Maine may be known for lobsters, moose (yes, moose), and lighthouses, but Waterfront Concerts is making the state a musical destination. At Waterfront, a promoter based out of Bangor — the town famously home to Stephen King — the only thing scary is how swiftly they’re growing.

“We’re going into our 10th season,” Pat Shaw, Director of Digital Marketing, tells ToneDen. Along with their 15,000-person capacity Darlings Waterfront Pavilion venue in Bangor, “We now run a venue in Rhode Island and another venue in Portland, Maine — these are both summer time venues. We’re booking shows all throughout the state of Maine at various different venues, large and small. Marketing-wise as a company, we touch around 200 shows a year.”

Maine Street Pier, Portand, ME

Yet, while Waterfront is expanding, their close-knit team remains a trim twenty-some people. “We still work out of [owner Alex Gray’s] garage,” Shaw says. “It’s a very big garage. It used to be a lot smaller. At one point in time, there were nine of us, in this one small garage space, which was pretty funny … But you learn a lot about everyone’s department when you’re on top of each other.”

While Shaw, a former graphic designer, definitely appreciates knowing the ins and outs of his industry, even a jack-of-all-trades can use a new set of tools. That’s why he’s on board with ToneDen.

Easier ≠ Hands-Off

Shaw’s day-to-day involves everything from working with budgets and ad plans to strategizing Waterfront’s social media. “On one hand,” he says, with ToneDen, “my job has gotten easier. On the other hand, I’d say my job has gotten much more involved because now I’m constantly thinking about which audiences can be used. Where can I pool a new audience from? Can I pull this here? Can I look at a previous buyer’s list from a different venue that we’ve done? It really opens up a lot more different opportunities.”

Presenting promoters like Waterfront with those different opportunities is one of ToneDen’s superpowers. The platform meets the two-pronged need pros like Shaw who are looking for support “with Facebook ads because of how much Facebook Ads Manager constantly changes, and trying to figure out an easier, better way to do it and help manage everything.”

Managing everything isn’t feasible, especially when you’re putting on hundreds of shows a year. “Before ToneDen,” Shaw says, “you’re always trying to pay attention to your ads. You’d have to work them every single day and try to optimize and figure out which ad is running best … Was this image working better than this image? We were always guessing and trying to figure out what the Ads Manager platform was doing, trying to make sure our money was best being spent.”

If you want growth, you have to give up the guessing games — simple as that.

Taking Charge with Dynamic Event Ads

One way to stop leaving your marketing to chance is to take control of your calendar. If you’re doing multiple things — i.e., marketing multiple events — time is at a premium. 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.”

Still, calendar ads served a necessary function, which is why ToneDen developed Dynamic Event Ads. With Dynamic Event Ads, Shaw is able to promote Waterfront Concert’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 Waterfront Concerts, has been astounding. A recent DEA playbook that Shaw set up for Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion’s event calendar reached some 570 fans. Of the 40 people who clicked on the ad, 19 bought tickets — an incredible 47% purchase rate. At the end of the day, just a $30 investment in Darling’s campaign brought in over $3.4K — a 115.5x return on ad spend.

The Future is DEAs

“This is where things are going,” Shaw says. “For events, a ticket is really a product. E-commerce have been using Dynamic Product Ads for years. It’s about time the events industry can get on board. It’s going to be very helpful to stretch budgets and always try to find money here and there. Artists are always making more money. The more we can stretch our budgets, the better.”

“For events, a ticket is really a product. E-commerce have been using Dynamic Product Ads for years. It’s about time the events industry can get on board.”

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 an Ozzy fan and you visit Waterfront Concert’s event page for an upcoming Ozzy show, guess what? You’ll receive an ad perfect for your “Crazy Train”-riding self.

The result? Successful click-through rates. A 47% purchase rate is no joke.

What ToneDen offers Shaw isn’t limited to DEAs. “I really like the Facebook Messenger Playbooks. Especially for pre-sales. Being able to have people comment on an image, then send you the message, then be able to give them a pre-sale code, I think it’s really beneficial.”

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