Nirvana called it their favorite venue ever. The sounds of Smashing Pumpkins, Joan Baez, Bo Diddley, and Pearl Jam have echoed off its brick walls. Ann Arbor’s Blind Pig is as legendary as CBGB or Whisky A Go Go, even if it is tucked away in a university town forty miles west of Detroit.
Zachary Tocco has headed up marketing at the Pig for more than ten years; he also runs that show at Detroit’s Majestic Theatre Center. In short, this Michigander’s had a front-row seat to some of the biggest changes in the music industry, and the Motor City: “It’s night and day from three or four years ago — it’s a place I can fully endorse now.”
Something else that Tocco fully endorses? ToneDen, the social marketing platform he uses across properties. Far from just a tool, ToneDen, in Tocco’s view, is a key to maintaining trust with his talent buyer by helping his talent buyer build better relationships with agents.
“They’ve gained an understanding through my enthusiasm about ToneDen, which has helped us build a line of trust.”
“Trust” isn’t what comes to mind when describing the relationship between talent buyers, show marketers, and agents. In fact, talent buyers and agents have long been hesitant about investing in Facebook advertising. “For a lot of promoters,” Tocco says, “there’s still a little gnawing voice in the back of their head saying, ‘Is Facebook a black hole? Am I just throwing away money on the platform?’”
The idea that an act should drive audience — as Wayne’s World 2 puts it: “If you book them, they will come” — has been the talent buyer’s prevailing logic, one bemoaned by marketers and agents. And, even if they are willing to spend on advertising, Tocco notices, too often those talent buyers are focusing on the easiest-to-read metrics: reach, clicks, engagement.
While digital marketing makes it hard for talent buyers to ignore the crucial role social media plays in promoting a show, sophisticated campaigns are in order. “What we’re starting to see is that, as [talent buyers] end up booking good shows, there needs to be good marketing to supplement that.”
Thanks to ToneDen, good marketing is not only possible, it’s nearly automatic, which makes it easy for marketers like Tocco to share their success with buyers. Tocco began a trial with ToneDen — “all the components I needed were there” — and shortly after he ran his first campaign (nbd: it netted 32x ROI) he knew the power of the platform was “undeniable.”
The metrics matter to marketers like Tocco, of course, but they matter even more to his talent buyer.
“Engagement alone, especially for a talent buyer, is not enough. When you have a measurable thing like conversion and ROI, that becomes really powerful.”
Take the on-sale campaign Tocco recently ran for the Ron Asheton 70th Birthday Celebration at the Pig. For this conversion campaign, Tocco spent $200 over 14 days, reaching some 8,000 people, 600 of whom clicked. 24 fans ultimately purchased and Tocco’s campaign brought in more than $1200.
A settlement report from ToneDen armed Tocco with all those details in a format that even the busiest talent buyer could digest. It’s a report card, proof that the agent did a great job on the show and can trust the talent buyer and marketer in the future. And this is why he believes that ToneDen is absolutely essential for anyone marketing today.
“The reports do the job,” Tocco says. “They create the link between myself (the user of the software) and the talent buyer whose shows are on the line.” Combined with features like the ability to automate Facebook Messenger communication through various Playbooks, ToneDen is a tool no one in the music industry would want to live without.