Understanding 3rd Screen Promotion: Because No One Plans to Get a Cupcake.
By Quinton Sheer
1st there was Television. Then there was the home computer. At first marketers saw the home computer as just another way to send junk mail or buy ad space, but once the power of the internet was realized, marketers began to understand that the home computer user needed to be marketed to differently than the television watcher. Now most people carry with them a mobile device or smart phone, known as the 3rd screen. Many marketers still see these 3rd screen devices as an extension of the internet and home computer but savvy promoters are beginning to understand such devices have their own unique place in promoting and marketing to customers and fans.
Usually we like to showcase local talent in this blog and several bands, venues, and promoters were contacted to speak on the topic. But the most common response when asked if and how they use 3rd screen to promote was, “Do you mean Facebook? We have a page. People can ‘like’ us.” One popular venue said, “I don’t know what that is but we leave promotion up to the bands.” If my bottom line depended on the getting a crowd buying drinks I would not leave everything up to people who have no stake in my business. The most bizarre response though, “We book on a national level. We don’t promote local shows.” The word ‘local’ was said with a sneer. When asked where these national shows took place there was silence and finally, “Well, we just book.”
EVERYONE who has anything to market or promote should be aware of the 3rd screen concept. It should be used more than just another way to send the same message. Multiple reminders are now seen as spam. Many don’t even read facebook invites because most artists send invites to shows halfway across the country. Those who plan their weekend activities are becoming more rare. Instead, to cope with the bombardment of invites, many choose not to commit to any one thing and ‘wait and see’ what will be their best option.
Here’s How: For the Technically Inclined
Many artists reach out to fans directly thru their mobile devices (smart phones, tablets etc) via Apps. Oren Barak of New York’s rock band, Finespun said, “We have apps for both iPhone and Android. We’re trying to reach fans where they are, wherever they are.” These apps have both free content and subscriber content for those who pay for more access. “People see computers for work and phones for fun so we reach out to them on their phones and invite them to have fun.”
Bands can create their own apps but phone makers often change their code or displays with every upgrade, making it difficult to keep up. Hiring someone to write an app can be as costly as a website. Luckily, the leading provider of marketing, promotion, and social media for musicians and industry professionals has a solution and its cost is little to nothing.
Reverb Nation has recently announced Promote It, a Facebook Advertising platform tailored specifically to those in the music business. It helps to promote songs, pages, shows for artists, venues, and promoters, or CD releases. Reverb Nation recognizes that concert going is a social event. Bootlegs were, in a sense, an early social network – allowing fans to share and connect with their favorite band and each other. Even venues got in on the bootleg craze. Now Reverb Nation acquired tech provider GigMaven and created a new Venue App to help artists and venues book, sell tickets, and promote their shows through social media.
It takes some effort to set up but Finespun says it’s well worth it. “We love the push notifications; it shows up like a text message. We were second in an online band battle and using that app quickly got us the 47 votes we needed to get to the next round. That would not have been possible if we had to wait for people to sit down at their computers.”
Here’s How: With Just a Phone
The search for those in Central Florida who use 3rd screen promotions effectively did reveal an entirely new brand of rock star: Food Trucks. Food trucks like The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck use 3rd screen promotion almost exclusively. Websites can get expensive and a pain to update. Owner and marketing Director of The Yum Yum Truck, Joey Conicella said, “We try to put our schedule online but it can change. It’s just more convenient for everyone to tweet to people’s phones.” They use 3rd screen to capitalize on people’s indecisiveness. “We want them to make that immediate decision. No one plans to get a cupcake.”
A cupcake, like going out to an indie music show, can be a special treat or reward. With so many ways to spend dwindling entertainment budgets, people are waiting to make sure they get the best treat for themselves. They may say No on Monday and delete the evite but a text or tweet on a Friday afternoon may be just the incentive to say ‘Yes, I’m going out tonite! I deserve it.”
Using 3rd screen to reach fans on the go can allow fans to venue hop. Bands should text from the venue when they arrive and invite fans to hang out. A Last minute blast saying ‘We go on in an hour’ might get a few extra fans to get up off the couch instead of expecting them to come at 8pm when doors open only to find the band doesn’t get there till 10 and doesn’t play till midnight. Indecisive fans are more likely to come when they know they will be instantly gratified rather than plan ahead and then wait around when they coulda had a cupcake.
What Indie Music Can Learn From Food Trucks
Food trucks are often sole proprietors and the owner can often be found making food or taking orders. People don’t see them as faceless businesses. They see them as the little guy and they want their favorite truck to succeed. The same can be said for the independent musician. Joey Conicella of the Yum Yum Cupcake truck noted several parallels between food trucks and musicians. “Like bands, trucks also use fundraising site like Kickstarter to get fans to fund repairs so we can get back on the road.”
Food Trucks use 3rd screen marketing to alert their foodie fans to their location. The word fan is appropriate. Several area trucks get applause when they drive up to a location. A recent food truck gathering in Winter Park could have been rained out but last minute reminders brought dedicated foodies out of their homes and offices lest they leave their favorite alone in the rain. Without that kind of promotion, many would just see the rain and decide to stay in.
Besides 3rd screen promotion, food trucks don’t see other trucks as competition. They know fans belong to no one. “We found out quickly that we can all make more money when we stick together.” They work to build a community and include both their supporters and fellow food truckers. Marketing fads come and go. Technology rises and falls. It’s that community that makes new promotion ideas work so well.