Tag Archives: opinion

How To Use Collective Buying Sites Like Groupon or Living Social for Events

As a former concert promoter and an event producer for over six years I have had a lot of experience marketing events. My marketing methods are increasing reliant upon digital avenues one of which in recent years are collective buying sites. Collective buying sites can be a valuable tool but they come with some very real costs and risks.

The first risk is to devalue your event. Deals are usually at least 50% off so you are instantly devaluing your regular ticket price. Many times event promoters will use collective buying sites to help when an event is not hitting the numbers on attendance. This can greatly devalue your event as customers that paid full price now see a much more attractive buy. We experienced this first hand when were a little low on signups and used Groupon and Living Social to drive thousands of people to our event. We had to put out some fires with attendees and vowed to our customer base never to do this again as people were (rightly so) put out to see our event advertised at a lower price. The event ended up in the black and was a run away hit but we likely lost customers for future events.

My personal feeling is that collective buying sites shouldn’t be used during the last stages of marketing for this very reason. However when used as an early bird strategy collective buying is a great marketing method. Namely because it relies on every marketers strongest tool: Word of Mouth. We were able to drive over 2000 people to our recent event out of the gate and created a natural buzz about the event before our other marketing hit. This is the right way to use Groupon or Living social.

The costs are that you will give up 75% of revenue with collective buying sites. You must be careful when implementing this strategy. Deals are usually half off and then you often split the revenue off the buys 50/50 with sites like Groupon or Living Social. You can ask Groupon or Living social for more than 50/50 but without a track record with them or a very attractive event they often will not do this split. The other problem is that ticket prices are the lowest during early bird registration. This makes it hard to make enough off each transaction to pay for your efforts on collective buying. One way to remedy this is to make a VIP offer. This will allow you to provide additional value to the consumer by adding in goodies (that shouldn’t cost you too much) like a free beer for 21+ or an extra t-shirt etc in exchange for a higher ticket price. This allows you to get closer to the revenue you were looking for after the fee to Groupon or Living Social. But you don’t have to take my word on the matter check out the below link for a well written article on the subject:

http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/groupon
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Confessions of a Startup Junkie

I look around my office (part of my dining room) and take it in. A higher profile man might be disheartened by what he sees. Checks, papers and a hand written name card adorn the desk. But not me, this room speaks to me. It feels me with optimism. I am a serial entrepreneur and this is my kingdom. You see disheveled paperwork. I see the foundation of dreams. Every time I pay my contractors and the check doesn’t bounce I draw another sliver of hope. The months when everything is down and the end is near but we pull off in the end is what I live for. There isn’t 7 digits in our business account, I would settle for 5 most days. But I am free to be my own boss. When the game is on the line, I get the ball. I am the MVP, Coach, Mascot, Worst Player, Captain, Cheerleader, and Founder. That’s what I like, the opportunity to fail or succeed on my own terms and by my own hand. So what qualifies me? I have started companies (3 so far) and I failed miserably at one of them (never start a clothing line) and am currently enjoying a modest amount of success on my web project. I ran a successful tradeshow-consulting business before my failed clothing line. I don’t get awards for what I do. I see the reward in my business partner’s face when we make it another month. I see it in the crowds when I am asked to speak about my experience. The pride in my parents face when we say we aren’t in debt anymore. The feeling of satisfaction when the bills are paid. Those are my trophies and awards. The empty energy drink cans are the homage to the fruits of my labor.

My current business NiiTES.COM, now has over 1,000,000 requests for photos monthly and thousands of visitors monthly. We did that with $1,000 dollars of startup money. We employ several contractors monthly and have no debt. We made every dollar work 100 times harder. You must learn as a entrepreneur to make every dollar work like it’s a $100 or a $1,000. You can’t complain about not having enough money. Go ahead do a survey of founders or owners. Not one ever has enough money. You aren’t a business if you are plush. Especially in this economy. Conglomerates have enough money and they are trying harder to make their money work especially now. There is a reason many of the well funded dot coms failed. They spend too much money and don’t know how to make it work. They spent themselves into failure. Make your money work for you, don’t just spend it. I can’t think of a single business that went comfortably through the growth stages into a wild success. That just doesn’t happen. Get used to being broke. And learn how to excel in dire financial situations. Be thrifty, be creative. Don’t let it get you down.

There is something exhilarating about overcoming the odds. Being creative and hard working enough to turn lemons into lemonade. It isn’t easy. You have to be almost overly optimistic. But you can do it. You have to thrive off being closet to failure and revel in struggle. You gotta be ready for 100+ hr weeks and a lack of sleep no RedBull can fix. If this speaks to you and trust me that means your a little crazy, starting a business might be a good idea. Honestly you will probably fail, but if you are really a startup junkie that is more of a dare that you’d love to prove wrong. If my statement about your probable failure hits you close to home than you don’t have what it takes anyway. I am going to look back around my kingdom and get back to work because I never have enough done to take a break. If you plan on joining me I raise my energy drink in a sincere salute. Welcome to your kingdom, startup junkie.

Know Your Role in Fixing the Economy

I hate people that complain about politics but don’t bother to vote. I think that the same rule applies to the economy. You have no right to complain if you don’t do your part. What can I the average citizen do? you ask. Easy there are several things you can do. First bank locally. By choosing to keep your money local you will enable local banks to have a bigger pool of funds to loan out. The money goes back into the local economy. You also have a choice as a member of the most robust economy in the world. You can choose where to buy goods. You can be responsible. Support local shops. Business owners locally may not have quite as large of discounts on goods as you can find online. But the difference is that your money stays local. If you choose to save $6 by going online none of that money or tax money stays in your community. Be a good member of your community and keep it local. All of that money will then stay in the community and strengthen our tax base. This really comes into play with high ticket items like cars. If you choose to drive to another city to buy your car you are keeping all of the tax money out of your area. Cars and other high ticket items are a large part of the tax base. Choosing to keep it local is an important part of doing what you can in this economy. I urge you to help fix the economy. One bank account and one purchase at a time.