Group Links Are Becoming As Ineffective As Free Tickets
Sending out group buy links without developing a relationship, without building a group leader, is about as dumb as it gets. Yet, there are several ticket offices right now, staffed with young group account executives, who are working in earnest, doing that very thing every day of the week.
While it can be important for a sports franchise to work with an organization to develop a group code for its members, it is just as important to get the group sale commitment up-front, in order to achieve a relationship with the group leader.
Group links have become an over-used, under-developed practice which does not merit the amount of excitement that an account executive places on it. Especially when considering what is lost by getting an actual group ticket block buy, as the group leader is destroyed and deemed irrelevant within the sale itself.
The group leader transforms their role into an “email forwarder” when receiving a group ticket link. They aren’t required or obligated to commit to anything in terms of money down for the right to receive the discounted ticket price. And at the end of the day, they are just as surprised as the group account executive at how many of their own organization’s employees actually choose to individually purchase the tickets and attend the game.
Group Links Remove The Relationship Aspect
Consider how this changes the group outing at it’s core: This a non-profit, company or personal affiliation of people who are joining together at a sporting event for a good time on a specific date. Often, it is a Monday through Thursday game, when standard ticket sales from individual buyers are at their lowest.
Group buys have been around for decades as a staple of sports sales. Minor league sports garner higher group sales numbers than season tickets. The franchise promotional staff develop major themes, concourse events and other marketing experiences in order to push a group ticket buy higher, generating a massive amount of attendees to a one-night special event for that year.
But with a group ticket link, that disregards all of the legwork done. With the presents of a group ticket link, in an e-mail form, in lieu of an actual group buy, it doesn’t require the group leader to be responsible or committed anymore. It doesn’t obligate the group leader to be an active promoter of the night to their constituents, instead allowing them to become passive on marketing the group night internally.
After all, the group leader no longer has to buy anything up-front when they are offered a group ticket link instead of a sales form. At a company, that means no more whipping out the corporate card or gaining approval from their supervisor to pay for an employee satisfaction benefit. The employees are making the actual purchase, therefore the company supervisor isn’t playing a role in re-affirming employees be active and participate by bringing their families to the group night at the ballpark. It changes how the company may view the franchise, as well as whatever presence they may have in terms of both corporate sponsorship and community relations, by not being participating. When the boss doesn’t come, and neither do the company’s employees in mass, the perception is altered. With a group link, the company is not the participant, but a lone employee purchase, and isn’t viewed as a group activity at all. More of just another discount.
How is this any different than a free ticket or a heavily discounted ticket being offered on the marketplace? No one had to do anything, at all, in order to achieve it. Aside from opening their e-mail, clicking to purchase. And that suggests that the organization’s constituents who receive the e-mail, should it not go to spam, will be enticed to buy at all.
Group Links Kill The Importance Of A Group Outing
Group outings are not about the individual experience at a game, but the overall group sharing together. Take that away, and there’s nothing really there. That Tuesday night company outing at the game has now transformed into a cold February heavily discounted ticket at the arena for a family of four, who don’t really know how many or if any other of their fellow employees are showing up.
This is why group links are becoming the anti-sale. Something that are used by scared, inexperienced account executives as a way to avoid having to do the hard work of developing relationships with their group leaders. While there can always be the minor exception for a group link offering, it should not be the norm. Yet, young account executives are always seeking out easy solutions to avoid hearing the word ‘no’ by a prospective group leader who isn’t ready to offer up a commitment through a deposit or ticket block buy on a company outing at the game. This is why group links are a typical portion of the account executive’s arsenal, and do devastating damage in much the same vein as free tickets.
It is that path of least resistance that forces the account executive to dole out the group ticket code link in an e-mail for the group leader to forward onto their organization’s staff. It erodes the group buy entirely for the organization as a whole, who are more than happy to pass on the costs to their employees, as well as alleviate the obligation for the company’s group leader to do anything, at all, in order to promote and market the event. Now, the group ticket link is brushed off as yet another e-mail forwarded out, to a massive amount of employees who can easily hit the delete key, amid the thousands of e-mails that those employees see per day.
This is completely different than a true group leader within a company, who buys or commits to a block of tickets to a specific night at the ballpark. That group leader is forced to become completely committed toward continually reminding the organization’s employees and constituents about the group night at the game, as well as follows up with further information about attending the game. Everything that a forwarded-off e-mail with a group ticket link does not do.
This isn’t the same as having an incoming group interest order form either. Those at least denote that a relationship call will be made to follow-up between the account executive and group leader. Group ticket links do none of that, and are easily erased as soon as received with no obligation whatsoever.
Ticket Directors Shouldn’t Be Paying Commissions Off Group Links
Ticket directors should play some of the onus on this group ticket link epidemic on themselves. By allowing account executives to profit off of anyone buying through this practice, instead of getting a commitment up-front and developing a relationship with a group leader that may yield higher group ticket sales later. The group ticket link allowed the account executive to avoid selling anything, except devoting the minimal amount of time toward creating a code, and spamming an organizational contact who may or may not be the right person in charge.
In order to correct this, ticket directors shouldn’t be paying out commissions on group ticket link sales. That may sound harsh, but nine times out of 10, any actual follow-up with that spammed organization contact will yield fair reasoning as to why it was an anti-sale: The contact wasn’t interested, or the correct person in charge, and the link was either forwarded or not, but didn’t garner half of the sales that the organization had done in the past, when a relationship with a group leader had been established previously.
When a group ticket link doesn’t generate the sales that it should, ticket directors should look at the account executive, not the organization buying, for answers. Why would an organization buy more tickets through an individualized link in an e-mail? There was no commitment by the organization to the sale, and the transaction was passed off to the employee. Either they did it or they didn’t do it, but the organization is removed by the account executive as a factor in whether the group night is successful or not.
And while some sports sales folks may wish to protest, advocating about the merits of group links in general, that’s because when they create a group link for a company, they assume that their ‘big announcement’ is important when it reaches an employee’s e-mail inbox. But that’s the issue with being paid to care, and assuming that everyone receiving that ‘big announcement’ in their e-mail inbox will care just as much as the sales person sending it.
All of those sports sales executives ready to protesting should look at their own e-mail inbox, and witness the thousands of e-mails sent by other companies issuing ‘big announcements’ to buy products, where each of those companies have sales reps attempting the same thing, hoping to not get lost in the shuffle. That’s why developing group leaders matter. Because once the relationship matters, they aren’t hitting the delete key or simply forwarding off an e-mail. They’re actually buying.