Marketing Case Study: 2018 Wilson County Fair

    Background

    Consistently ranked as one of the top fairs in the U.S., the Wilson County Fair is an annual event held in Lebanon,Tennessee, located 25 minutes outside of Nashville. The eight-day attraction averages 500,000 fairgoers and rovides hundreds of exhibits, including live music, beauty pageants, livestock shows.
    The 2018 edition marked TicketsNashville’s fourth year as Wilson County Fair’s online ticketing provider and its first in handling both online and gate ticketing operations.

    The Challenge

    The TicketsNashville marketing team was challenged to create an efficient event awareness social media marketing campaign that would increase both Wilson County Fair’s online ticket revenue and overall attendance totals and reduce event ticket lines.

    Budget & Resources

    Our resources included an initial social media advertising
    budget of $200, a Wilson County Fair customer marketing email list (424 contacts) and access to various TicketsNashville social media properties. The final advertising budget used grew to $500.

    The Solution

    Create a Sense of Urgency & Community

    After completing preliminary research of Wilson County Fair’s current ticketing structure and social media footprint, a pair of solutions were proposed to maximize the awareness campaign’s effectiveness. Our campaign had two primary goals: focus on time-sensitive ticket urgency campaigns & turn the buying process into a social experience.

    Solution 1: Urgency

    We created a sense of urgency around advanced ticket purchasing in two ways. Appealing first to the ticket buyers’ finances and then offering them a better overall event experience.

    Best Deal

    The first campaign centered around the event’s best deal, a newly created $25 MegaTicket package. The package, including gate admission with unlimited rides, was set to expire on July 16, the fair’s opening day. The month-long MegaTicket social media promotion and advertising campaign introduced patrons to a much-needed sense of urgency and influenced them to save money by purchasing tickets online rather than at the gate.

    “Skip the Line, Buy Online”

    To deter historically long lines at the gate, Wilson County officials partnered with Agile Ticketing Solutions in introducing new fast-pass lines for advanced ticket buyers. A second social media promotional campaign was soon implemented to encourage patrons to ‘skip the line, and purchase online’ to avoid on-site ticket wait times.

    Solution 2: Digital Community Building

    Initial research showed that Wilson County Fair has a strong community-based culture that celebrates its rural farming lifestyle. We saw this as an opportunity to convert what was once a traditional purchasing culture, through in-person gate sales and traditional advertising, into a thriving online social media community.

    Facebook Event Promotion

    Building a digital social community started by creating more than 60 TicketsNashville branded Facebook events via the official TicketsNashville Facebook page. From beauty pageants to rodeo competitions, creating a customized event experience for every notable attraction proved to be a game-changing decision. Once our initial target audience began sharing events and appropriate ticket information with family and friends, our social reach and audience interactions grew organically.

    Audience Segmentation

    The Facebook events created a captive, segmented audience based on event preference. Once segmented, we were able to track and communicate ticketing reminders, event details, and various ticket information through filtered and targeted communication channels. The result was fluid and effective marketing campaigns and ticketing promotions.

    The Execution

    We used a three-phase approach to the campaign timeline. The first phase, PRE-EVENT, focused on client discovery, creating 60+ Facebook event pages, and implementing Facebook advertising campaigns. This phase proved highly effective as it generated the majority of online ticket sales primarily due to audience segmentation and MegaTicket advertising campaign. The EVENT stage involved promoting regular ticketing deals and conducting online communications with patrons. The POST-EVENT stage involved data collection and reflection.

    The Results

    The overall results of our social media event awareness
    campaign were tremendous. The 2018 Wilson County Fair online revenue topped out at $148,900, an 85% increase from 2017’s online ticketing revenue ($23,000). Overall, Wilson County Fair sold 12,550 online tickets, an 82% increase from 2017 (2,239). 2018’s overall attendance increased compared to recent years as its projected total attendance of 575,047 was the second-most in its history and the most since 2013. The primary goal of this awareness campaign was to change patrons’ purchasing habits. Through the creation of an online social community and effective advertising campaigns, the TicketsNashville marketing team effectively turned a traditional in-person ticketing environment into a modern digital shopping experience.

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