Nov 14, 2012

Rockhouse Partners Start Parties With Geolocation

Rockhouse Partners call themselves "a technology-based entertainment agency," but what they really do is connect musicians, businesses, and entertainers with their fans. From Lollapalooza to the Tennessee State Fair, John Mayer to The Loveless Cafe, Rockhouse helps its clients find interesting and thoughtful ways to interact with their customers via email. A lot of the time, that means working with some tricky elements. How do you convince a concert goer it’s worth their time to drive in from out of state? Should a brick and mortar store craft two different emails for local and non-local customers? What kind of special offers would delight a customer who lives near a venue? These are the kinds of geo-specific questions Rockhouse use MailChimp to answer on the regular.

Rockhouse tech manager Dale Liska broke down the three primary ways his company uses MailChimp’s geo-targeting features to improve its marketing efforts:

Using Small Events or Partnerships to Promote a Big Event

"For a large, annual racing event, there are a number of smaller lead-up and affinity events happening in the months prior. We use geolocation to target surrounding metropolitan areas to engage the local fans and boost attendance. In our campaigns, we are able to generally maintain a 25%+ open rate on segmentations ranging from 8,000-100,000 recipients for these lead events."

In this case, Rockhouse partnered with a private toll road with the "highest posted speed limit in the country" (85 mph) so that race attendees could a) skip the high-density traffic that comes with the typical interstate route to race, and b) let’s be honest, kinda pretend they’re grand-prix racers themselves. "It’s the fastest legal road in the U.S.," Dale says. "Which makes for good tie-in messaging for race fans heading to an F1 event."

Encouraging Out-of-State Attendees With an Exclusive Deal

"One of our multi-day music festivals used location-by-state to target out-of-state list members about camping opportunities. This was to encourage group and three-day pass sales on the heels of big-artist announcements. Since the festival is centrally located in their state, the client wanted to reach just over their borders to neighboring states with large cities."

Not only is that a reasonably priced hotel, it gives festival attendees the feeling that they’re VIPs—that their presence at the event in another state is both valued and rewarded.

Balancing Brick-and-Mortar With Ecommerce

"[We worked with] a local brand with national recognition whose campaigns are regularly split between subscribers above and below a one-hour drive of their primary location. This allows them to tailor emails that contain local contests, events, and content to the audience members that have a higher likelihood of going to the brick-and-mortar location while focusing more on their ecommerce business with the non-locals. The engagement metrics for the two audiences are about the same, but the ROI as measured with Analytics360 was an eight-fold increase for the non-local audience in a recent campaign."

On first glance, these two campaigns look nearly identical. But upon further inspection, the top block of one on the left advertises the cafe’s brunch (local), while the one on the right points readers to the cafe’s online store (non-local). The middle block of the left campaign talks up the cafe’s catering (local), while the right links to the cafe’s website and a fun fact about the establishment’s egg usage (non-local). The left encourages the reader to come try the cafe’s pancakes (local), the right points to a recipe for them (non-local). You get the picture. By considering their readers’ locations, The Loveless Cafe ensures no one receiving their newsletter will be annoyed with content that doesn’t apply to them. They also ensure that anyone blogging about them will suddenly get very, very hungry—but that’s a problem for another day.