Case Study: Big Ears Festival App

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Our next case study is about the Big Ears app, for the festival which took place earlier this year. As we noted in an earlier blog post, we’re constantly expanding our market to include not just individual artists, but also conferences and events as well.  I had a chance to catch up via telephone on Friday with Jeff Cuellar, Director of Marketing and Business Development at AC Entertainment, the company which is also behind the Bonnaroo festival. Here’s what he had to say about the music industry getting into the mobile app arena, why it’s important, why he chose Mobile Roadie for his app CMS and the results.

First I had to find out more about the Big Ears Festival – what it’s all about.  Jeff explained to me that the festival was meant to be more of a niche mini-festival designed to take place in smaller cities, like Knoxville, Tennessee, as an example.  The objective is to provide an indoor / outdoor venue, while providing a world-class experience that you might not otherwise get in the small town environment.  The key to the success of such a venture, according to Jeff, is collaboration with the artists.

I asked about music festivals in general and what element mobile apps bring to such events. Jeff felt, like many other professionals in the music industry, that mobile apps initially provided an event guide, simply giving users up to date line-up and schedules, along with other event info.  However, as technology has gotten better, he notes that more options have come along for users to share their experience with each other, which has really transformed the mobile app experience.

Asked what excites him most, as a marketing professional, about the Big Ears app, he pointed to the ability to push information directly through mobile devices to the consumer.  His point was that people are buying smart phones in record numbers, penetration the market in unprecedented ways.  And these people are begging to be communicated with on this new medium.  Mobile apps are less invasive than other forms of electronic marketing, because they allow the user to engage with the company when they want to, rather than the other way around.

During the festival Big Ears used push notification to alert users when and where things were taking place, live.  In addition, they included an audio mini event guide on the app, giving users an overview of the selected event. Going forward AC Entertainment and the Big Ears festival want to make their app more of an extension of their website, providing additional year-round content to their users.

So why pick Mobile Roadie? This is always one of my favorite questions to ask, because it really helps bring out our best points from our client’s perspective, which is the one that really counts.  Jeff said that going into their second year, their budgets were tight.  They looked around and really couldn’t afford to go with a customized app running into the $10s of thousands.  After having a conversation with CEO Michael Schneider, they decided to give it a go.  One of the main selling points for AC Entertainment was the ability for them to customize the app themselves using the CMS.  Additionally he was impressed with the time frame, as the app was put together within a few short weeks before the festival.  Given such a short notice, they promoted the app at the festival check-in point as well as online, with a response that was very encouraging.

As a final comment, I asked Jeff what he would say to anyone else who might be considering a mobile app.  Here’s what he had to say:

“If you’re not doing an app right now, you’re behind. It’s like being on dialup Internet. If you’re not pushing it, you’re missing the boat. Mobile Roadie offers an inexpensive way to get in the game and provide a very strong application because Mobile Roadie is constantly updating their back-end. You don’t have to worry about coming up with a new app every year, you can take advantage of their product and let them stay on top of the changes.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thanks for the interview, Jeff, and we wish you and Big Ears continued success with your mobile apps.

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