Despite the fact that I sell Marketing Personalization Software for a living, this post is not about work. It’s about my ‘personal’ experience with personalization.
Every Sunday night, I have a ritual where I check my personal email for the week. There’s usually nothing too interesting, but I check it to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. And as I’m sure you can imagine, I get a whole lot of spam. I try to unsubscribe from as many email lists as possible from time to time, but it seems as though I can’t escape the endless flow of spam coming into my inbox.
However, the other week- there was one email that suddenly caught my attention.
I recently went to a live performance of Dax Shepard’s, “Armchair Expert” podcast with Thomas Middleditch, and it was drenched in awesome sauce!
So this made me think- wait. Why don’t I go to more live shows like this? I live for music- why don’t I go to more concerts? My kids are at an age where they would love to go to a concert- what am I waiting for?!!!
Back to the Ticketmaster spam. I constantly get uninteresting spam blast emails that have no relevance to me whatsoever from Ticketmaster. I get emails for Beach Boys, UFC, and acts I’ve never heard of- who do they think they’re targeting?! Mr. Ticketmaster- this is not for me!
I decided to go on a mission and figure out what’s going on here. I went to the Ticketmaster Preference Center, and found the culprit. In case you weren’t aware- Ticketmaster’s default settings automatically sign you up to receive all alerts. And the (air quotes) personalized emails you receive, are solely based on all the online tickets you’ve purchased, dating back to what appears to be 1996- when the website was launched.
Needless to say- basing my preferences and emailing me offers that are dating back to my fresh out of college days, does not match my current interests by any stretch. I’ll take partial responsibility here, I should have manually updated my preferences. But couldn’t an organization as ginormous as Ticketmaster/Live Nation, with their big budgets for technology find a better way to personalize to someone like me?
To fix this atrocity, I deleted all the 90’s Indie Rock bands that I no longer appreciate, and replaced them some of my latest faves- including “War On Drugs”, “St. Vincent” and “Andrew Bird”, along with some others that the family would appreciate.
But it still begs the question- why is this such a manual process for me this day in age, with all of today’s AI, Machine Learning and Automation technology?
IDEA: Could Ticketmaster hook up with Spotify, and develop an API to update my weekly concert emails to reflect what I’m listening to? This would then tie together the real-time changes in my listening habits, and match them to the latest concerts in the area. It would ensure that I’m not missing any great local shows (i.e. how did I miss Flaming Lips playing Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery?!!! Still bruising from not being aware of that one..). And it would ensure that Ticketmaster doesn’t leave any money on the table- they can feel confident that I’ll go to every show that interests me, without missing any awareness.
And of course, the bigger question is.. am I willing to give Ticketmaster access to my Spotify listening data? In this case, probably yes.
With all this said, I finally updated my preferences to match exactly what I want to be notified on going forward. And I regret to say, after updating my preferences, here were the emails I received this week:
- Christina Aguilara
- Ex-Hex (um, who is Ex-Hex?!)
- Air Supply
I promise you that none of these were listed as my preferred artists, I swear!
So clearly, Ticketmaster has some work to be done on their Preference Center, but I’ll keep an eye on this, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves…