media planning · Digital Media

The largest Festival Community on the planet- How to get brands advertising?

Nathan Terrazas

May 16th, 2016

We've built a platform for festivals and attendees to come together in revelry. Its the largest searchable database of festivals in the world. We've built in an advertising platform and believe its perfect for brands looking to get in front of festivals and attendees.

We've opened the doors for brands to advertise to our audience, so the question is, how have people been successful in:
  1. Getting the attention of agencies or brands
  2. Getting a foot in the door with agencies/brands with no success stories/case studies

David Albert Founder & Principal at GreyGoo

May 16th, 2016

I have worked for and with agencies for a long time, and they can be a tough nut to crack due to their organizational structures, areas of expertise and culture. Selling into agencies, especially medium to large, can be very time consuming and take a lot of resources.

I would begin by approaching brands directly. Find brands that are ideal for your product--not so large that they won't circumvent the agencies they work with to deal with you directly. Setup a pilot program where you offer advertising for free or a greatly reduced rate. Be clear they are the guinea pigs and that's why you're giving them introductory access. Run a program with them so you can develop some success stories and case studies. It's not uncommon for brands to work directly on promotional or marketing programs outside of their agencies these days, or introduce you to their agency because you reached out to them directly.

Also, have you considered working with advertising networks as a publisher? When you say "agencies" are you talking about media buying or advertising networks? I would think you want to consider the latter as you won't have to deal with agencies directly at all--the network will make your inventory available.

Tom Cunniff Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy

May 16th, 2016

Nice-looking site.

Some suggestions:
  • Don't boil the ocean. Focus directly on the advertisers (NOT the agencies) who've already made it clear they wish they could do more at festivals like Coachella... but can't. Here's your pitch list:
  • Focus on Coachella. It's hot. When an advertiser bites, tell them you'll sell them Coachella but they have to do a run of site buy.
  • Think native. Make the top banner image something from an advertiser (think H&M) that's consistent with the festival (think Coachella). Do comps that show them how they can tie the effort to social media (esp. Instagram), and give people a chance to win.
  • Offer an exclusive for one big festival (have I mentioned Coachella?) if they ink a deal within 10 working days. Tell them you're offering this deal to multiple advertisers, and first one in wins

In brief, be the source for people who already WANT to do integrated paid/social around these festivals but don't have an easy way to do it.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Peter Csathy Founder & Chairman at CREATV Media

May 16th, 2016

Nathan, this is the world I live in.  Festivals.  Check out my LinkedIn profile and FB profile and you'll see.  Curious to hear more.  I work with two major festivals now -- KAABOO and Life Is Beautiful. Peter D.

Robert Hoskins (4,400+)

May 16th, 2016

Press releases can move mountains in this area by sending a SEO'ed marketing message straight to your customer base. 

Jay Jacoby Interactive Director, coyote new media

May 16th, 2016

HI Nathan. Therein lies the key. I would use a multi-faceted approach - with some marketing automation (email), strategic calls, and then work social media and video for viral effect. Maybe we do a call sometime. 

Terry Mackin Remarkable Partners, LLC

May 16th, 2016

Can you build a case study showing what your platform can actually do.  Searchable databases don't really explain what you can do at an event or more specifically how you will engage the audience.  There was a recent study commissioned by the ANA talking about $595B spent by brands in "brand activation" versus $193B in total advertising.  Your value proposition may sit in a brand activation category (see paper on ANA site).  The volume of user traffic that you described is what I refer to as "no man's land."  It is not enough scale to get a national brand's attention if you are talking about display ads.  Programmatic exchanges dominate that business and are fighting off severe bot fraud allegations.  If you are at an event, what is the one constant that you can count on: mobile.  Maybe you are already offering a native app that will create a unique experience at a concert.  If that is the case, I didn't catch that point.  Others have given good advice about going directly to brands.  However, you have to have scale and address what you are going to do for them in the customer's path to purchase.  Has your product been used by anyone?  There is no better way to showcase a product than a case study that also shows how you are creating user experiences and capturing feedback from target audiences. 

Bob Snyder Editor-in-Chief, Channel Media Europe

May 17th, 2016

I disgaree with only a few comments here but applaud the ones suggesting you go direct to clients to first build up interest. One thing that has remained true in advertising is the need to create a bandwagon effect.

Of course, you will first need to do your homework on what you will deliver to both clients & agencies.

A few quick comments...

Agencies are gated community. Instead of storming the walls (takes time & money) you go in through people who already know the gatekeepers: advertising sales rep firms that work usually on commission-only.

Maybe take a look at partnering with something like The Event Shop (they also offer training for your sponsorship sales staff). But if they do "events" maybe you can create "festivals" with them as I understand they are part of bigger media sales group.

What you should be doing is concentrating on building your platform & platform services. Know your festivals intimately and what specific opportunities they represent by size, geo, audience demo, calendar etc...Slice & dice the info... 

For example, it is harder to sell a platform that is both festivals and their attendees than it is to sell two platforms (one for festivals and another for attendees) 

And inside these two platforms, target specific clients by creating categories...create segments to get as close as you can...

A technology category for festival organizers is different than a technology category for attendees (one is buying pro and one is buying consumer).

Get involved with hot tech like Big Data... (as advertisers & sponsors want to be of the Next Big Thing not the Last Big Thing...novelty sells)

I can speak to you very specifically about technology sponsors & vendors but there aer others more qualified in FMCG...

One thing to bear in mind: selling advertising and sponsorships is TOUGH. It is NOT "Build it and they will come." No place for the inexperienced unless they have deep wallets to ride out along learning curve.

Maybe a good analogy is The Walking Dead...if you have survived the last 20 years in media & advertising, you must have learned how to be tough, sharp, creative and persuasive. If you are only now stepping foot in this world,  find a Rick, Daryl, or Michonne to lead you...

Happy to chat about tech industries...

Peter Jordan Revenue hacker for startups - journey to the $1 of revenue

May 17th, 2016

Hi Nathan, Congrats on Everfest! I have worked as an advisor to several mobile apps companies with similar challenges. You have done a great job at getting users to download and adopt. Hopefully you have collected metrics that can show potential brands why they should care about your user base. Thus, across your user base, you should have a great understanding of the demographics and persona. I would take those details to brands or their mobile media agencies that care about your users. If it makes sense, then offer an advertising platform, for a fee, to your users. Pick brands that matter to your users. I am not sure whether this functionality is in your platform. If not, prospect for interest and then determine if it the revenue will be worth the development cost. Peter

Renee Zau Founder of DonationMatch and SamplingforGood, Cause Marketing Guru, Startup Mentor, Fundraising Event Consultant

May 18th, 2016

Hi Nathan,
I work with brands that do in-person product sampling at events, including festivals, and I agree with the prior advice to approach brands individually. Be very clear about what you offer that they can't get anywhere else, and what makes your database unique. 
I honestly did not immediately understand whether you were offering digital engagement or in-person, and your site alludes to both (especially for vendors), so you may want to be more clear about that, too. 
My company, SamplingforGood, offers a searchable database of social good (school and charity-related) events for in-person brand activation/product sampling with no sponsorship fees. Let me know if you want to chat. I'll be your way next week at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, too, if you want to meet up.

Nathan Terrazas

June 7th, 2016

Thank you all for participating in this discussion. Really great advice, suggestions, and actions to take. You're all rockstars!