This week on the XLIVE Interview Series we sat down with Mark Miller, co-founder and CEO of TicketSocket, a true white-label ticketing and registration solution. We spoke to Mark about a number of topics from the opportunities he and his co-founder saw when creating TicketSocket, to how TicketSocket differentiates itself from other ticketing service providers. He also gave us a brief overview of an upcoming product that they will be demonstrating at XLIVE, and a bold prediction for the future of the ticketing industry. Read the interview below!
For those who don’t already know, can you give us a brief overview of TicketSocket, the organization’s mission statement, and the opportunity you saw when founding TicketSocket?
TicketSocket was originally built and has evolved with one simple goal in mind, to empower all organizations with total control over all aspects of promoting their events. This has over the years manifested itself in 4 main areas that we know event organizers want more control over – money, data, brand, and of course, cutting-edge functionality. In fact, over the years, we have yet to meet a single organization that wants less control over these four areas of their business. Unlike other alternatives, we’re able to provide total control over these critical business drivers.
Having previously owned a software development company which specialized in ecommerce and white-label payment solutions for the gas and utilities space, we noticed a great deal of synergy between the ecommerce and mobile trends in that industry and the events world. At that point we tested the market and found that there was a tremendous need for an enterprise level, true white label ticketing and registration framework where an event organizer, or even a smaller ticketing company, could essentially have the best of both worlds: all the latest cutting-edge technology, and total control over all aspects of their system as if they had custom-built it themselves.
Put simply, TicketSocket thrives in a connected world where technology needs to communicate with other moving pieces of a business in a cost effective and flexible fashion. Built on a flexible plug framework, the platform allows unlimited flexibility for enterprises looking for more control.
The ticketing space is very competitive and there are several very large players. How do you differentiate yourself as a ticketing company?
TicketSocket empowers organizations with a full-featured white label ticketing and registration framework, without having to do any of the heavy lifting or investing the time and money into building their own software. Event organizers, venues, attractions and management groups enjoy the diverse functionality of our platform with total control of their data and funds, all under their own brand.
Unlike the alternatives, TicketSocket offers a true and complete white label solution. Event organizers can extend their brand experience all the way through the ticket purchase process right in their own site. Once a customer comes to the organizer’s site for event information, they are not sent away to another site to purchase their ticket. This gives organizers significant advantages: control over the customer journey, ownership of the data captured, and, through merchant process integration, access and control over the funds. The data captured gives organizers insights into their business and customers that can be utilized to better market to them, increase efficiencies and grow their business.
What is the new product you’ll be showing at XLIVE, how does it relate to TicketSocket, and how does it integrate and help with ticket sales?
The original idea originated within TicketSocket to facilitate a way to dynamically turn every purchaser into an influencer and promoter without the event organizer having to lift a finger to increase reach. We’re very excited to unveil this new product and show XLIVE attendees how the principles we’ve perfected in the ticketing and registration industry will bring in new customers and grow the bottom-line for ecommerce companies.
What advice can you give event organizers who are making a decision about ticketing, and what seems to be most important to event producers and organizers when selecting a ticketing solution?
There’s a lot of ticketing and registration options out there, that’s never going to change, what is most important is what are the things that are most important to you? If revenue is important and getting more customers but also controlling the data you are collecting and not giving it away to your competitors, make sure you look or the right solution that really embodies those things and does so at the right price. Hint, that’s TicketSocket. We respect the trust our customers put in us, and their customer in them, so we never remarket the data captured on our platform.
A lesser known aspect of selecting a ticketing partner is to consider whether they enable additional revenue streams. With a true white label solution, the pages are open for sponsored ads that are in line with the customer’s profile. The information gathered on their preferences and location can be used to alert them of local events that may be of interest to them. The control and flexibility of a true white label solution opens up a myriad of revenue opportunities that are not available with other solutions.
How are event organizers using data to sell sponsorships and more tickets, and what are you doing from a product perspective to help organizers not only collect data, but to better understand their data and leverage it?
TicketSocket is at the forefront of buyer behaviors and AI automation as it relates to social influencers and buyer trends. The biggest issues sponsors have is what happens at the event and what is the demographic at the event, but more importantly how and what do those target customers do after they leave the event. TicketSocket Intelligence products will for the first time offer a lens and analytics layer on this data to extrapolate what pricing markets will sell the best, as well as the social influence and resounding influence after an event a sponsor or event can have on its audience. Truly connecting the dots between event attendees, sponsors and the organizers.
What excites your customers most about white label ticketing, and why would some ticketing services not include white labeling into their offerings?
Most of our customers know what they want and that is more control over one or all of the four main areas discussed earlier (money, data, brand and functionality). True white label is not an easy thing to pull off, therefore most ticketing companies do not offer a true white label solution. TicketSocket’s seamless integration offers additional marketing and media coverage as well as increased conversions, which translates to more revenue.
What’s the best part of your job and what is most challenging?
Forging new pathways in the live entertainment space that bridge into other industries is by far the most rewarding and exciting part of what we do, and the most challenging at the same time.
How did technology change the ticketing industry landscape this past year? Which technology came, which technology left, and how do you see technology continuing to impact the ticketing industry?
We have watched popular social commerce giants lose traction, while other new mediums gained traction, such as live interactive video opening up new markets that never existed before. We believe that we live, eat, and breath in a connected world and the more seamlessly connected our technologies are to each other, the easier and more useful they will become. Technology will always continue to evolve, that is why at TicketSocket we don’t stop building, we are always innovating, always brainstorming and always expanding our network of offerings. The new product we’re demonstrating at XLIVE is a great example of how we’re always looking for innovative ways to utilize technology.
What do you think about some new ticketing startups who are using Blockchain to help with safety and security for secondary resale markets?
It’s great that new technologies are being utilized in various ways to enhance safety and security. As to what specific use cases will be the most impactful, we’ll have to wait and see. The vast majority of the ticketing market is looking to optimize sales, so our top focus is to help our customers create new mediums and profit centers and ways to increase revenue. To that end, we’ve recently partnered with Kinesis Money, a blockchain-based monetary system that uses gold and silver as the basis for its digital currencies, to open up new payment avenues for our customers.
Can you give us a bold prediction for the future of the ticketing industry?
That’s a tough one, but like many other industries, history repeats itself. If we look at what happened with eCommerce and websites over the last 20 years, we see brands have migrated toward ownership of their own brand, data, money and more. We expect then to migrate even farther to that side of the spectrum. Customizing systems to increase revenue and efficiency will be of utmost importance in the near future. With the visibility AI and automation provides, it’s going to no doubt be an exciting time for innovation in this space, and new kinds of mediums and entertainment, both at home and in person, will make their way into the spotlight.