At night, the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center looks like an iceberg in the desert. Situated between Odessa and Midland, Texas, surrounded by oil fields and pump jacks, on any given date Wagner Noël’s stage might be graced by a performance of Tosca, the Dancing with the Stars Tour, Paw Patrol — or Jerry Seinfeld.

“We just had Jerry Seinfeld come for his fourth performance,” Ginny Van Doren, Marketing Manager of Wagner Noël tells ToneDen. “He keeps selling out because he brings it, and people here are super reactive … You can just tell they’re having a good time.”

Since opening in 2011, as a branch of the University of Texas at the Permian Basin, Wagner Noël has been committed to hosting world-class, multicultural arts. The region is growing, but entertainment options remain scarce. (Seinfeld joked his wife reminded him “to hydrate because there’s no water close,” Van Doren says, noting, “of course we have running water”).

Jokes aside, Midland County’s not exactly Manhattan. “This may be some people’s only show for the entire year,” says Van Doren. “It’s nice to be a part of that experience.”

Van Doren’s is a whiz in marketing — she has a Master’s in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Special Events — but, even still, when she told me she’d gone from managing events at a venue that hosted 50 concerts a year to Wagner Noël, where, they host 50 concerts every two months, I was in awe. “It’s definitely different,” she says. “That’s why ToneDen has been a lifesaver.”

Capturing the Pre-Sale

A friend at Interscope introduced Von Doren to ToneDen, and she was instantly sold. “ToneDen makes it super easy to digest and see, yes, this worked. With things getting more complicated as far as digital media is concerned, I just don’t have the luxury of deep-diving into the analytics.”

For any busy marketing department, a streamlined strategy is of the utmost importance. That’s why ToneDen’s Playbooks are so useful. These two-in-one programs marry marketing objectives, linking what would’ve once been discrete actions or campaigns to create multifaceted gameplans.

Van Doren used ToneDen’s Pre-Sale Playbook for a niche show at Wagner Noël. “Capturing Pablo” stars Javier Peña and Steve Murphy, the DEA officers who captured Pablo Escobar. Featured on NARCOS, Peña and Murphy’s first-hand account is fascinating — albeit a bit tricky, for a marketer.

“You can’t quite tie that into another concert-type,” Van Doren explains. “As far as identifying who potential buyers may be based off of past buyers.” It was clearly the perfect time to try out a Playbook.

ToneDen’s Pre-Sale Playbook is built on the belief that a successful pre-sale leads to to more purchases, which, in turn, lets you sell out an event faster. But a successful pre-sale means communication. It’s not enough to just send fans a pre-sale code. Everyone likes a reminder.

For the “Capturing Pablo” Pre-Sale Playbook, Wagner Noël created an ad announcing the show — when it would take place, when tickets would go on sale — on Facebook. Any fans who commented on the ad received a message from Wagner Noël, asking people to reply, confirming they wanted the pre-sale code. Fans got one more message when pre-sale actually began, helping them remember to hop on those tickets!

The Playbook astounded Van Doren — and Wagner Noël fans. “Even though it’s autogenerated, people are like, ‘thanks so much, I just bought six tickets.’ People are engaging with [the messages] beyond what I had initially thought. I thought that people might think of it as a robot, when, technically, it is, but people are responding to it more personally. A pre-sale e-blast? I never get an email back saying, ‘thanks, just bought tickets.’”

Considering every analytic, the Capturing Pablo Playbook was a success. Almost 19k people engaged with the initial conversion campaign post. When the on-sale message got sent, 49 people commented and 41 of them subscribed to Wagner Noël’s Messenger list. That’s almost an 84% opt-in rate. Most excitingly, the campaign sold 35 tickets: in total, a 22.8x ROAs.

Van Doren thinks of Playbooks as the new email marketing — and Messenger as a next-level tool. “Through Facebook Messenger, you’re going to be more likely to get in front of the person who’s already shown they have an interest in your show vs e-blasting your targeted segment and just kind of hoping that maybe they’re interested. It really puts you in front of the people who have self-identified, ‘I’m interested, I want to hear more.’”

I’m 10,000x more likely to open a Facebook message than I am to read beyond the subject line of an email.

With its innovations, its intuitiveness, and its centrality, ToneDen has helped usher Wagner Noël’s marketing into the next phase. As Van Doren puts it: “as the industry in general grows, ToneDen is growing with it.”

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