The old saying is “it takes a village.” But for the marketing team at Prime Social Group, which pretty much owns the college demographic for concerts and festivals, it takes … four. Four people.
Four people promoting around 100 club shows per year. And 15 festivals.
Um — what?
It’s possible with the right partner. That’s why the team took time out of running the busiest programming schedule you can imagine to chat with ToneDen. Marketing Director Cristian Daraban, Social Media Manager Sarah Drees, Director of Operations Jordan Canada, and Booking Coordinator Mike Avdey shared insights about how to be, and become, rockstars in the concert and festival promotion world.
It’s wisdom you can trust — PSG is in constant marketing mode. Even if math’s not your forte, you can guesstimate: all those shows and festivals (averaging one per month) mean massive campaigns with tons of ads. And things are only ramping up. How does PSG manage to thrive in the chaos?
With ToneDen, “we could see what was working and what wasn’t working,” Drees says. “Just being able to make adjustments based on what worked or didn’t work made a really big difference in our campaigns.”
Prime Music Festival. Haunted Fest. The Number Fest. The list goes on and on. If you’re a music lover in Ohio or Indiana, Michigan or Tennessee, odds are you’ve been to a PSG event. Their reach is growing, too. Abroadfest is right around the corner in Barcelona, Spain. And Breakaway Music Festival, PSG’s largest production, is coming to North Carolina.
As anyone involved in music marketing knows, there’s never enough time. In the months and weeks leading up to a festival, PSG might run as many as 50 ads. It’s hard to believe there could be any room for getting into the nitty-gritty with micro-targeting or even weekly meetings.
There wasn’t, not really, Daraban admits — not before ToneDen. “When we were building out the campaigns first, the targeting was … very vague in a certain sense.”
What the team discovered, though, is that it pays to dive deep. And it’s especially helpful if you have the time. (Enter ToneDen.) Daraban and Drees instituted regular sit-downs to tweak, analyze, and, eventually, celebrate.
“If we saw we spent $150 and nobody converted,” Daraban says, “it’s time to go in there and … [ask], ‘What’s wrong? Why aren’t people converting or spending?’ That helped us a lot: … ‘Nobody’s converting? Time to stop this ad, recreate the ad, maybe just tweak the targeting, the money’ … Let’s say we had a $500 ad and we’d only spent $100. That means we have $400 to stop that ad and recreate it, and repurpose that budget in a different fashion.”
ToneDen let PSG see, study, and respond to the analytics — or, as Director of Operations Canada put it, “get into the science of our performance.”
Breakthroughs at Breakaway
If any of PSG’s festivals warrant scientific scrutiny, it’s got to be Breakaway Fest. The festival is more like four festivals, each happening in a different city in a different state—Columbus, Grand Rapids, Nashville, and Charlotte. “The largest multi-market electronic and hip-hop music festival brand in the nation,” Breakaway alums have included Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Halsey, Wu-Tang Clan, Odesza, Migos, and many more.
Each Breakaway is capable of bringing in upwards of 30,000 fans. With that goal in mind, PSG’s marketing team turned to ToneDen to market the festival.
As Daraban recalls, “We started expanding the targeting specifically within the age group, trying out different messaging, and targeting specifically other artists, different regions, expanding upon the regions.”
This proved key. Says Drees: “You could save an audience and make just small adjustments — that was really helpful and definitely saved me a lot of time. So because we save time, we were able to take that time we used and spend it looking back at ads and seeing what worked and what didn’t work, where as if I hadn’t save that time, it would be harder to make those adjustments.”
Breakaway Festival Nashville
One of PSG’s most successful campaigns was a ToneDen Playbook for a Ticket Giveaway for Breakaway Festival in Nashville. PSG ran a ticket giveaway; more than 300 people entered. From there, a boosted post gave Breakaway diehards the chance to opt-in to Breakaway’s Messenger channel.
The numbers grew and grew. That boosted post found 20,000 fans, 5% of whom engaged. From the 400+ conversations began on Messenger, 86% subscribed and 83% clicked on the contest link.
Breakaway Festivals—Grand Rapids and Columbus
But even wilder were the Breakaway Festival Grand Rapids’ results. PSG’s team used an Instagram Stories Playbook from ToneDen to retarget audiences that yielded a 75x return on ad spend. Just a thousand advertising bucks netted Breakaway Grand Rapids more than $75k.
Breakaway Festival Columbus used the same Playbook as well. Check out how PSG crushed their retargeting numbers:
Growing — Minus the Growing Pains
What Prime Social Group is doing is exceptional. They’re putting on a robust lineup of shows and festivals — and doing it lean. But things are changing. “We are growing in size,” Canada tells us, “in employees, events and venues.”
With more events come more campaigns; with more campaigns come more need for strategy. And so Daraban remains grateful for how well ToneDen plays with others. “There’s a lot of API connectability that needs to go into Google analytics, a lot of other integrations to set up your Facebook ad campaigns to be able to read those conversions accurately.” He loves “being able to see that on the front page of your campaign when you’re looking at the overall ads you’re running.”
The integration, the interface, the efficiency — the team at PSG cites all of these as factors that have led them to recommend ToneDen for marketers working with paid ads. “In Facebook,” Drees says, “those ads can be so tedious and so detail-oriented. [ToneDen] can definitely help make it a little quicker.”
Daraban underscores this:
“I feel like you have to have some sort of bootcamp to be able to understand Facebook Ads Manager at a really high level. The cool thing is that ToneDen will be the mechanical expert on the back end for you so all you do is execute your campaigns.”
And that’s why Booking Coordinator Avdey is glad his team uses ToneDen. “For someone that may not know all the backend of Ads Manager, ToneDen automates everything and makes it easier for you.”