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The Message: MAMA Festivals/Live Nation

In the latest column outlining how marketers can use direct messaging to promote their events, MAMA Festivals shares insights from its Lovebox and Citadel campaigns

By IQ on 12 Mar 2019

Lovebox Festival, MAMA Festivals

The Message, in partnership with I AM POP, is a monthly insight into the latest direct message and Facebook Messenger marketing methods.

For this edition, Camella Agalbayan from MAMA Festivals describes how the company is using Messenger to market Lovebox Festival, among other events. (Read the last column, with Green House Group and End of the Road festival, here.)


Who are you, and what is your role in music marketing?
My name is Camella Agalbayan and I am senior marketing manager at Live Nation’s MAMA Festivals. I oversee the marketing and design team for Lovebox Festival and Citadel Festival, and I am also involved in Wilderness Festival and the Great Escape Festival.

Why did you start experimenting with direct-to-fan messaging? How does it fit in with your marketing strategy, and what lessons have you learned along the way?
We’re conscious as a company that our events are focused heavily on experience. We’ve always been a very dedicated team who aim to respond to as many emails and questions as we can. But as we grow as a company, it gets harder to have a one-to-one experience with every guest.

We felt the Messenger channel was a good place to filter the obvious questions, so we could spend more time taking care of special cases that demanded more attention. We’ve also used the Messenger channel as a way to incentivise our current audiences by giving them information before anybody else.

You used I AM POP’s tool to market the 2018 edition of Lovebox Festival. Could you tell us something about how you went about getting people to subscribe to the festival’s Messenger channel?
We were quite traditional in that sense – simply because we were still testing the efficacy of the channel, and we’re conscious we have a huge audience with high demands – so 2018 was very much a ‘beta’ version of how we’ll be marketing Lovebox Festival for 2019.

All our social content is paid, so we simply integrated this messaging through our content calendar. This way, we could track clicks, sign-ups and return from our posts.

“It’s a good way to filter out the noise”

How did you run your messaging campaign after that? How was it received?
I think people are much more aware about Messenger marketing on Facebook and its purpose, so it’s much easier nowadays to promote your Messenger channel. We’re not being much more playful with how it’s being used, necessarily. Instead, we’re focusing on how we can ensure people get the right information, as well as how we can use it as a marketing tool to increase brand loyalty and build our brand identity.

Can you share some stats from the campaign? How did the open rates and ticket sales do, for instance?
The open rates are amazing! The last broadcast we sent out regarding the Lovebox Festival line-up announcement had over 84% open rates. We make sure to ‘filter’ audiences on Messenger as much as possible, so people are aware about what they are signing up to. I think transparency is key, so you can forge a small community of loyal fans.

Direct-message marketing calls for a different approach to traditional marketing channels like social and email. What kind of approaches do you think work best for direct message marketing in the live music space?
We’ve always been very transparent with our messaging in general. We have really strong brands and create huge worlds in which our artwork, tone of voice and programming comes to life. It’s important to be consistent with that messaging, and we ensure that everything from our website to our newsletters to our communications in general all fit into the same world. With direct messaging you can definitely be more playful with how you reach out to the fan and make it more friendly, and less targeted around sales, specifically.

“A new strategy for us this year is to create small communities of fans within Lovebox that feel special”

Have you already started using direct-to-fan messaging to promote the 2019 edition of Lovebox? If so, how? And how are you planning to proceed?
Indeed we have. A new strategy for us this year is to create small communities of fans within Lovebox that feel special. We are working with a small Lovebox ‘squad’ (to be announced in April), for example, who will be involved in artwork, photography and design for the show.

With our Messenger channel, we want those fans to feel they have signed up to something that has a purpose, which is why we have decided to make sure they are always the first to be in the know before anyone else. Whether it’s dropping a poster, launching a merch line or access to afterparty ticket, our Messenger subscribers will be the first to hear about it!

Do you work on any other projects where Messenger marketing might prove useful?
Citadel is another festival I run. We intend to use Messenger this year, as we want to ensure people can get adequate information about the show easily.

We moved site last year and we tend to vary in audiences depending on the headliner, so it’s important for those new guests to know everything is there for them to explore.

Any final words of advice for other people wanting to get into direct-to-fan messaging?
I definitely think the Messenger channel has been a great add-on to our marketing campaign. It helps us keep things streamlined online and target the right people with the right information.

It’s a good way to filter out the noise when you have some guests that require specific attention, but can also be a really easy and playful tool that lets you have fun with your fans and enhance brand loyalty.


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