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5 Ways to Rock Booth Marketing at Festivals

BPT_Blog_TradeShowSummer is creeping up again, that glorious time of vacation, tanning or sunscreen (if you’re a redhead like myself) and of course, festivals. For small businesses, festivals provide a huge opportunity to reach new customers. All you need is a booth, some swag and a smile.

But with so many businesses involved in a festival, you have to be on top of your game to get noticed. Here are some things to consider when creating your outreach plan:

1. Location
Where is the action? Where is the food? That is where the people will be and that is where you should center your booth. If you cannot control your booth location, figure out how to bring people to you. Are you surrounded by other businesses? Are you far from the main action? Consider forming a “street team” to hand out free stickers or flyers alerting festival-goers of where you are and what you do. This is an excellent way to spread the word about what you do and at least to get your name out, just make sure that they are as enthusiastic about your brand as you are.

2. Giveaways: Festival Necessities
At music festivals, people hand me free ice water, sunglasses or sometimes sell cheap hats and sunscreen. These essential items for sun protection double as a wonderful way to build brand awareness. If you aren’t getting a lot of foot traffic to your booth, send a street team out to inform the crowd that your booth is handing out free sunglasses. Bring people to your products.

3. Differentiate Yourself
Along with giveaways and picking a prime location, you need to stand out from all the other businesses there. Give the crowd an experience that makes them curious to know more about your business. Obviously, unique products help. Going to Warped Tour, I found the tents selling Rasta hats memorable, although I had no desire to buy one. Bigger tents stole my attention too, because they took up so much space. Then again, they would be nothing without unique products. Visuals are important and if appropriate, lights and physical displays or entertainment, like dancing, will attract festival-goers.

4. Vibrant Colors
From personal experience and preference, I would stay away from black and gray. Stick out with bright colors. Make your display pleasing to the eye to grab attention among all the competitors around you. Lights and decorations, as mentioned above, offer other opportunities to stand out.

5. Be Good Company
Do not expect people to come back if you’re not providing them with something of value. Steps one through four are meant to get some foot traffic to your booth, but the quality of your product is what will keep them around for refreshments.

All of the above will help, but to make your festival experience a success and get invited back next year, you need to be a quality company with meaningful products and excellent service.

Our guest poster Robert Lanterman is a writer and musician out of Boise, ID. When he’s not doing either of those things, he’s probably eating pizza, watching Netflix or attempting to run a record label out of his bedroom.

Event Tips >

Big Stair Climb Fundraiser for Cancer

big climb 2014Exhilarating, overwhelming, inspiring and easier than you think. That’s my experience of the Big Climb, Seattle’s annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. On March 23, we Brown Paper Ticketeers were among 6,000 climbers culminating months of fundraising with the 1,311 stair ascent to the top of Seattle’s tallest building. Our team’s average climb time was 22 minutes and we have raised $4,251.11.

The LLS funds research and provides resources for patients and families coping with blood cancers. Some of the climbers are survivors and the rest are friends, relatives, general health nuts and other supporters. Climbing waves embark every 15 minutes all day. Between the physical crush of so many people milling around on event day and the emotional crush of why we gather, stairs themselves almost seem trivial.

Big Climb 2014 3This was my 3rd year taking the challenge. A few minutes of leisure riding the escalator from the check-in level to the Columbia Tower entrance. A moment of fresh air as we exit the building to enter the fire escape stairwell. Then it’s on. The first few flights pass quickly with an adrenaline rush. Then crowds begin to thin. It’s risky to count the floors as you climb or take a break. You share knowing glances and quick words of encouragement with strangers as you go, and a light-headed sense of accomplishment when you make it to the top. Every floor landing has posters of loved ones who passed away, which is enough to keep you going no matter how much your calves burn. On a clear day, a gorgeous view greets you from the 73rd floor observation deck. 788 vertical feet of stairs. Worth every minute and every dollar to give hope to cancer patients and their families.

Post by Erika Harder, Brown Paper Tickets advanced client service specialist. Erika and colleague Stephanie each used 1 hour of Brown Paper Tickets paid time on. What’s that? Part of our company’s not-just-for-profit business model includes 40 hours of paid time annually (for all 85 employees) to serve nonprofits.

Good Causes >

Brown Paper Tickets Rates #1 in Event Registration and Ticketing

FindTheBest, a research engine reaching 20 million visits monthly, rates Brown Paper Tickets the #1 choice for ticketing and event registration services, with a Smart Rating of 100. FindTheBest crunches big data to allow users to research and compare products and services in a growing set of industries – entertainment, software, sports, education, more. Like a digital Consumer Reports.

“This independent review website filled a void in the ticketing industry that’s long overdue, providing side-by-side comparison of services for event planners and ticket buyers,” said Steve Butcher, CEO of Brown Paper Tickets.

The New York Times and Tech Crunch tout FindTheBest while numerous reporters mine the data for stories in Time Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets.


Transparency and Truth in Service Fees

“Credit card processing fees are a complicated issue in the online ticketing industry,” said FindTheBest’s representative. “Some companies allow customers to use their own credit card processor, while others do not, and processing rates can vary drastically, making it difficult to estimate your final costs. Our goal is to provide a clearer picture for event managers so they can make an informed decision.”

Ticketing companies that don’t reveal upfront all transaction fees make it impossible for event planners to know exactly what their ticket buyers will pay. And they receive a lower rating on FindTheBest because of this. The price-comparison chart uncovers a little-known fact that ticketing companies almost always charge hidden credit card transaction fees on top of their own published fees.

Event organizers and ticket buyers can easily compare by feature and services (24/7 customer care, group rates, etc.) as well as industries (music, fundraising, etc.). Each ticketing company feature listed on FindTheBest is independently verified by the company’s researchers.

Smart Choice Award for Brown Paper Tickets

With Brown Paper Tickets 100% rating and #1 rank for all ticketing and event registration companies, we also qualified for Find the Best’s “Smart Choice Award.” This label helps consumers looking for a quick reference to services that provide the best features and value for the price.

Brown Paper Tickets rates first for event registration and ticketing

News >

NYC Beer and Brewing History

beerweek2014mhedits33percentThis week on Foodie Friday, we have a guest blog from The Beer Wench, also known as Jena Ellenwood. Ellenwood is an Astoria, New York based actress, writer, bartender and beer geek. Jena is a graduate of The New School and is currently studying for her Cicerone License. She enjoys a good story and a good brew, and usually finds one leads to the other.

I am a beer geek. There, I said it. While reviewing the plethora of events for this year’s NY Craft Beer—dinners, tastings, parties—I got most excited when my eyes fell on Drink Local: NYC Beer and Brewing History panel discussion in Brooklyn. My sister Liz joined me and we hit the town.

Covenhoven, a cozy little taproom that opened March 2nd, was our host for the evening. Bill and Molly, the husband and wife team behind Covenhoven, were warm and welcoming, as was their establishment. One wall of the shop displays old kitschy beer trays, while the opposite wall is kept free to host rotating murals painted by local artists. In the summer the front garage doors will roll up, and the doors to the patio will be left open. Turns out they use to run an art gallery in the space, but after having a few pints and being inspired by other local beer centric joints–Bierkraft and Spuyten Duyvil–they decided to merge their loves of art, community, and beer to open a kick-ass little spot to merge all three.

Read More…

Food & Drink >

Brown Crew Tackles SXSW 2014

sxsw-ericSouth by Southwest. Stretched over 11 days at countless locations in the capital of Texas, this must be the largest event of its kind in the US. So many different voices from seemingly disparate worlds of technology, film and music all shouting above the other in an attempt to be heard over the near constant cracking of high 5s from fans. It can be polarizing, overwhelming and exhilarating.

A Brown Paper Ticket team was on the ground in Austin to keep the peace, spread the good news about affordable, full-service event ticketing and stay awake long after the party to bring you all of the dirt.

Trade Show Tech Talk
It all started with a 4-day trade show showcasing the most current and cutting-edge in entertainment technologies. Smart and shiny gadgets and displays, to be sure. But a lot to digest. Hot on the lips of most visitors to the Brown Paper Ticket’s booth was the topic of APIs and digital integration. Luckily, Brown Paper Tickets offers a bevy of developer tools and options for integrating our services into your platform.

sxswbooth1If you want to learn more, contact us at

Film Geeks
Then film geeks rolled in. Thousands of movies from all genres garnered long lines and generated lots of buzz throughout the convention center venues, cinemas and theaters around Austin. Not one to pass up a controversy, I attended the 4K scan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Seeing the cult classic in the setting of its namesake with the creator in attendance was just too good to pass up.

Music, Metal and Feet-Filled Streets
As the trade show ended and we packed up our booth, down time was imminent. Boy were we mistaken. One million people seemed to descend upon downtown Austin, packing streets and sidewalks with raucous festival-goers all seeking sonic satisfaction. Having a head full of music myself, I quickly became ensconced in the never-ending tidal wave of band after band, venue after venue. I must’ve walked 40 miles hitting more than 50 venues over the next 4 days.

lynvalgoldingI have a penchant for the heavier stuff, so made it a point to check out a couple of bands that have used Brown Paper Tickets services along the way. First stop was The Dirty Dog to see local Olympia/Seattle favorites Christian Mistress. If old-school, witchy-heavy metal is your thing, this is your band. It’s great to see a band still delivering the darkness.

Later, I found myself again at The Dirty Dog to catch one of the most talked about live acts of the year, Whores from Atlanta. Trust me when I tell you that the energy coming off of these dudes is enough to make you lose your face right there in the club. Malevolent and hyper, if you can only see one live band this year, make sure you catch this one. They’ll make you smile and yell.

Directly after having my brain scrambled by those crazy Atlantans, I hopped straight into a pedicab and sped off to my own gig playing percussion with legendary Lynval Golding (of The Specials) and fellow Brown Paper Ticket colleague and music maven, Billy Geoghegan. At this point in the evening, I was really thankful for sensible shoes.

As the next day came and went, so did the SXSW festival. 11 days had passed in a whirlwind and on day 12, it was pleasantly quiet. We had just lived through what is most certainly spring break for the entertainment industry.

Austin, may we meet again next year.

Live well. But don’t be foolish. Like the drunk driver who, at this year’s SXSW event, killed and injured people in a shocking tragedy. It happened a mere 2 blocks from our hotel. To support the victims, you can donate to SXSWcares. Carpe diem. Life is short.

Post by Eric Peterson, Brown Paper Tickets client services tech manager. He began playing drums at age 8 and began working events in his teens. Eric has played with many artists on many stages, most notably the notorious Electric Hellfire Club.

Film >

Advertise Everywhere Our Tickets Go

Brown Paper Tickets advertising insertsSnail mail is still a thrill for 3 reasons: when receiving a personal letter from a friend or relative, when getting your mail order (think Zappos) and when event tickets arrive.

What if your message reached people when they tore open their Brown Paper Tickets envelope? That day has come.

Here’s a new way to promote your event, business or nonprofit. Brown Paper Tickets introduces a new Ad Insert Program for event organizers, local businesses and others to advertise to ticket buyers. Consider how a coupon, wrist band or print piece might resonate with people already attending events in your region, city or neighborhood. Greeting cards can also be sent with tickets, giving ticket buyers a convenient way to give the gift of live entertainment for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or any special occasion. By sending your branded insert with our mailed physical tickets, you can tap a new audience.

Target Your Audience
Don’t worry. Your ad, sticker or print piece won’t to go customers in France if your event is based in Chicago. We’ll work with you to help target the audience based on country, state, city, postal codes—or even specifically targeting your event ticket buyers. Note: You must be the owner/organizer of an event to solely target it (so no one else can target only your ticket buyers). Target customers by any market or set of regions—your choice.

Low Cost
Aside from geo-targeting, another benefit of the Ad Insert Program is its low cost. For less than half the price of a stamp you can send your advertisement to new customers. No minimum constraint. Order as few or as many inserts that fit your budget. Send us 5 or 5,000 advertisements. Price drops per insert as your volume increases. The more you order, the lower the cost per insert.

See design tips, guidelines and size requirements.

Sign Up | Learn More
Fill out a form. Print your insert. Ship it to us. Easy as that. Get started advertising with Brown Paper Tickets. Questions? Happy to help, advise or brainstorm. Email us at

Event Tips >

Artist Ticket Picks: El Radio Fantastique, Burlesque in Black & White, Derby and more Derby

347963-250Welcome to this week’s Artist Ticket Picks. The Artist Ticket program gives our customers a way to donate to causes that we care about.

If you’re an event producer, you can allow your ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets printed with original artwork in your event settings. The ticket buyer will pay a small, additional charge of $0.25 and receive a limited edition, collectible ticket imprinted with original artwork. The current charity of our choosing will receive 100% of the additional charge. Physical tickets must be enabled on the event.

If you’re a ticket buyer, check to see if the limited edition ticket is available at the beginning of the ticket check-out process or by visiting the Artist Ticket page. You receive a small piece of collectible art and support a valuable cause just by checking the box in the Artist Ticket widget when you’re purchasing your tickets.

Saturday, April 5 I El Radio FantastiqueSeattle, Washington

Led by its creator, the charismatic singer, songwriter, dumpster diver and one-time gravedigger Giovanni DiMorente, EL Radio Fantastique is a collection of talented and electrifying musician-performers from the small farming community of Point Reyes Station, California.

The overarching musical influences for the group derive from DiMorente’s coveted record collection scavenged from abandoned tenements in New Orleans and a lifetime of dumpsters. EL Radio Fantastique comprises a unique menagerie of sights, sounds and musical styles. Indeed, the vibration emitted from this group defies all genres as much as an archaic knob would turn on an antique radio. EL Radio Fantastique is known to put on bewitching and alluring shows with steamy theatricality. Consistent with DiMorente”s folklore, witnesses have remarked that the band’s players appear to be charmed and somewhat possessed, inspiring a visceral and enchanted concert experience.

Read More…

Arts >

Artist Ticket Picks: Glen Miller Orchestra, Thin Lizzy and More

glenn_miller_orchest_67d7fd-1Friday, March 28 I Whiteside Theatre presents The World Famous Glenn Miller OrchestraCorvalis, Oregon

The Glenn Miller Orchestra has always been very musical, disciplined, and visually entertaining.  And it has its own distinctive “sound.” That sound is created by the clarinet holding the melodic line, doubled or coupled with the tenor sax playing the same notes; and the harmonies produced by three other saxophones, while growling trombones and wailing trumpets add their oo-ahs.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra made a big impact right before and during the war. It had more hit records in one year than anybody in the history of the recording industry. In fact, its recording of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” earned the first Gold Record ever awarded to a performing artist.

Back in the days of the big band era of the forties, any dance band “worth its salt” had a distinctive theme song. It was the musical signature with which they signed on and signed off at their engagements and radio broadcasts. The theme of Glenn Miller and His Orchestra was the beautiful “Moonlight Serenade”, and it is still the signature tune of the Glenn Miller Orchestra today.
Read More…

Arts >

Share Mobile Tickets with Friends via SMS

sxswWe just made it easier to share tickets with friends and family. Our patent-pending Transfer-to-a-Friend™ feature offers easy, personalized SMS text message ticket delivery on mobile devices. Brown Paper Tickets is the only major ticketing and event registration company to use SMS text messaging for ticket sharing.

This is a modern alternative to will call when meeting friends at concerts, classes, shows or other events. Skip waiting at will call or standing around to hand deliver printed tickets to your friends.

Transfer-to-a-Friend™ is faster and easier than app-enabled digital transfer technology, and a higher percentage of fans can send the 100-percent authenticated mobile tickets to their friends, because it works on any web-enabled mobile device.

How Mobile Sharing Works

Fans who purchase mobile tickets can view them on any web-enabled device, and touch Transfer-to-a-Friend™ to be prompted to enter a destination country and mobile phone number. Transfer-to-a-Friend™ sends a text message, including the name of the original ticket buyer, inviting the recipient to collect their ticket. With one touch the transfer is complete, if the recipient is logged into their Brown Paper Tickets account. If not, the receiving fan can log in or create an account, and the ticket is transferred.

Fans can also re-transfer their ticket, or organize a group to attend any event together by purchasing several tickets, and using Transfer-to-a-Friend™ to text message them to as many friends as they wish. Tickets are automatically distributed to friends as they claim them, on a first-come, first-served basis.

How Event Organizers Scan and Verify Tickets

Transfer-to-a-Friend™ leverages Brown Paper Tickets’ technology to simplify the transfer process, and scannable bar codes are issued immediately. The Brown Paper Tickets scanner app for iPhone and Android transforms smartphones into electronic readers for scanning mailed physical tickets, print at home, or mobile tickets at the door. How to use Brown Paper Tickets scanner app.

Event Tips >

Food Bank Volunteer Day

Brown Paper Tickets staff volunteer at Seattle food bankBrown Paper Tickets offers every employee 40 paid hours annually to volunteer. Today, several of us sorted, stacked and stocked shelves at a local food bank with bread, produce, meats, staples.

Seattle’s Ballard Food Bank empowers people while providing vital nutrients. 1,400 clients are served weekly. Shoppers cruise the aisle with carts and choose their own items. Unlike other food banks, this one offers plenty of organic food, gives people an option to volunteer in exchange for groceries and designed their warehouse like a grocery store. Bonus: Everyone gets fresh flowers.

It was heartening to meet people from all walks of life and an honor for Brown Paper Tickets to pay us to support our neighbors. Paid volunteer time is just one way Brown gives back.

Food & Drink >