Marketing Meets Ticketing

Etix helps clients sell more tickets with topline marketing technology

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: November 1, 2014

8BIMG_3533.JPGNick Lala, UX Lead, Etix, and Chris Battaglino, Product manager, give a presentation on the Mobile Opportunity during an Etix Blast morning education session.

Consumers are passionate about artists or venues, not the ticketing company. And that is the basic philosophy of Etix, a growing ticketing company based in Raleigh, N.C., whose mission is to merge ticketing with marketing.

“I love to go to the Ryman. I open their emails,” said Joe Kustelski, CEO of Etix, who commutes between Nashville and Raleigh, referring to the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Tennessee.

When he formed Rockhouse Partners with Tawn Albright and Kevin Brown in 2008, that was the marketing premise. When Rockhouse was bought by Etix in 2011, the intersection of ticketing and marketing was on the map.

Travis Janovich, Etix founder, had the original idea for Etix, to simplify and broaden ticket buying for the consumer. He was a semipro tennis player, traveling all the time, and looking for show tickets in unfamiliar places. “The print-at-home (or print-at-hotel) ticket was the genesis of Etix,” Kustelski said. That was 1999.

Flash forward, and it’s almost comical to remember when the ability to buy tickets at all hours and to find out what shows were playing where was a problem. Fifteen years later, problem solved … or is it?

In 2003, Etix partnered with Live Nation and, in 2004, Live Nation acquired 20 percent of the company. Etix handled onsales for Live Nation-owned amphitheaters, a growing business at the time for the promoter. It also allowed Etix to grow.

The market changed again and Etix bought back its piece from Live Nation in 2007, before that company bought Ticketmaster, but continued to do onsales for a number of Live Nation venues.
Etix’s biggest shows were at Fenway Park in Boston, including Bruce Springsteen, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, and Jason Aldean.

In 2011 Janovich, now chairman of the board of Etix, began talks to purchase Rockhouse Partners. Ticketing and marketing were coming together. It was more than building tools; it was implementing them.

Etix is founded on the idea that venues own their own destiny, own their list and manage their own core assets, Kustelski said.

“Our goal is to make it simple for venues,” Kustelski said. “If it means you need a website, we’ll work that into the deal; email marketing, work it in; or if you want to start with ticketing, we’ll do that. The collaboration point is around selling more tickets in a hypercompetitive marketplace."

Etix is growing aggressively now. The company sold 1 million tickets in 2003. In 2013, that number was 50 million. By 2018 or sooner, Kustelski is predicting it will be 100 million.

  • by Linda Deckard
  • Published: November 1, 2014