IM Case Study: Buying Mötley Crüe Tickets

Here’s a real world example of a company that is using all of the stops in Internet marketing to get every penny they can from customers.

My wife and I love going to concerts, especially anybody from the 80s.  In the last couple of years, we have seen Brett Michaels, Eddie Money, Billy Idol, Huey Lewis, MC Hammer, and a bunch more that I can’t think of.

Last week, we found out that Mötley Crüe is touring with Poison this summer.  It was a no brainer… we wanted tickets!  I have a sweet hookup for concerts that are in the local casinos, but this one is at the Coliseum, so I would have to do what the regular people do, which is call TicketMaster and pay for my tickets.  How do people live like this!

(By the way, the photo is of Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx and me waiting for a cab together in Vegas.)

Coincidentally, the day after Melissa told me about the concert, I got an email from TicketMaster alerting me of a local venue online pre-sale event.  The pre-sale allowed locals to buy tickets 24 hours before the tickets went on sale for the general public.  This is actually a great way of creating an urgency, while making the consumer feel like they are getting in on something VIP-ish.

Sounds like a special deal that you are getting, but when you think about it, who the heck else would be buying tickets, other than the locals?

Having figured out that this was just ploy to get a rush of tickets sold, I went to the TicketMaster site a few hours before the pre-sale to see if there were any other options.  There were. There was a VIP package available and a Motley Crue Fan Club package available.

The VIP package was ridiculously expensive.  Tickets were double almost triple priced and all I could see that you got extra was a cool badge that you could wear to the concert and the “chance” of getting a backstage meet and greet.  Out of curiosity, I selected the option to see where the seats would be.  Floor 1, which is off to the side, row 37.  Not so VIP-ish.

The fan club package was password protected.  The password was sent via email to all members, but there was an option to buy tickets and become a fan club member for an extra $40.  I thought that this might be worth it, if the tickets were premo.  I chose that option and the little wheel spun until TickMaster found the “best available seats”.  Ya right.  The seats were in the balcony.

I decided to wait for my special “locals only” deal.

At 10am on the dot, I was Johnny on the spot, entered my secret locals password and clicked the find tickets button.  The little wheel started spinning, along with a message that said that the wait could be a few minutes due to high volume.

I did not have high expectations for good seats, especially after seeing how lousy the seats were for premium customers.

Finally, a new page loaded revealing two tickets and an option to buy them.  CENTER STAGE, ROW 9!  I thought, “Are you kidding me?”  These seats blew away anything being offered at the higher priced levels!

A timer also appeared on the page.  It was counting down from three minutes.  The message below it said that my seats would no longer be available once the countdown clock reached zero.  Talk about creating urgency and scarcity!

I clicked the buy button and started entering my payment information.  After I gave them my credit card number, I was presented with ticket delivery options.  The “recommended” option was next day air via UPS.  It was an additional $30.  They may recommend that option, but clearly, the best option was for me to print the tickets myself.  Oh and that option cost $5.  They actually charged me five bucks to use my own ink and paper!

The next option was for “Ticket Insurance”.  This would protect me in the event that I lost my tickets.  The cost was $7 and it was highlighted with the words “strongly recommended”.  This was funny, because when you choose to print your own tickets, they are presented to you as a PDF file that you can save and print over and over again if you lose them.  Although this is absurd to me, I can see how they could scare some people into giving them the money.

The final option was for “specially selected ticket buyers only”.  I just happened to be one of those specially selected.  They even congratulated me with a big “Congratulations” image.  <sarcasm>I couldn’t believe it… I was specially chosen to hire a limo company to pick my ass up and drive me to the concert.  The price was just $300.  Although I was very thankful for being so privileged, I declined the offer. </sarcasm>

After the payment process was completed, they presented me with a link to print my tickets and a chance to get get $20 back.  All I had to do was fill out a form and apply for a new credit card.  No thanks.

TicketMaster made use of scarcity, emotional triggers of fans, upsells, and CPA offers.  Who would have thought that they would be so Internet Marketing savvy?

Well played, TicketMaster.  Well Played.

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