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Going Big to Sell Tickets



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Sep 23, 2016

Next up in our blog series about what it takes to sell-out events we address the figurative “elephant” in the room. As much as we’d all like to think that our show can stand on substance alone, there’s simply no denying that a little shock and awe can go a long way in selling tickets! It’s a simple fact that everybody likes a spectacle and some of the most successful events have learned to use this knowledge to their advantage.

Give ‘em Something to Talk About

It may feel a little like a cheap ploy to go big, but remember, it’s ok to show off when you’re putting on a show! The usual suspects here are things like fireworks displays, eating contests, oversized anything, etc. It’s not exactly high-brow but it works – just ask the 200-year-old circus industry.


But we’re not just stalking stunts, here. C2 Montreal stands as a refined example of this technique. This three-day event brings together visionaries and forward-thinkers from around the world to explore the relationship between commerce and creativity, and its potential to redefine business. While C2MTL appears to have all of the standard conference elements on the surface (keynote speakers, sessions, lounges, music, etc.), there are several creative variations on the norm that make this immersive event a truly memorable, inspirational experience.

A few standout features of C2MTL:

  • No typical teacher/student sessions; instead, collaborative workshops, DIY labs involving huge post-it notes, and brainstorm sessions held in ball pits to inspire creative thinking
  • No standard free food/drink situations; instead, attendees purchased food and there was a full bar in the middle of the venue open the whole time
  • No common floor plan; instead, a custom-designed Innovation Village, interactive exhibits and shops from local artists funded by the city of Montreal

There’s a Time and a Place…

Obviously, an over-the-top shock-and-awe strategy isn’t universal. There’s definitely a time and place for it, but if it makes sense for your audience or subject matter there are ways to use it to great effect without too much extra effort or budget.

A really easy example is a world record attempt. American Express Meetings & Events used this to great effect at their event last November, successfully setting a world record for the longest human chain lined up tallest to shortest. Why not, right?

Just goes to show that if you can dream it up, you can probably create a world record around it. Brainstorm ideas that might be fun and relevant to your attendees and you could score an easy win in the promotional game.

But That’s Not All!

This is but one of the 10+ secrets to sold-out events available in our latest Ebook. Download it now to fill yourself in on other actionable strategies that will help you take your show to the next level!

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