Go behind the scenes with podcast guest Amy Stevens as she defines “activation,” gives examples of knowing your audience, dealing with haters, and pushing creative boundaries forward.

What was your first concert? Your favorite concert? These are questions almost everyone loves answering, and concert promoter Amy Stevens makes it her job to give music fans stories worth sharing. Her goal is for the concert going experience to begin before tickets are even purchased.

“This is entertainment, and we’re all out to have a little bit of fun, and we all want to kind of escape a little bit. So let’s make it good for everyone.”

“From the time you hear about one of our shows, whether it’s a concert, a speaking engagement, an event, an experience, til the night that event ended and you lay your head down on your pillow and fall asleep, I want you to be able to remember that entire journey and know it well. How it smelled, how it tasted, what it looked like, clearly the audio. How it sounded, in your ears.”

Know Your Audience

There’s a big difference between the fans of Radiohead and fans of Phish. While both are very loyal to their respective bands, they have totally different values and vibes. Knowing the difference can lead to some really fun disruptive marketing techniques.

“We’re as limited as we allow ourselves to be. It’s the old adage that there’s no bad ideas in brainstorming. There really shouldn’t be because it leads to the most brilliant things I’ve been privileged to be a part of.”

An example of a created chaos touchpoint that Amy talks about is having a partner buy all the tickets, then hiding them around the city so that would be concertgoers can hunt for them.

New Ideas and Activation

Years ago for a summertime KROQ show in the California desert, couches made of ice sounded like a good idea at the time.

“We knew it would melt, we were prepared for that. I don’t think we were prepared for how rapidly it would melt.”

The partners involved loved it. She was proud of the marketing, it was well received and didn’t require a lot, and up until that point, it hasn’t been done before.

“Your idea should really complement what their vision is.”

Dealing with Haters

Once before a popular concert, Amy asked her team to curate a feed of the worst Twitter comments from haters. She had her team respond kindly and with humor. One particularly insulting concertgoer, who had been frustrated with his ticket buying experience, was surprised to see his name in the feed. He was asked to see a customer service representative, and once he arrived with his date, and they were given VIP access.

“The hate then turned to massive love.”