Welcome to Getting Granular
The podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the digital marketing industry.
Leadership Series: Pabst Theater Group – Brittany Einberger
In this episode, we’re lucky enough to have Brittany (Schumacher) Einberger join us for a special interview. Brittany manages the digital marketing efforts at the Pabst Theater Group (PTG). Putting on more than 700 events a year, the PTG is one of Milwaukee’s biggest event venues for concerts, comedy, theater, and mire. Brittany shares how they use digital to not only drive ticket sales, but to grow the music and event culture in Milwaukee.
What you’ll learn in this episode of Getting Granular:
- Brittany’s background in digital and how she landed at Pabst Theater Group (PTG)
- The marketing mix at PTG and why digital is a major focus for them
- How they approach marketing for each specific show and their process
- Brittany shares insight on search marketing and what they have learned running digital ads
- The different strategies to target local and out of town audiences
- Brittany’s thought on paid social media and how they use different platforms for each marketing goal
Announcer: Welcome to Getting Granular, the podcast where digital marketing experts from the agency Granular talk about the latest trends, tried and true best practices, and share their unfiltered thoughts about the industry. Whether you’re here to learn how to grow your business, improve your digital skills, or just want to hear some Midwest PPC experts rant about digital media, you’ve come to the right place.
Steve Kroll: Welcome to the Getting Granular podcast. I’m your host, Steve Kroll. I’m the vice president at the agency Granular. In today’s episode, I talk to Brittany, the digital marketing manager at the Pabst Theater Group. The Pabst Theater Group is one of the Midwest’s leading entertainment organizations with four great music venues. Brittany, she spends a lot of time in this episode talking about how they use digital marketing to drive ticket sales and attendance for over 700 events that take place across these four venues.
Steve Kroll: In this episode, you’re going to hear about how they use Facebook ads, they’re all analytics play, how they look at branded search, and just overall how their measuring the engagement of their audience from a digital perspective and how that’s translating into real dollars. So happy to dive into this.
Steve Kroll: Brittany, thanks for coming to Granular Studios to record this podcast.
Brittany: Thanks for having me.
Steve Kroll: So we got to know each other a couple of years ago when Granular started the relationship with Summerfest. When you were there at Summerfest, you were overseeing their social media, everything that went into that. I was really fascinated with what the inner workings were at Summerfest, and after you left Summerfest, you went to go join the team at Pabst Theater Group, and got to talk to you and learn what you were doing there, and it’s really fascinating understanding a little bit of the scope of Pabst Theater Group, getting to learn more from you in terms of everything that goes into running all of the marketing for that on the digital side and thought you’d be a great guest for the Granular podcast and talking about everything that goes into that. Hopefully we can just cover some ground on what you do there, how you got into digital, and the role that digital marketing plays at Pabst Theater Group.
Brittany: Sounds great.
Steve Kroll: So maybe just get into some background in terms of how you arrived at Pabst Theater Group.
Brittany: Yeah, so I graduated from UW Madison with a communications major. Initially had wanted to be a news anchor but ended up getting into copywriting. So I worked for Kohl’s corporate, moved to Milwaukee, and writing has always been my biggest passion, my biggest interest. So that’s kind of where I got into that, and I ended up doing digital copywriting for them.
Brittany: Shortly thereafter, I went to a interior design company, and they had no marketing department at all. Like, they didn’t have Facebook, they didn’t have Twitter. They had a very, very basic website that they had put together. So it was actually really cool and exciting thing for me to come into because I basically just got to overhaul this entire company. So it was an amazing learning experience because it was so incredibly hands-on where I had the opportunity to start everything from scratch.
Brittany: After that, I ended up getting a really amazing opportunity as the digital marketing specialist at Summerfest, which we know is the world’s largest music festival, and that was interesting because when I came on I assumed that Summerfest would have 10 marketing people, or …
Steve Kroll: Right.
Brittany: And so after I got the job, I had said, “Okay, who am I going to be working with?”
Brittany: And they’re like, “Well, it’s kind of just you.” So that was really … I mean of course we had a marketing director, but everyone was handling different things like sponsorships or radio buys and things like that. So I was completely in charge of our email, our social for hundreds of thousands of people. So that was a really amazing opportunity, and I, about three years ago, I got a job as the digital marketing manager for Pabst Theater Group which we run four music venues: the Riverside Theater, Pabst Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, and then The Back Room at Colectivo. Plus we do a few one off events with Fiserv Forum and the BMO Harris Pavilion with Summerfest. So we run about 700 events a year now compared to Summerfest which was 11 days, but now … So I’m in charge of managing all of the digital budgets, placements, managing our email, social, any PPC, any organic stuff we do kind of runs through me.
Steve Kroll: Wow, so what you’re saying is there isn’t really anything that you have to do on a day to day basis, it’s all pretty easy.
Brittany: It’s super easy. I don’t do … Yeah.
Steve Kroll: So for people here in the Milwaukee area, they’re very familiar with Pabst Theater Group if there’s a comedian, a band, an author, anyone that you’re interested in seeing, odds are you’ve been at one of the Pabst Theater Group venues, but for people not in the Milwaukee area, maybe help contextualize Pabst Theater Group in terms of what they do and kind of the scope of who they are in the state of Wisconsin.
Brittany: Yeah, so we’re one of the biggest music venues in the state. We have everything from somebody like Jerry Seinfeld coming to the Riverside or Dave Chappelle coming multiple sold out nights to a local singer-songwriter that you’ve never heard of coming to our smaller Back Room at Colectivo. We do a lot of comedians come. Podcasts are actually very popular. Live podcasts are becoming super popular shows for us. We just had My Favorite Murder for two sold out shows.
Steve Kroll: Yeah, I heard about that, and I wasn’t familiar with this, but it was a huge deal on my social media hearing about this. Like, “Oh my god, this is crazy. It’s coming here to Milwaukee,” and I felt out of the loop.
Brittany: Yeah, and that was a great show for us because we didn’t have to do any marketing for that show. It basically sold itself so we love those shows.
Brittany: So yeah, we do basically … like I said, we do about 700 events a year. Anywhere from a huge arena show, we had Mumford and Sons earlier this year, to like I said a very small … We like to have a lot of up and coming artists come, and our goal is to have those smaller artists come to our Back Room at Colectivo which is around 200 people, and we just recently had an artist come there about a year ago, and now he’s playing the Riverside which is over 2,000 people, and this happened in a year’s time span.
Brittany: One of the big things about our company is really being involved in Milwaukee’s music and comedy scene and getting that … Sorry.
Steve Kroll: No, [crosstalk 00:07:34].
Brittany: And getting that information out there to people and building these artists and building this kind of entertainment industry within Milwaukee.
Steve Kroll: Yeah, it’s really cool to see, and I’m really excited. Not just because … I hit you up every once in a while to see if you can score Hanson tickets for my wife, but also just getting to see that behind these music venues that all of us here in the area have been to, there is a team that has to make that happen behind the scenes, and I know that you guys are quite active with email, with social media, with paid advertising. So maybe you could help illuminate when you came to Pabst Theater Group maybe what were some of the different channels that were in place and maybe talk about the role that, for instance, digital marketing plays for you guys.
Brittany: Digital marketing has actually become our biggest tool at Pabst Theater Group. Previously, we did a lot of shows, and we still use a lot of traditional marketing. We still do radio, TV, some print. The thing about our audience is that it’s completely varied. There could be a show like Mac DeMarco that’s a young, indie crowd that’s coming, and all of those people are obviously very in tune with Instagram, Facebook, our email list, and then we’ll have something come like Chris Isaak or kind of an older audience where those people were not … or Amy Grant we have coming, and some of these artists don’t even have Facebooks. They definitely don’t have Instagram. They barely have a website.
Brittany: So that’s kind of an interesting thing that we’re tasked with with every single show is one, to first gauge how much of a digital show this is for us, how much of a digital audience, and that’s kind of how then we decide our budget, and I would say about 70% of our budget is digital for most shows. With the exception of when we have kind of a smaller audience that people are still trying to figure out or an older audience that we are still hitting those people on TV or postcards or kind of the old school way of marketing shows.
Brittany: But in general, I would say 70-80% of our spends are digital for our shows.
Steve Kroll: Wow, and it makes sense just thinking about how efficient it is, the targeting, just how you’re able to reach your audience. You have a big email list. I think it’d be interesting if you could just walk through … With Pabst Theater Group, you guys are constantly rolling out event announcements, and just from a marketing standpoint digitally we see … What I’ll see is there will be the announcement, there will be the announcement of the presale when that’s going to come, the actual presale, the lead up to the event, and then the event that happens. Maybe kind of walk through behind the scenes what are you doing or what’s your approach in terms of when you know that there’s going to be an act coming months down the line, and you have to promote it on digital kind of what you’re doing with email, what you’re doing with Facebook, with Google, etc.
Brittany: What we do is we have an ad plan that we create, a marketing plan, for every show, and that will include all of our digital activity whether it’s paid or organic. So our emails, everything that we do, and then radio, any radio or TV buys. We have that all set up for the launch, and generally we’ll work with an artist management team. We will provide a marketing plan for them to review, ask their opinion on what has worked well for them previously. A lot of times we have repeat artists so we kind of have a template we kind of work on depending on how the show has performed in the past. We utilize our past buyers on our email and social as well.
Brittany: So right away we have a very awesome email list. So that’s one of our biggest draws. We have our [eMembers 00:12:00] weekly newsletter that goes out every single Monday, and that’s generally when we have most of our show announcements are on Mondays. And then we’ll hit our past buyers, and then we’ll target them on Facebook.
Brittany: So our goal is that pretty much anyone that’s been to see this band before or is a fan, they’re not going to miss this announce. Whether they follow us or not, we try to hit them kind of from everything. For our bigger kind of mainstream shows at the Riverside Theater, which is our biggest venue, we generally also will do paid posts through our radio and TV partners. So that’s one thing that has kind of changed is while we continue to work in the traditional platforms of radio and TV, we actually end up doing a lot more digital with them than we used to do just kind of the paid commercials or things like that. So that’s been actually a huge draw for us to get that mainstream audience that maybe isn’t fully following us on Facebook or following the band on Facebook that they like, but we know we can hit these kind of key people within the greater Milwaukee area because most of them are following these news stations or radio stations that they love.
Steve Kroll: Got you. So I am curious, and thanks for sharing that by the way, I am curious in terms of what sort of metrics that you’re looking at because with digital metrics you’ve got open rates on emails, click-through rates, people who are wanting to be notified when tickets go on sale, and then the eventually purchase you have the Etix platform that you book shows through, maybe talk through what you’re looking at to see how well certain shows are pacing. In certain scenarios if you see a show does look like it might need some help, what are some of the indicators and maybe what are you doing on the ad side or the email side?
Brittany: So we do tracking links for almost everything that we put out because, especially with the launch or the presale, it’s coming from so many different directions whether that be coming from our venue’s social, or a paid partner’s social, from our separate email campaigns that we have because a lot of times we’ll end up sending out multiple emails that week about a show, or in the following weeks.
Brittany: So we’re constantly looking at the analytics, and sometimes it’s interesting for us because what we find is that most of our revenue comes from Google branded search, and so sometimes it’s a little hard to tell do they just know our brand and do they know this person is coming? So they’re just goggling Pabst Theater, whatever show, are they seeing it on Facebook, are they hearing it on the radio.
Brittany: But in general, Google branded search is our number one, and then our email is number two for revenue, and then Facebook and our Google AdWords campaigns kind of alternate between third and fourth place.
Steve Kroll: Thanks for sharing that. That’s really interesting. I think a lot of marketers can get pretty obsessed with trying to figure out the attribution, and if you’re seeing that people are just typing in Pabst Theater Group and then purchasing, from a marketing perspective you can’t really draw a lot of insights and say, “All right, I guess we just need to get more people to type in our brand name,” because there’s just so many factors that go into that like you mention.
Steve Kroll: But it is interesting that you get into some of those secondary insights and looking at some of the channels. Do you notice are there certain market … like Wisconsin obviously is a strong performing market, but do you see that for certain types of acts that people are willing to travel a further distance? Do you just get the sense that certain types of artists or certain types of acts can just draw further audiences based on what you’re seeing with the engagement on the digital side?
Brittany: Yeah, we definitely get a lot of people that come from the greater Chicago area as well which is interesting because obviously they have a very big entertainment scene themselves. We find that jam band fans will travel pretty much anywhere to go see their favorite band, and they’ll see them multiple times. We hit Madison a lot, Green Bay for kind of the classic rock shows people will travel far and wide to come see us.
Brittany: One of the first things we always do when an artist comes is we look to see if they’re touring anywhere else in the state or around Chicago, and then if we’re the only place in Wisconsin or Chicago that are having this artist, we do definitely hit the greater Wisconsin region and Chicago as well, and we find that we get a really good amount of people that come. Especially if it’s a weekend show. Obviously those do better for us as well. Comedy weekend shows have more likelihood that people are coming from other places besides the Milwaukee area.
Steve Kroll: That’s great insight. These are things, again, that when you go there and you see these shows you’re not thinking about that, but from a marketing standpoint when you were at Summerfest and then here at Pabst Theater Group, it’s interesting to break it down that way and notice there’s a correlation between these different sorts of behaviors. I would imagine that if someone’s a really well known brand or a big act, you guys aren’t going to have to … It’s not like it’s going to be a mystery in terms of what draws people there sometimes. Just the announcement of a big act being at one of your venues can get them there, but it’s been really interesting to see what you guys have been able to do with a lot of these acts where maybe they have really niche followings. You have everyone from certain authors. You mention podcasts, YouTubers. Your Back Room at Colectivo which is … is that your newest venue that you have from a music standpoint?
Brittany: That is. That was about three years ago that we started booking acts there.
Steve Kroll: And it seems like, and I don’t know maybe you could tell me if I’m wrong, but it seems like digital has played a big role in the Back Room at Colectivo in terms of … Maybe talk about some of the types of acts that will be at the Back Room versus some of the other venues.
Brittany: Yeah, that’s an interesting one because in general one of our biggest performers for artists is ads through to their Facebook fans directly. So then when you have an artist that comes that has 500 followers, sometimes less, sometimes more, you kind of have to work around that, and that’s when we use our digital audience that we have of past buyers from similar shows, and we really use the marketing tactic of if you like So-and-So, come check out this band.
Brittany: The great thing about the Back Room is that it’s a really cool, unique venue, and you can see these smaller acts in this really intimate venue that if they do blow up, which hopefully that’s what we want, you can say you saw them back when they were able to play to a couple hundred people, and usually the tickets are less than $25 so even if you’re not super onboard and you don’t fully know this artist’s complete album, history, it’s just like yeah, it’s a Friday night. I’m looking to go out on the town and hang out with my friends. I’m going to check out this awesome band.
Brittany: I mean, we have a lot of bluegrass artists that come to the Back Room. Folk. We have a lot of indie shows. One of the big ones that we recently had was, I’m not sure if you’re familiar, her name’s Mitski, and she’s kind of blown up in the indie world since we’ve recently had her. It’s just kind of Angel Olsen, Beach House-esque kind of dreamy pop music, and she sold out the Back Room at Colectivo, and hopefully we get her back soon. I could see her playing Pabst Riverside, definitely.
Steve Kroll: Wow, that’s awesome that you could have that type of growth and leap, and there’s another band that my wife is a big fan of, Magic Giant, she’s seen a couple of times there at Back Room, and they seem to be in that similar camp where I could really see them eventually moving from that Back Room … I don’t know. They also seem like they really like the energy and just the venue itself at the Back Room, but that’s cool when you can see a smaller act who you kind of latch onto early, they’re at the Back Room, and it’s a really intimate experience. Then when they move on to maybe a potentially bigger venue, there’s that association they have. Because even though they’re different venues it’s still in that Pabst Theater Group family of venues. So that’s really cool that you’ve got these different venues that can accommodate different types of acts.
Brittany: Right, and I think some people get intimidated going to larger shows or feel like they just want more of a laid back experience, and there are seats at all of our venues except for Turner Hall, but the Back Room I think allows for kind of more of that laid back, “I’m just coming to check this out. I’m not sure if I like this artist,” but generally we always get really good feedback about our shows that come here. That people are like, “I have never heard of this band.”
Brittany: For me, half the … When we announce a Back Room show, I’m immediately going on Spotify and looking up who this band is because obviously then it helps me decide how we’re going to promote on our email and social and what other artists I’m going to target so that I can say, “Okay, if you like Angel Olsen you’ll like Mitski,” or something like that.
Steve Kroll: That’s great. If you can talk about this a little bit in terms of tactics and targeting. So if you’re cool with kind of diving more into the tactics and how you’re using some of these channels. You talked a little bit about Facebook, but just to switch gears and talk about Google, maybe. If you could share some insights in terms of the role that Google Ads plays in the Pabst Theater Group and your business. You’d mentioned it was branded search is the number one channel. There’s email, and then you mentioned Google Ads and Facebook. Maybe talk about the role Google Ads plays.
Brittany: Yeah, we run Google Ads for the majority of our shows except usually not for our Back Room or Turner Hall shows. So most of our big shows we are running Google Ads at the launch, and then we run a maintenance campaign to just keep it topical for people, and then we run kind of a relaunch at the end when we’re about a month out from a show. The interesting thing for us that makes Google Ads different is that it helps us with the issue of scalpers, which I think probably a lot of other businesses might not have to deal with.
Brittany: So a big thing for us that we’re always actually checking is, “Is there a site above us?” There’s fake Riverside Theater sites. There’s ticketing sites that we don’t want people to buy tickets from. So our goal is always to make sure that we’re top of that list because we don’t want people to buy fake tickets. We don’t want them to buy from a strange source. So that is something we always do have to be on top of and make sure that people are clicking on the right things, and that’s especially important because we’re always looking to have people that have never been to our shows come.
Brittany: Like I said, most people know our brand in Milwaukee so they are just going to type in Pabst Theater and then the artist, but for someone that’s unfamiliar with the name, and they’re trying to find a show in Milwaukee, we want to make sure that they’re coming to the right place.
Steve Kroll: That’s really interesting insight that it’s just as much of a defensive strategy as it is an awareness, and I would have to imagine because you’re dealing with consumers they can go on Facebook and Google, or Twitter, and they’ll say, “Oh, I bought fake tickets from Pabst Theater Group, and I’m not happy. One star review,” and if you weren’t running Google Ads then you could have potentially up to four other advertisers on top of you. Maybe that would happen a lot more frequently to you guys if some of these scalper websites were showing up more prominently.
Brittany: Right, and we’ve had instances where people have complained about a customer service issue not even realizing that it’s not us that we have to say, “Hey, always make sure you’re coming directly from our website. Here’s where we are.” We try really hard to make sure that we’re always top for people, and that’s something that we do on a weekly basis is just kind of go through all of our campaigns that are running and making sure that when we type in our shows that we’re the first people that show up because it is a customer service issue if people are unsure where they’re going.
Steve Kroll: That’s a really good approach to it, and to jump to Facebook, what … Do you guys run ads on Instagram as well, or is it just on Facebook?
Brittany: We do almost always on Instagram as well.
Steve Kroll: Okay. So there’s the newsfeed on Facebook and Instagram, and there’s also stories on both platforms, and I think messenger as well technically. Working on the in house side, you’re promoting 700 shows a year, probably potentially more because as you get halfway through the year, you’re promoting shows for the upcoming year. What differences do you notice between Facebook and Instagram from an engagement reach standpoint created … maybe just anything you can share there would be insightful.
Brittany: We’ve kind of taken a different approach recently to Facebook and Instagram that we found has worked really well for us is we’ve been using Instagram as more of kind of what it started as which was a photo platform and a completely digital thing. We do utilize stories quite a bit, and that’s where we put all of our announcements because we do know we have that younger, especially that younger audience that might only be on Instagram and not really be utilizing Facebook or Twitter as much anymore. So we don’t want to completely lose those people, but we’ve definitely found that Instagram is more where we do kind of our fun photos and videos, any fun gifs that we have related to the show. It’s less of a hard sell, I would say.
Brittany: That being said, when we work with artist posts, we’re definitely still utilizing Instagram Ads because a lot of artists, especially comedians we’re finding, have a way bigger audience on Instagram than they do anywhere else. So that’s where we want to hit. For example, we just announced Eric Andre today, and he really doesn’t utilize Facebook very much, and he has almost like 2 million followers. Or he doesn’t utilize Facebook, but he has about 2 million followers on Instagram. So obviously it’s kind of a no brainer like that’s where we’re hitting, that’s where we’re going to get his fans.
Brittany: So it’s based on artist for us when we’re kind of deciding how we’re going to advertise between Facebook and Instagram. Then age demographic plays a big role in that for us as well.
Steve Kroll: I guess that makes sense that you could have certain people like Eric Andre, 2 million followers on Instagram, but they’re not doing a lot on Facebook. I guess that is where it helps that Facebook owns Instagram because you can still reach that Instagram audience through the Facebook platform if you’re running ads.
Brittany: Right. And we do find in general, I think, and a general thing that we find on our social from the entertainment aspect of obviously we’re a music comedy venue that when we run ads we almost always use videos versus a static ad or a graphic that we create. Those perform so much better for us. They keep people engaged. Especially when we’re saying something like, “If you love Alabama Shakes, you should check out this band,” or, “Here’s this person’s new video. This new album is coming out.” We want to show people why they should be coming to our shows versus just kind of having a static ad of, “Here’s what Eric Andre looks like. He’s coming to the Riverside.”
Steve Kroll: Because you guys promote so many shows throughout the year, you’re active on Facebook, you’re active on Instagram, you run ads on Facebook. Do you also boost posts on Facebook or Instagram, or is it just the ads?
Brittany: We mostly just run ads.
Steve Kroll: Okay. Maybe share some insight in terms of why … We at Granular get to work with lots of different organizations that they’ll just strictly boost posts, and they think they’re running ads. Maybe just talk about why you guys leverage the ad, the specific ad functionality, within Facebook versus just strictly boosting posts.
Brittany: For us I think when we’re creating ads, I feel like we have a little more control than when we’re doing the general boost. Sometimes we get extremely, extremely targeted in who we’re hitting, or we’ll run multiple ads to different audiences at the same time to see what performs better, and from that standpoint I like to be able to go take a deep dive into Facebook Ads and kind of play around with the numbers, play around with the potential audience, bring in our past buyers or similar show audiences that we’ve created. So I just find that we have a little bit more control and they generally perform better for us as well.
Steve Kroll: Sweet. Yeah, I love hearing that. We’ve got so many people that can be spending thousands, even tens of thousands, a month, and they’ll be like, “I don’t know what Facebook Business Manager is. Isn’t boosting ads the same thing?” And we have to tell them there’s a very big difference in terms of the types of targeting you can do, the control, the granularity in terms of your messaging. You’re basically just taking an organic post that you’re posting and just saying hey … The way I equate it is like if you give a little child a toy steering wheel, and it’s got a little horn and a little throttle on it, and try and make them think it’s the same thing as driving a car, you know all the instruments that you get. That’s kind of how I try and equate the difference between boosting a post on Facebook versus actually running ads, so.
Brittany: It seems easier, and I think a lot of people starting out or that don’t have a lot of knowledge in Facebook will just say, “I want to put $200 behind this post, and I want to target every single person that lives in Milwaukee,” and to them that just makes the most sense. Everybody’s going to see this, I’m just putting this set amount of money into this, and that’s not necessarily how it works. You have to kind of say, “Think about all the other people that are doing that exact same thing and all of the competing companies that you’re going against on Facebook.”
Brittany: So that is when you have to get really targeted and have a strategy when you’re going in and working on ads, you don’t want to just throw your money at anybody. Especially when you have a specific product that you know you’re going to have certain people that are like, “I have no idea what this is. I don’t care.” That’s a waste even if it is reaching them, yes, but there are a lot of people that aren’t fans of certain artists.
Brittany: When we do have a mainstream show, obviously we do get a little more wide because … especially with our kids shows. Because obviously we’re not targeting children digitally, but we know it could be their mom, their grandma, their aunts and uncles, people of all different ages buying tickets for that. So that’s a type of show where we would be a little more generic in our targeting.
Steve Kroll: Yeah, so hearing you talk about this I guess I want to move onto talking about how you … The Pabst Theater Group, you’re really prominent. Lots of people go there including business owners and people who run newspapers and radio stations and agencies. How do you guys handle the work that your in house team is doing with marketing versus considering bringing in outside partners to assist, how do you balance that?
Brittany: For running as many events as we do, we actually have a pretty small staff which I think people are sometimes surprised by. So there’s about four of us on the marketing team, but we’re all kind of handling different things. So it can get a little stressful trying to prioritize every single show which is why I always say that organization is the biggest trait you need to have in an industry like this, which I never … Obviously I always thought my writing skills were important or analytics were important, but honestly just being able to keep everything organized and being able to kind of look at the bigger picture has been so important for my role.
Brittany: So we actually do run almost everything in house between a couple of us, but that being said we’re always looking at ways to kind of streamline the process especially as we know we’re just going to continue to grow. We’re not going to do less shows anytime soon. Chances are we’re going to be continuing to do more higher level shows.
Brittany: We definitely are always looking at ways to streamline things, make sure that … obviously there are times when you can’t manage 700 shows. I would say everyday I’m looking at 100 shows whether it’s just one quick little …
Steve Kroll: Wow.
Brittany: You know, whether it’s doing an email or responding to someone’s email about something, a band coming out with a new song, that I would say I probably, on a daily basis, touch about 100 shows a day. And everything we do is in house currently.
Steve Kroll: That’s such a different mindset from when we were working with you at Summerfest, we still worked with Summerfest, where you’re really building up for the anticipation of that period in the summer, what 10 day period, the two week period, and the summer we’re doing some announcements of some amphitheater shows. What you’re doing, it is music related, but it’s almost completely different, even though it is music related, that you’re having 100 different shows a day, you’re touching at, looking at, analyzing, and reporting, monitoring. That’s just a totally different mindset.
Brittany: Right, and you have to change your marketing perspective on every single show. So what I’m doing five minutes ago for MasterChef Junior is going to be completely different from when I’m posting about the new Whitney album coming out in a couple weeks.
Brittany: It’s really interesting to try to go, “Okay, now I’m working on a kids show, now I’m working on an indie show, now I’m working on a comedy show,” and they’re all completely different, and we’re hitting all different audiences. It is a lot, and we do use tools, marketing tools, to kind of help us organize better, make things easier. We use Hootsuite, we use Airtable, we use those kind of things for ourselves internally so that we can check all of our boxes. I have a very elaborate social and email calendar that I live and die by in a Google Doc, and if it went away I don’t know what would happen.
Steve Kroll: You want to see full blown meltdown and stress, I imagine that would be a nightmare situation for you.
Brittany: It’s just my kind of daily to-do list, and I have kind of show lists that I write down as well. Like I said, I have to be extremely, extremely organized to make sure that I’m hitting what I need to do and executing what I need to do for every single show on a day to day basis because just because a show launches in January and it’s in December doesn’t mean that we forget about it until a month before. We still have to be promoting that show all of the time until we lead up to the show.
Steve Kroll: Nice. Yeah, you talked about this a little in terms of what you do in your role to be successful. Maybe it’d be good if you can just share for other people who are enrolled similar to yourself on the in house side, what advice would you have, and you talked a little bit about in terms of the importance of being organized, but maybe if you could go back and tell yourself maybe when you started in your career, “Hey, this is what …” Fast forward, you know that you’re going to be this marketing manager on an in house team, what would you say are the important things to focus on?
Brittany: I would say having a good organizational system is number one for me. Prioritizing is a big thing. I’m a big fan of to-do lists, but I also have to know how much time to spend on a certain thing because when you have 100 shows that you’re touching every single day I have to know, “Okay, this is top priority at this moment for me,” and I just kind of go down the list. I think just not getting overwhelmed, and sometimes that’s easier said than done obviously, but for me I have a really good support system that I lean on. Everybody at Pabst Theater Group is always willing to jump in and help. We’re really, really good at turning things around very quickly. We’ve had show announces come through 45 minutes before, and we become so accustomed to it, and not to brag but I think pretty good at it, that it’s just kind of like an automatic, “Here’s what we do. Here’s how we get this going.”
Brittany: So I think just having that kind of support group and leaning on other people for … Even if they’re not in the digital marketing world, I often talk to our other people in marketing or our PR director and just say, “What do you think about this?” Or we have a lot of music fans in our company, and we always will go to them and be like, “You love this band. Where are you finding out about this? How are you hearing about this? Where do you get all of your information about shows? Are you telling people about it?” Things like that.
Brittany: So I think just kind of thinking outside the box, it can get pretty analytical and detailed when you’re working in the digital marketing world, but obviously it is the general marketing that you’re doing for something. So I think it’s important to just kind of make sure that you’re remembering that it’s not just all analytics.
Steve Kroll: Yeah, at the end of the day I think what I hear you saying is just try and be organized, not get overwhelmed, leveraging the resources around you, and not just trying to think you have to do everything yourself, putting yourself in the shoes of, “All right, instead of trying to imagine what it’d be like to create a persona of a fan, of this band, why don’t we just talk to people who are actually fans,” and they’ll say, “If you were to put that in an ad, you would instantly out yourself as someone who doesn’t know anything about that audience,” and all you had to do was talk to someone rather than try and do a bunch of research.
Brittany: Right, exactly. Someone could just say … You know, we utilize stuff like Bandsintown emails or JamBase emails for a lot of our shows, and if someone were to say, “I have no idea what that is, and I’m this band’s biggest fan,” that’s an obvious … In a lot of our emails, we do surveys where we ask people how they found out about each show, and we take that into account, and sometimes it’ll be so obvious that no one’s finding out about it on radio. They’re only finding out about it on Facebook.
Brittany: So just taking all of those things into consideration and not, I think, letting yourself get stuck in a box of, “This is how I market this show. This is how I market this audience.” Kind of listening to what other people have to say has been really important for us.
Steve Kroll: Yeah, that was going to be a followup question I was going to ask is are there any examples you can think of where the general public, your audience, customers, people who have been to shows, have shared feedback through surveys or through social media where your team on the marketing side has taken that and made certain changes or done anything differently as a result of what people who have attended shows at your venues have said?
Brittany: We’re always looking at what people are saying, and especially as someone who monitors our social, I get a lot of those comments, complaints, praise directly sent that I’m seeing … I mean we’re always listening about how to make things better. I know we’ve changed seating arrangements and things like that after finding out, “Oh, this didn’t work,” or people kind of had a hard time seeing, things like that.
Brittany: One of the main things for us is we want to make sure that people are getting these announcements that are important to them so if we do have something where someone would come and say, “I’m a huge fan of this person. I had no idea they were coming,” usually we’ll reach out to them and say, “Are you on our email list? Do you follow us on Facebook? Where did you miss this?” Because that’s obviously a very important thing to me. One of the last things we want is for someone to come two days before a show and say, “I never saw this.”
Steve Kroll: Something I did want to ask you is are there any other music venue groups around the country or marketers or anyone else from a leadership standpoint that you guys look to or you personally pay attention to what they’re doing, you feel like they’re doing things well, and try and learn from and apply to Pabst Theater Group?
Brittany: We’re always looking at other music venues. Specifically I know that we look a lot at First Ave in Minneapolis, The Ryman, Nashville. People local will connect to us. Like I said, we have good working relationships with Summerfest and Fiserv Forum who are also doing their own shows. So we often get together and kind of discuss … We work with The Marcus Center. We work with The [Rep 00:44:48]. You know, even though a lot of times we’re doing different kind of things, it’s just nice to talk with other entertainment groups within Milwaukee, and outside of Milwaukee, you had mentioned earlier that our ticketing company is Etix, and they work with a lot of other music venues all over the country. So we work with them a lot as well about what other venues are doing, kind of making sure that we stay on top of things. Always looking at other venues’ social media, what kind of different things they’re doing, seeing what their engagement is, if they’re doing anything fun and interesting, and taking that back with us.
Brittany: So at the end of the day, we’re all music fans, too, and if we see something we like or we go to shows in different places, someone will always come back and say, “There was this really cool experience in Minneapolis or in Chicago.”
Steve Kroll: Something I want to rewind and touch on is I think you have a unique perspective. At Summerfest you utilized Ticketmaster as a platform. At Pabst Theater Group you use Etix. I’ll try and steer clear of any of the business side of that, but as a marketer, how would you contrasts the pros and cons in terms of maybe conversion data or insights? I’m just curious just as someone where the Pabst Theater Group is the first time I was exposed to Etix, and I’ve started to see that more. I know the state fair utilized them this year as their ticketing platform here in Wisconsin.
Brittany: Yeah, I didn’t work a ton with Ticketmaster when I was at Summerfest. Obviously they’re kind of a behemoth of a company so Ticketmaster is Ticketmaster, and they do really well with retargeting. I have gotten many Ticketmaster emails, but the nice thing about Etix is that we do have … They’re really great with our analytics. They send us a weekly report. We have a phone call with them, we can talk to them at pretty much anytime and say, “Hey, we noticed this. This is kind of a unique thing,” or we always ask them, but still we look to them sometimes for what’s new in the ticketing world, what’s something that other venues are doing like we said because we can’t be watching every single venue. But in general, they’re kind of the same.
Steve Kroll: Yeah. No, I think that’s good insights that they … What I’ve heard there’s they’re going above and beyond just being a straight platform. They’re offering insights and analytics, and again that’s just something out of curiosity that as someone where we’re used to this world where if you would go to shows it’s, “Oh, I guess I’m going through Ticketmaster. If I’m going to a sporting event I’m going through Ticketmaster.” So with Pabst Theater Group partnering with Etix, and now we’ve started to see that with some other venues. I thought I’d ask you about it just being on the inside.
Steve Kroll: Because I think a lot of people … I mean, think of all the people that go to your shows that interact with that platform, and they maybe don’t think about it, but the way my mind works and the way we look at things is like, “All right, well as a marketer that obviously is different in terms of is there a URL redirect? How are they capturing conversion tracking? How is that pulling into Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Facebook?” So just wanted to dive into that a little so thanks for sharing.
Steve Kroll: Before we hop off here, I guess I just want to give you the opportunity to talk about if there’s any exciting announcements with Pabst Theater Group, if there’s anything that you guys are doing that’s new, any types of positions you’re hiring for? Want to use this as an opportunity to let you talk about that.
Brittany: Yeah, we are about to head into our busy fall concert season so you’ll be seeing a lot of show announcements from us in the next coming weeks. So that’s always an exciting time for us. We have a lot of holiday shows coming up. We just announced a few shows. We just announced the Nightmare Before Christmas show around Halloween this year that we had done a few years ago. That’s really fun and a really good family friendly event.
Brittany: Yeah, there’s a lot of exciting stuff. This is kind of right calm before the storm for us in terms of our busy season even though now we’re pretty much busy all year round, but this is kind of the exciting time for us, and we’re just going to … If you follow us on social or are on our email list, you’re going to be getting a lot of exciting announcements coming up in the next few weeks.
Steve Kroll: Okay, great. Yeah, I think that’s a good place to sign off, and it’s been really cool just getting to talk to you, learn more about what you’re doing at Pabst Theater Group, and just hear more about overall what your team is doing to utilize different digital marketing channels to reach your audience so that way we can be entertained.
Steve Kroll: So we’re going to go ahead and sign off now. Thanks, Brittany, for being on the Getting Granular podcast.
Brittany: Thanks, Steve.
Steve Kroll: Thanks.