You may be surprised to learn that all of the ads you encounter each day aren’t just to get YOU to purchase products. While this is a majority of the brand’s intent, there is an additional hidden agenda and it comes in the form of a pull marketing strategy.
According to the Corporate Finance Institute. “In a pull marketing strategy, the goal is to make a consumer actively seek a product and get retailers to stock the product due to direct consumer demand.” For instance, if Doritos intends to launch a new flavor of chip. Retailers may be apprehensive of allocating valuable shelf space to the product. To mitigate this risk and get them to stock their new offering, Frito-Lay may introduce a pull marketing strategy to build awareness of the new flavor, increase demand, and pull consumers to the new product, forcing retailers to place orders for the flavor.
The same can happen in the concert venue world in various strategic ways. One approach is the fan perspective where the venue establishes its brand in a way that pulls specific consumers through the doors to experience the ambiance and /or notoriety. This is the case with legacy spaces such as The Greek Theater, Red Rocks, The Ryman, Madison Square Garden, and The Gorge. Another is to focus on a specific segment. The Bowery Presents does this with their chain of venues that focus on indie and up-and-coming rockers.
There is also a pull strategy that can be established by homing in on the talent. In this method, management focuses on enhancing the act’s experience to pull them towards their stage over other routing options.
Ryan Murphy did just that with St. Augustine’s The Amp by crafting a positive environment for acts that visited the out-of-the-way outdoor venue. His efforts soon paid off when legend Tony Bennett’s positive experience was relayed to Stevie Nick’s team. This led to a one-off solo show for the Fleetwood Mac star. Soon, The Amp was playing host to names much larger than its capacity. Kacey Musgraves, who packs the 20,000 seat Bridgestone Arena, legends such as Robert Plant, OAR, Willie Nelson, and Kendrick Lamar made their way to St. Augustine, FL. Helping push The Amp to the #2 amphitheater spot in Pollstar Magazine’s 2019 Mid-Year report.
Not too shabby for a venue with a capacity of under 5,000 and well off the routing path.
Murphy’s pull strategy circumvented outside variables by going direct to the source of the commodity – the artist. Their handlers very likely were pushing for larger capacity venues that could provide more revenue, more wiggle room on deal points, more efficient routing, etc. Unfortunately, many venue leaders do not understand the rigors of the road and how it impacts artists of every level and, perhaps more importantly, their crew. Giving them a special spot that has a unique vibe, history, and a feel of home can have much more power than we think. It’s not just a pull marketing strategy… it’s a compassion for the artist strategy and it can pay large dividends as Murphy and The Amp proved.