Case study: Decca Records

In many cases, location-based marketing is still at an early, experimental stage. Decca Records, a part of Universal Music that specialises in classical and jazz, used the technology for the first time earlier this year in order to promote its artists during the Proms.

Decca Records experimented with location-based mobile targeting around the Royal Albert Hall area for the Proms this year

Gavin Bayliss, marketing manager at Decca, explains that the company has long faced a challenge over how to make the most of the Proms – the biggest and most widely covered classical music event in the calendar. As a result of the BBC’s backing of the event, external companies are prohibited from undertaking commercial activities inside event venues, meaning that the likes of Decca are forced to target their marketing efforts at people outside the venues.

After limited success with handing out flyers during previous years’ Proms, Decca tested a mobile campaign that geo-targeted people in the vicinity of the Royal Albert Hall. Working with Weve, the mobile marketing joint venture established by EE, O2 and Vodafone, Decca designed a text message that urged people to click through to a landing page to download a free track from one of its artists. Each message was tailored to artists who were appearing that night.

However, as a result of the small geo- targeted radius created around the venue, only about 200 messages were delivered to Weve’s database of opted-in users during the first two nights, resulting in two click-throughs.

The disappointing outcome led Decca and Weve to adapt the campaign and extend the targeted area to include local bus stops and areas around nearby Tube stations where people were likely to congregate around the time of the concerts. Messages were sent to people on Weve’s database who had shown a preference for classical music. This immediately boosted the success of the campaign, with messages reaching an average of 2,500 people each night at a click-through rate of 2.5 per cent.

Bayliss says that Decca learned a great deal from this first test campaign and that the company is considering plans to run more location-based activations around the Proms next year. He argues that because classical music fans tend to be less digitally-active, and as the opportunities to sell classical music in physical stores are declining, record companies must experiment with new technologies to maintain growth.

“It’s almost as though we have a moral duty to experiment and innovate to help the industry move along,” he adds.

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