Adam Young’s digital marketing tools drive over $100 million in annual sales for Event Tickets Center

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What can a man build by learning to combine an irrational, emotion-driven market with increasingly sophisticated digital marketing? Adam Young brought his experience in accounting, manufacturing and software implementation into this world by creating Event Tickets Center. They sell tickets for most events across the country, and they sell those tickets by making sure that when you enter “Garth Brooks” into a search engine, one of the first results you see is theirs.

Event Ticket CenterEvent Ticket Center

In a world dominated by technology it is always interesting to find the niches that are developing. It’s no secret that Google, Alphabet’s revenue-generating colossus, dominates advertising by combining its status as the Internet’s leading search engine with an auction-based advertising sales model that allows advertisers to reach consumers based on the words they search for. Meta’s Facebook works on the same principles. When they combine data points related to the activity of their users, it allows them to offer the opportunity to place an ad for wedding dresses in front of the woman who just got engaged. Someone has to sell her that dress, and it’s probably going to be the seller with the smartest digital marketing plan.

By and large, people understand that this is how the internet works. It’s “free” but it’s not free. Search and community resources provided by Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others are paid for by storing and monetizing the very detailed and specific data about their users that they accumulate. The advertising platforms offered by these technology companies then use this data to sell advertising space to advertisers.


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What is less understood is how powerful access to these platforms can be. Buyers of keywords and other digital leads aren’t just consumer product giants like Budweiser and Ford. These are also the Shark Tank startups that scale by selling random products or clothing through a campaign that combines social media with targeted advertising spaces.

Understanding how to navigate the competition to leverage that access and best deploy capital requires a particular combination of experience, the ability to balance risk, and the confidence to create and exit campaigns by analyzing what combinations of words, colors, images and user characteristics generate the best sales.

Adam’s insight is that digital marketing sounds futuristic, but it’s just another version of running a manufacturing business. Event Tickets Center is in the manufacturing sector. They craft very specific web pages for the thousands of ticketed events that take place every night across the country with the intention of attracting business from those trying to get those tickets. Their specialty is understanding the buyer who is usually either a fan looking to see their favorite team or musician, or someone buying that ticket as a gift or reward. In any case, the purchase of this ticket is not subject to the usual research on which hotel room in Phoenix is ​​offered at the best price. For these emotional purchases, there is a strange phenomenon in which buyers find the seats they like, and they become competitive by seeking to complete the purchase before someone else can get “their” seats. In a market where the fear is not of overpaying, but rather of “protecting” the seats they have chosen by rushing to finalize the purchase, price is not always the main deciding factor. Instead, it’s speed. And therein lies the opportunity in all digital marketing campaigns. Once your ad on Facebook, Google or Microsoft brings the buyer to your page, how do you motivate them to complete their purchase?

Adam’s insight into the market came when he saw a friend who is a big fan of the Dave Matthews band buying tickets for a show at Red Rocks, the iconic outdoor amphitheater in the hills outside Denver, CO. The friend kept finding better seats available. for the show so he would sell what he had and buy what he found to enhance his experience. Because demand is high among the Dave Matthews fanbase, it has spanned multiple buys, sells, and new buys. In the end, the friend was able to make enough money from multiple ticket resales for that show at Red Rocks that he ended up with premium seats and enough money to buy a bottle of wine.

That’s what got Adam to look at his own core skills in research, digital marketing, and driving organic traffic to websites. Why not figure out how to adapt advertising using the digital tools available to the larger community who would love seats and often pay more for better seats at events that were sold out. The insight was solid, the business building process took years. Event tickets have a complication that the sale of socks or power tools does not. Tickets have no value after the show. This means that prices can be dynamic, moving up or down in real time and often quickly.

I found Adam speaking when he explained how he was applying technology to a market that had existed since people first gathered in stone coliseums to hear sonnets or watch gladiator fights . Below are links to our conversation in video and audio podcast form.

The world of ticketing is an incredibly complex market in which artists, promoters, teams, leagues and venues use different technologies to sell millions of seats to hundreds of millions of consumers around the world. Each seat is unique and each event has factors that increase or decrease demand. Among these are the day of the week, as weekends are more attractive, the proximity of the seat to the stage or pitch, the bundled benefits that come with the ticket, and the relative market demand for the access to the show. Events where demand exceeds supply essentially have endless upward pressure on prices, while events where demand is less than room capacity see prices crash. Trying to sell tickets once demand has been met is like pushing on a string. You can burn out and accomplish nothing.

The brilliance of Adam’s strategy is to shift risk from the classic model of acquiring tickets in the hope of reselling them later to a model in which the initial risk is the cost of advertising which may or may not lead to a sale, but it usually results in data aggregation, and that data can be reused in the future to help drive demand.

The goal of any online business is to strike a frictionless balance so that the machines do the work and the owners deploy capital and marketing strategies in hopes of finding the greatest return. What Adam does is old as time, just set to a futuristic new beat: he gets up and does the work, day in and day out, to make sure the connections his company builds between the consumers he address by advertising align with the tickets that remain available in the market ether. There’s money to be made when you earn a commission or profit by connecting consumers looking for an item with sellers who have it. The real magic is learning how to contain your customer acquisition costs or using the consumer data you’ve accumulated over the past few years to attract old customers to new events.

There is one final takeaway from the time I spent talking about tickets with Adam. Nothing is easy. This is not a perpetual slot machine. It’s a salt mine where every day the machines have to be cleaned, tuned and modified in ways that might not have been foreseeable even the day before. This is a game for the nimble. Event Tickets Center has built a data center around their team’s daily work, and this data center is their core functionality. The information that can be learned from their past successes provides insight into their next success. In these scenarios, always bet on the best jockey. You may never see Adam running on horseback, but he’s usually easy to spot in the winner’s circle.


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