The festival market is significant, it is estimated that the live music industry alone will be worth $31 Billion by 2022, with a growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3%. There is a lot of potential revenue on the table, the question is, will you get your share? Will you be able to successfully scale your festival and capture the growing interest in buying an experience vs a thing?
As with any business, growing your market share requires a deep understanding of your target audience. Not only who they are and where they come from but most importantly, what drives them. By understanding where the money is coming from you open the door to building a strategy which will enable you to exceed your customers expectations and keep them coming back year over year..
To help position you for success, the market research team at InitLive has done a little digging on who is expected to be going to festivals in 2020, what they care about and what they expect when they get there. To further assist in the 2020 planning process and help put this research into action, the experts at InitLive have compiled a list of what to look for in your technology stack if you are going to position your festival to capitalize on the opportunity.
Follow the Money!
The first step is answering the question, where is that $31 Billion in the case of music festivals coming from? Who is choosing to spend their hard-earned money on attending a festival? With a clear understanding of who that person is and what matters to them we can build out the targeted strategy necessary to convince them to spend their money at your festival vs the on in the next city or town.
Millennials have the interest and the budget.
According to Everbright, Millennials, continue to be the driving force behind growing event attendance and have the purchasing power to do it. Millennials are projected to spend upwards of $1.4 trillion in 2020, in addition to the $12 trillion “Great” and $30 trillion “Greater” wealth transfers they’re expected to inherit from older generations in the coming decades. When deciding how to spend their money, 3 out of 4 millennials would rather buy an experience, making it a great time to be in the business of providing that experience!
Who are Millennials?
To help us understand a little more about millennials and who they are, we turned to Pew Research. According to Pew, millennials where between the ages 22 to 37 in 2018, are the second-largest generation in the U.S. electorate (after Baby Boomers), are better educated and as a generation are generally delaying or foregoing marriage. Nine-in-ten Millennials (93%) own smartphones, 86% say they use social media, making them a fantastic means of marketing your festival, assuming they have a great experience.
What Drives a Millennial?
It’s not enough to just know the demographics, to get them to pick your experience vs the one in the next town, we need to understand what’s going on in their heads! According to The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey of 2019, which is based on the views of 13,416 millennials questioned across 42 countries and territories, and 3,009 Gen Zs from 10 countries.
- Millennials value experiences. They aspire to travel and help their communities more than starting families or their own businesses.
- Millennials are skeptical of business’s motives. Respondents do not think highly of leaders’ impact on society, their commitment to improving the world, or their trustworthiness.
- They let their wallets do the talking (and walking). Millennials and Gen Zs, in general, will patronize and support companies that align with their values; many say they will not hesitate to lessen or end relationships when they disagree with companies’ business practices, values, or political leanings.
What this means is, it is not enough to just offer a great show with great pyrotechnics, millennials want the total experience. They not only want a great show but demand it is done ethically and smoothly. According to Everbright, one of the key ways for a festival to fail comes down to sequencing and on-site logistics, when attendees have to wait in lines or discover the food ran out, they won’t hold back about posting on social media. Thinking through your sequencing and logistics is critical to making sure you deliver the ultimate attendee experience.
Also important to remember about Millenials in your planning process, according to Deloitte, 46% of millennials have prioritized and have aspirations to make positive impacts on community/society. So not only does the target audience for festivals have money but they also want to help out, providing a great opportunity to offload operating expenses and build the high-quality volunteer community that is necessary to ensure a well-orchestrated event.
So, Millennials in a snapshot!
When we put all this together, what we know about millennials as it relates to festivals is this:
- They have the interest and the budget .
- They prioritize the experience, so we need to make it a good one.
- Actions speak louder than words, they want to make a difference.
Building the Plan to Capitalize
Now we understand where the money is coming from, we need to build a strategy which will not only get them there in the first place but, keep them coming back. Our key takeaway when looking at the research on millennials, is the importance of the experience during the festival. This is a group who prioritizes the actual experience above all else!
As highlighted with the Fyre Festival you can have the best shows and marketing out there but if you don’t have the best sequencing and logistics you are sure to fail. It is about having a plan in place to ensure the right person is in the right place to meet and exceed the attendee’s expectations. The last thing we want as festival owners and operators, is people talking about the dirty grounds, long lines at security, delays in the sequence of the event, etc. For on-site-logistics to run smoothly we requires a strong staff/volunteer management program to help protect your investment, be better prepared, scale more efficiently and respond faster.
A Volunteer Manager is Operations
The Academy of Country Music (ACM) is a great example of what’s both possible and needed to ensure a great customer experience. "A volunteer manager is so much more than just a volunteer manager, we're operations. We must understand every aspect of the event to ensure we put people in roles where they'll be successful and be prepared to represent the brand," said Sheri Piecuch Vyfvinkel, ACM’s Volunteer Manager. It's a dynamic position; requirements are constantly in flux and she must be prepared to respond to changing requirements quickly. Changes typically happen not 4 days in advance, but 4 hours. “It's like a puzzle that the pieces keep moving.” Sheri believes that the key to success is a team of volunteers with the right skills and attitude combined with the ability to communicate key information to ensure that volunteers know what's expected of them and have what they need to be successful in their role. Every year the ACM is more dependent on our volunteers, our program has grown & has a great reputation within our organization. InitLive has a lot to do with that.
The Foundation of Every Great Event
As pointed out by Sheri, the right technology is the foundation of a great volunteer management program and therefore a great customer experience. With the right technology you will position yourself to not only meet and exceed your attendees’ expectations but improve operational efficiency and do more with less. In looking for the right technology we recommend that you look for the following:
To feel confident going into event day look for a solution which enables you to:
- Create a single, verified and committed operational plan, to help improve operational efficiency, and reduce the resources required to plan and execute a great event.
- Sign-up volunteers quickly, and without a flooded inbox with a custom registration portal, and offers shift self-sign up and automatic confirmations.
To respond quickly to the changing dynamics on event day, look for a solution which enables you to:
- Maintain control and improve safety on event day with a view of real-time conditions and communications.
- Manage more complex and diverse events with visibility across more venues and locations.
- Equip volunteers with the information they need at their fingertips to do their job and represent the brand.
To continually learn from your experience and improve year over year, look for a solution which enables you to:
- Analyze your event’s performance and identify best practices and opportunities for improvement.
- Keep the right volunteers coming back through detailed records and a star rating program.
- Build high-quality event plans quicker and more efficiently by building off previous plans.
From those of us at InitLive, wishing you all the best in 2020!