Music Festival

Build a relevant spectator journey designed for festivals

Build a relevant spectator journey designed for festivals

Working on the relationship with the public is a long-term affair for all cultural actors: museums, theaters, festivals. But if we take the latter, how can we approach the relationship with the public over the long term when their cultural offer is focused on an ephemeral moment, culminating only for a few days?

When we conceive the communication of a festival, we often tend to think that the decisive moment of communication with the public is in the few weeks preceding the event. But this would be to forget all the steps that lead the festival-goer to buy a ticket and to deny an essential mechanism: the construction of the festival-goer's journey.

A festival itinerary that must be punctuated by collective highlights (program announcements, ticket launches, etc.) but that must also be based on more targeted and personalised moments that allow for the building of a unique relationship with the public. In this article, let's see together how the construction of a relevant and impactful festival itinerary meets a precise objective: to send the right message, at the right time, to the right person.

I. Identify your contact points

If the months following the edition of a festival are favourable to a calmer time for the producer's activity, they are no less important in the management of the relationship with the public, and this for two reasons. The first is that the information and data collected during this last edition are precious to know the audience, its different components and the overall attendance. The second reason is that the magic is always present in the eyes of the participants and it is important to maintain it in the communication.

First of all, analysis. A festival edition is a gold mine in terms of data and knowledge of your audience: Who are the first-time buyers? Where do they come from? How can I analyze my cashless data?

Screenshot Arenametrix
Screenshot of the Arenametrix Community Overview page
Screenshot of the Arenametrix Community Overview page

This moment of analysis is necessary because it allows you to know precisely the public and to enrich the targeting of your marketing strategy. Indeed, the knowledge of the public that you will have acquired after an edition, will allow you to adopt a targeted and personalised communication for each potential festival-goer of the next edition.

This period is also a good time to analyse and break down the spectator journey, and understand what the contact points are with the audience: from signing up for the newsletter, to the event, to the purchase of a ticket. There are many contact points (which are all points of passage for your audience) that allow you to support your audience in the best way possible by providing them with relevant content adapted to their profile. The first step is to sequence the festival-goer's journey to identify key moments: the newsletter registration for newcomers, the purchase of a ticket for first-time buyers, the sending of practical information a few days before the event, etc. These stages of the festival journey are moments to establish personalised communication, in addition to more generalised communications (monthly newsletters, program announcements, etc.) 

Example of the stages of the festival itinerary
Customer journey
Festival journey
Infographic of the festival route

II. From onboarding to purchase: provide a personalised experience

An optimal journey is a personalised one: if they are interested in your event for the first time or if they are used to going there every year, they do not want to receive the same type of message. This requires a differentiated welcome according to the type of audience. To do this, and thanks to the previous analysis stage that you have gone into, you know your points of contact with the public and you will be able to adapt your communications according to these points. Two essential points:

  • the newsletter registration form. This is an important step to welcome people who are starting to be interested in your events. A good practice? Thank them and offer them to follow your news on social media or send them the aftermovie of the previous edition to make them want to attend.
LaSemo Festival Newsletter
Example of a welcome newsletter, La Semo Festival, Brussels
  • tickets purchase : an essential point of contact to provide practical information and encourage your audience to join in your dynamic: sharing playlists? Data retrieval? Link to social media ?

And when you have different festival times (various events spread over several months for example), you can propose these other highlights when you buy the ticket. And above all, think about segmenting these communications: don't send the same message if this person has already come! A personal touch will always be more appreciated than an impersonal email.

Example of the Jazz Festival in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Sample newsletter, Cruilla Festival, Barcelona
Granada Sound Newsletter
Sample welcome newsletter, Granada Sound Festival
Newsletter The Great Escape
Example of The Great Escape Brighton Festival
Newsletter Body & Soul Festival
Example of the Body & Soul Festival
Newsletter The Great Escape
Example of The Great Escape Brighton Festival
Newsletter Body & Soul Festival
Example of the Body & Soul Festival

And at this point you are probably already asking yourself the question: but how not to waste time to make targeted communications according to each new buyer? Well, the answer is simple: equip yourself with the ideal tool, opt for marketing automation! We often talk about it but it is really an essential tool to work on a strong and targeted relationship with the public while saving precious time. All you have to do is to set up scenarios, which will be triggered automatically according to chosen criteria.

And in addition to saving time, you gain more room to maneuver! Preparing your scenarios beforehand and letting them run is essential to leave your hands free for the conquest of new festival-goers.

III. Before and during the festival

Your attendees have bought their tickets and are looking forward to coming to your event! But this is also the time to bring them relevant content and practical information. 

Define your specific touch points to provide timely and segmented communications and information: the D-x days.

Attention, each communication must not be perceived as redundant but as complementary. Otherwise, your communications lose their value and interest. Opt for a sequenced transmission of information:

  • 1st communication = arouse the desire and recall the highlights of the event.
  • 2nd communication = share practical information to improve the experience on site (cashless link, timetable ...)
  • 3rd communication = prepare the arrival of the festival (reminder of schedules, mobility options ...)

Again, the more these steps are segmented by audience profile, the more relevant they will be to your festival goers! Don't forget to exclude non-ticket buyers from practical information mailings because sending this type of message to a contact who can't make it to your event or didn't manage to get a ticket can generate real frustration.

By segmenting these communications you will give them importance and interest because they will not be perceived as yet another campaign in the wind. The trap of the pre-event is to want to activate all your base repeatedly and without precise segmentation, for example a person who has already taken his ticket who receives an email to book one.

Aparté: During the event, how do you imagine a festival itinerary? 

→ It's a tough question to answer, so many festival days give the feeling that festival-goers won't be using their cell phones, let alone reading their emails. How about WhatsApp? This growing channel gives great perspectives for cultural actors. We propose to the public a WhatsApp opt-in beforehand and we reserve some specific communications (last minute practical information, a reminder for a headliner who is about to start). Halfway between SMS and email, how about exploring WhatsApp campaigns?

IV. After the festival

The days following the event are also important to engage the public, especially by collecting their opinion. Indeed, through the implementation of a satisfaction questionnaire, the public is encouraged to provide constructive feedback for future editions. This participative solicitation is highly appreciated and allows us to better understand the experience of the public. It is also the moment to question the quality of the information provided and the festival itinerary implemented in order to rework it for future editions. For you, it is also an opportunity to learn a little more about your audience: allow them to fill in information that you do not yet know (a date of birth for example).

This step is also subject to a thorough segmentation: only send thanks to people who have participated (otherwise you look like amateurs!). Similarly, thank-you notes and requests for feedback do not have the same impact if they are asked to a first-time buyer or a regular! The regular relies on previous editions, so ask for his point of view on the evolution. The more the audience feels you know them (without overdoing it), the more they will appreciate the personalisation of your communications.

In the same way, don't hesitate to follow up with your audience a few weeks later with some souvenir content: photos, an aftermovie or any other content to remind them of the event and prepare them for the next edition. This is a good time to tell them about the next dates and offer them to be part of a waiting list to receive priority tickets!

The final word

In short, what you need to remember is that it is important to know your audience and to provide them with appropriate content in order to build a long-term relationship of trust. And that's why it's important to work on a coherent festival journey to bring relevant content without over-soliciting your audience: the more balanced this journey is, the more your audience will be able to appreciate the day. Don't forget that what you let show in your communication can have a lasting impact on your audience's opinion of the event you are offering!

Do you want to work in depth on your festival-goers' journey? Contact us!

Visual Solene crop

Solène Jimenez

Would you like to carry out a data & CDP diagnosis of your organisation? Take advantage of 30 minutes of free consulting by reserving your slot.

Apolline CS Spectacle

Apolline Locquet

Would you like to carry out a data & CDP diagnosis of your organisation? Take advantage of 30 minutes of free consulting by reserving your slot.

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