AB in five bullet points:

  • Pop and rock venue in the heart of Brussels
  • Over 400 events a year
  • Rich musical history, since 1931
  • More than 350,000 yearly visitors
  • Weekly newsletter to 110,000 music fans

“Backstage catalogue” – All fan and programming data under the same roof

AB possesses a treasure trove of information to help them make their fan communication a lot more personal and relevant: ticketing information, concert dates, personal preferences, you name it. It’s just that until recently, all the data was fragmented across different systems which—and that’s putting it nicely—weren’t always communicating very efficiently. The first step: collating the data into a single, large Salesforce database.

On the fan side, we’re talking about ticketing information, preferences on the AB page, favourite artists on Spotify or Facebook, and click behaviour in the newsletters. For programming, everything starts with where and when the concerts take place, of course. But the accompanying copy (in three languages), pictures, videos, audio clips, press excerpts and YouTube links are just as important. Translators work directly in the tool and the images are automatically formatted correctly for the different channels. Sounds more like it, to hear the marketing crew tell it. All these data are then connected and geared to each other, so that AB can send them from this content hub to the website, the screens in the venue, and the personalized e-mails, tailored to each fan.


“Artist-to-fan mail” – The right content for the right music aficionado

In the past, those emails were put together mostly “manually”. Now everything works automatically, based on templates. Dynamic, smart content blocks retrieve text and images from Salesforce based on every customer’s unique profile. A block containing the concert dates of someone’s favourite artists, for example, or a dynamic block inviting people who haven’t specified their preferences yet to import their favourite artists. That information is then linked to their profiles.

These blocks also inform the logic behind the e-mails, by automatically choosing the right language and not displaying concerts which are sold out or for which you’ve already got tickets. These e-mails are created without a single letter being typed. Another time saver. If someone notices a typo or suddenly comes up with a genius title, they can still change it. What’s nice about that is that it works both ways: the corrected and improved text goes straight back into the Salesforce database and is immediately modified on the website.

“No shuffling” – “Perfectly timed digital marketing show”

Sending smart, personalized emails is one thing. But the time when those emails are sent is just as important. That specific combo of timing and content is what makes all the difference here. Thanks to the extensive Salesforce database and the recurring nature of certain flows (monthly, weekly, and so on), it’s now a lot easier to plan and automate who gets a message when. On top of that, it’s a cinch to input a sequence of messages into those customer journeys, based on certain triggers or actions performed by the recipient.

How about an example? Someone who’s linked their Spotify account to the website will automatically receive a fan alert mail when one of their favourite artists will be performing at AB. If, after a certain number of days, they haven’t bought tickets yet, they’ll get an email reminder. If they cave and purchase tickets, they’ll receive an automatic reminder with all practical details a day before the gig. The day after the show, they’ll get an email with pictures and videos of the concert to relive the night, as well as tips for similar concerts as the perfect conclusion to this customer journey. It also works great for those happy fans who might have some trouble remembering all the particulars of the night before.


GDPR causes email revival

Third-party cookies may be on the way out now that Chrome has decided to no longer support them. And due to new privacy laws, the authorization requirements change almost every other day. The result? Consumers are regaining control of their personal data. And that bodes well for email marketing. That’s because subscribers actively decided to give you permission to contact them, which means they’re interested in what you offer. In email marketing, you yourself decide what the message is, when it’s sent, and who receives it.

A quick recap?

Automating newsletters saves AB collaborators oodles of time. They can now work on more interesting things than cropping, cutting, and pasting. And thanks to the thorough personalization, ensuring every single fan receives a tailor-made email featuring the artists they love, more people are going to open the newsletters, click through, and … buy concert tickets.

Want to know more?

The foundations laid here to make email marketing smarter and more personal is also an excellent starting point for the improvement of other communication channels.
Mike VerledensCEO Sparklink