Here’s how Stagecoach used your spending info to offer you upgrades and discounts

Cole Swindell performs (image courtesy Stagecoach)

As it would turn out, getting you to buy tickets to The Stagecoach Country Music Festival was just the beginning.

Rolling Stone has an interesting article up about upgrades and disocunts that were offered via text message to fest goers in Indio last month by AEG Presents (formerly AEG Live and parent company of Goldenvoice):

About 20 percent of the thousands of Stagecoach-goers last month received texts on their phones that offered them cheap ticket upgrades, sales on merchandise and other exclusive in-the-moment discounts while artists like Luke Bryan and Lynyrd Skynyrd performed onstage. Some audience members were given as much as $100 off a VIP upgrade. The offers weren’t shot out at random; they were the result of months of meticulous data compilation and analysis by a small team at AEG Presents, Stagecoach’s parent company, all geared toward locating the most enthusiastic and loyal of music fans.

The promotion was part of an effort to distinguish the fest from the countless other fests out there.

“Everyone can go take the same Instagram picture and get the same merch,” Brooke Michael Kain, AEG Presents’ chief digital officer and the leader of the Stagecoach initiative, told Rolling Stone. “One of the biggest challenges for us every year is, ‘How do you outdo yourself? How do we create an experience for consumers that makes them feel like we know what they want and are trying to cater to those wants?'”

(Image courtesy of Stagecoach)

The company contemplated numerous ideas, but decided the text campaign would “surprise and delight” those in attendance at Stagecoach – in what sounds like was quite an effort to compile a lot of personal data and spending habits of those attending the fest:

The project was painstaking to assemble. While concert and concert-related purchases offer an immense trove of user data, it all tends to be scattered amongst different vendors — an online ticket-seller may have all your event purchase history but it won’t be connected at all to your spending habits at any local venue, for example — meaning that Kain’s team, with the help of a few tech partners, had to spend months trawling through the AEG network and building up a central database of information. “Just the data analysis alone was a huge lift,” she says. (In compliance with privacy rules, the company only collected data from the properties it already owns or operates.)

Consumer behavior product managers and ticketing directors stepped out of their usual daily jobs to help design algorithms that would send fans real-time, personalized push notifications based on their collected cross-company history. If a fan had bought general admission tickets to Stagecoach two years in a row, for instance, they might be served up with $100 off of a “Saloon Pass”; if someone consistently bought T-shirts at every concert, they might receive a buy-one-get-one-free offer.

And while it might shock or worry you that a company would have so much info on your spending habits, that info might end up getting you a cheap upgrade to VIP, which would be nice.  s

So, if you want to get a text message upgrade offer next year, be sure to make all your purchases with trackable credit cards and keep your fingers crossed.  Otherwise, feel free to stay off the grid by buying everything with cash.