How To Become: A Live Events Marketing Manager

Global Live’s Sarah spoke to us about marketing tours for The Vamps, Kendrick Lamar & more!

Fancy pursuing a career in event marketing? Think you could help some of the biggest artist’s sell out their tours in venues across the UK?

We had a chat with Global Live‘s Sarah O’Brien, who has worked on tours for the likes of The Vamps, Nathan Sykes & Melanie Martinez… to name a few!

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What is your job title and what do you do?

I am the Marketing Manager for Global Live – the live touring and festival division of Global Entertainment.

I manage the marketing of our tours across the UK. Shows vary from club to arena level. I basically manage the marketing campaign, communications and budgets for each show.

What kind of tasks do you do each day?

My work varies widely, but before we announce a show, I’ll pull a marketing plan together for the launch. I manage the artwork, create ads and content to promote the tour. I work with people such as the promoter, agent, manager, ticketing agents, venues etc. to ensure we optimise all opportunities to sell out the shows! At launch, we want to build hype & awareness for the show across all touch points. The end goal is to ultimately sell out each show!

What made you get into this line of work?

I have always had a passion for music. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been listening to music, always making playlists for friends, going to gigs and live shows – people used to think I had a free loyalty deal with the O2. I was always a bit obsessed!

Likewise when I was at school & university, I always had an interest in commerce and marketing. I excelled in these subjects and decided it would be great to build my career by merging the two –working on marketing, within the music industry.

How did you get into event marketing?

I started to build up solid commercial/marketing background – I did a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Studies & Marketing and also a Masters Degree in Digital Marketing.

On top of this, I’ve been lucky to work in challenging assistant brand manager roles for market leading brands with companies such as Britvic, PepsiCo & Kelloggs. I then got my first job in the music industry at Live Nation, managing tour marketing campaigns. Before starting my latest role as Marketing Manager at Global Live.

Is there a specific genre you solely work with or are you open to any sort of act?

No I am open to all genres of music, which is why I think I enjoy it so much. I love rock music, Hip Hop, R & B, pop, folk, dance… I am happy to work on them all. In the past I have worked on a wide variety of tours varying across wide genres of music ie. Download Festival, Wireless Festival, The Vamps, Maroon 5, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, Kodaline, Billy Ocean and Paul Simon & Sting!

What are the things you routinely consider before starting a campaign?

Before a tour announces, I like to get a good understanding of the artist/band and their fan base. I like to research the audience and understand what marketing comms are going to connect best with them ie. for a pop act like The Vamps – social media is key (Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram etc.) but for a legendary old school act like Billy Ocean – it’s a bit more traditional.

I also like to see where the artist is at in their career now and where they are going ie. What’s coming up for them? Do they have a new single/album coming? I try to build a timeline and a story to build up comms about the show that is in line with the music! I like to work on building the artist profile too if they are newer.

How rewarding do you think your line of work is?

It is extremely rewarding! I love to see an artist play to a packed out venue and it’s always great to see the reaction of fans. It’s rewarding to know I had a part to play in making the show a success.

I once ran a competition for tickets to a show I was marketing at Wembley Arena. The winners were so grateful when I changed their seats to standing (so they could get into the pit) that they later sent me a 2 minute ‘Thank You” video. It was a compilation of footage and photo shots from their time at the show. It also wished me a Merry Christmas – it was very sweet! I was happy I made such a difference to their experience.

Working in marketing, you have to constantly come up with ideas, where do you tend to draw inspiration from?

I like to draw inspiration from the acts/bands themselves. I like to delve into what the artist is all about and try to reflect that in the tour advertising as much as possible. I think it’s important that marketing comms are true to the act, and connects with the fans in the right way.

Being able to create content directly with the artist for the fans is great. I also like to keep up to date on digital marketing developments & innovations ie. Remarketing tools / social media / tech trends / new apps etc. I also think new things like virtual reality are going to continue to grow and give new opportunities for fresh ideas in the world of live music.

What has been the highlight to your career so far?

Probably moving to London to work on tours and managing their marketing campaigns. There is a wide range of acts, tours, shows across the UK – there is never a dull moment – and always an opportunity to get involved in a new and exciting project. Working in Global, I am exposed to a wide range of radio brands and talented teams – and that has massive opportunities for the ‘LIVE’ side of the business also, which is really exciting!

Your job opens up a lot of doors to working with some exciting people. Who have you met that has been particularly memorable?

I managed the marketing for the Tinie Tempah UK tour a couple of years ago and had the pleasure of meeting him. He was great. He was very personable and friendly. You can tell he works really hard as an artist and he’s very dedicated. He wanted to do as much as he could to help make the tour a success and work together with us. As a result we created some great content for the tour and engaged with fans in a cool way. He rehearsed and made a special ‘Don’t Sell Out’ video at The O2 London, he also did a live Twitter session with fans to launch the tour, he created some really cool ad content for the online display ads (swiping the screen) and his team were really on top of his digital plans during that time, which helped greatly. Overall Tinie and the team around him were great and a pleasure to deal with.

What advice would you give to future marketers. Would you recommend it to someone who wants to get into the music business?

I would advise future marketers to focus on getting a good education and solid experience. And also not to be afraid to work hard & take on projects that scare and challenge you – as they’re the ones you will learn the most from! It’s also important to stay on top of marketing trends & developments – so subscribe to marketing/music blogs & leading websites in the field to keep on top of news.

In terms of getting into the music businesses – finding local businesses to work with (such as promoters or venues) is a great way to get started.