who look good in multiple hats — like Bump.
In high school, Bump toured in a band and studied business. Then, everything changed: “Our band booked a show with Jered Johnson, my boss, who’s a promoter, and we played in a basement for 200 people …We built the connection there. We were interning one summer with Pepper, hanging flyers and the rest is history.”
Bump has been part of Pepper Entertainment’s team since 2012, and his skill set has only expanded — a positive that can lead to difficulties. “I work with ads plans and work with venues,” Bump says. “It’s so hard because I may be working a show one day, and then another day I’m doing ads, then another day, I’m doing graphic design.”
If you’re doing multiple things — i.e., marketing multiple events — time is at a premium. Posters aren’t the best way to target an audience today; neither are … calendar ads. Remember the full-page ads you’d see in newspapers, listing a venue’s entire lineup for the month? They were always a pain to read and, surprise, they’re not getting more useful.
“Calendar advertising, in theory, allows promoters to pool smaller budgets into a single efficient campaign,” ToneDen CMO Ali Shakeri recently wrote. “Today, calendar advertising means creating individual marketing campaigns for each event. While this option seems effective, time and budgetary restrictions prevent promoters from having continuous campaigns up and running for all of their events.”
“When you have so many campaigns — like right now we’re doing Keith Urban, Styx, and Toby Keith,” Bump says, you can’t afford to let one of them fall by the wayside. And you have to be targeted. You can’t cross your fingers and hope the right fan picks up the right section of the newspaper, where you’ve got that pain-to-read calendar ad.
Enter Dynamic Event Ads and 141x ROAs
Still, calendar ads served a necessary function, which is why ToneDen developed dynamic event ads. With dynamic event ads, Bump is able to promote Pepper Entertainment’s entire event calendar to smart-selected audiences on Facebook and Instagram with a single automated campaign. And it’s simple:
The increase in sales, for Pepper Entertainment, has been almost embarrassing. A recent DEA playbook that Bump set up for The District in Sioux Falls reached some 4000 fans. Of the 262 people who clicked on the ad, 98 bought tickets — an incredible 0.59% purchase rate. Even though this campaign ran as part of a DEA playbook, Bump was able to customize every aspect of the ad: the post text, the link description, the CTA. At the end of the day, a $100 investment in The District’s campaign brought in over $14k — a 141.5x return on ad spend.
Aiming for Audience
DEAs revise the way multiple event marketers acquire audiences. Rather than canvasing ads to loosely targeted groups based on geography or demographic, DEAs meet focused fan interest with action. If you’re a Weird Al fan and you visit Pepper Entertainment’s event page for an upcoming Weird Al show, guess what? You’ll receive an ad perfect for your “Amish Paradise” loving self.
The result? Successful click-through rates. A 0.59% purchase rate is no joke.
What ToneDen offers Pepper Entertainment in terms of audience construction isn’t limited to DEAs. He loves “being able to build the audiences as lookalikes for other pages” and “the budget optimization, putting our money on which audiences are doing best.” And with ToneDen’s interface, he doesn’t have to try to wear an analyst’s hat on top of all those others. “I can plainly look at the numbers and it all makes sense,” he says. “I can go back to another show and compare/contrast very quickly without having to delve into a bunch of analytics … My favorite new feature is the way ToneDen pulls all of the insights.”
While Bump would certainly recommend ToneDen to venues, promoters, advertising agencies, and festivals, he’s awed by what the platform could offer to “large national touring bands.” The possibilities are endless, Bump admits. “ToneDen is really good at staying ahead of the changes and always keeps getting better.”