Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

‘Make it as easy to go out as it is to stay in’: Dice sets out its mission

By Michael Nutley | Writer for The Drum

March 20, 2023 | 7 min read

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Dice’s global head of CRM Ntsako Mokwena explained to delegates at Braze’s Forge22 event how the brand’s aim to improve the ticket purchasing experience for fans and help artists discover their gig insights led to Dice rethinking marketing for venues too.

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"The most important thing is building relationships with your customers" - Ntsako Mokwena, head of CRM at Dice

“The number two reason people don’t go to live events, after price, is not having anyone to go with. Beyond our initial inspiration to fix the broken ticketing system, Dice wants to bring people together and get people out more.”

Dice is a live event discovery and ticketing app. What makes it different, as global head of CRM Ntsako Mokwena explained at customer engagement platform Braze’s Forge22 event in London, is its social aspect.

“On Dice, as well as being able to follow the artists and venues you like, you can also follow your friends and see what they’re doing, so you can make arrangements to go out together,” she said. “It’s too easy to sit on the sofa looking at a screen. We want to make it as easy to go out as it is to stay in.”

Mokwena also talked about the other critical elements of Dice for fans. As well as the social side and seamless purchase journey (you can buy a ticket in just three clicks), the Dice app can be personalized by each fan to reflect their individual tastes, making it easy to find more of the shows they love. Dice offers fans algorithmic event discovery based on fans’ Spotify or Apple Music libraries.

“For example, someone might listen to classical music, but not go to classical concerts,” she said. “We’ll recognize that and mirror it in our recommendations and our communications with them.”

Dice also has a ‘Waiting List’ feature that gives people the chance to attend sold-out shows and keeps tickets in the hands of fans, not resellers. Fans who can no longer go to a show can return their tickets back to Dice, which then sells them at face value to people on the ‘Waiting List’.

Both sides now

The other inspiration for Dice was to solve problems on the other side of the live event experience. Dice works with artists, providing them with the data and insights they need to grow their careers, things that were previously difficult to access, according to Mokwena.

And for venues, Dice offers a new approach to marketing. Dice works with venues on either an exclusive or partial allocation basis. Venues are then encouraged to create a marketing plan for the event, right down to the possibility of a last-minute discount on unsold tickets. And all this is driven by data and a rigorous approach to testing.

Mokwena explained that this is also a response to the old model for ticket sales, and the fact that partner venues would contact Dice requesting last-minute marketing blasts to users.

“We developed an event evaluation model based on our data, which allows us to predict whether an event will benefit from a last-minute push,” she explained. “We use this to encourage our partners to plan their marketing, but it’s hard when you’re redefining the way the market has worked for years. Change management is crucial; you can’t just tell people to change, you have to take them on the journey with you. But what we see is that our partners are more open-minded.”

Driven by data

Interviewer Myles Kleeger, president and chief commercial officer of Braze, asked Mokwena how the pandemic had affected the company’s approach to marketing, as a live events business in the middle of lockdowns and social anxiety. Her answer revealed Dice’s approach to data.

“The pandemic rocked the industry and in the midst of it we quickly pivoted to high-quality live streams,” she replied. “But today we’re seeing that fans are eager to get back to going out. The demand for tickets has been huge and has proven what we’d hoped - that the pandemic hasn’t altered habits among fans and dimmed their desire to go out to shows and connect with artists and one another. We’re seeing this in our data, through the number of tickets we’re selling, and more fans than ever joining Waiting Lists for shows in the hopes of seeing a whole host of artists.

“People in CRM sometimes lose touch with what the R stands for. The most important thing is building relationships with your customers.”

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