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Eventbrite | Case Study

How A Creative Marketing Strategy Helps Eat Drink SF Stand Out in a Competitive Food Scene

San Francisco has some of the world’s best chefs, most renowned restaurants, and a savvy, food-loving population that likes nothing more than a great meal when out on the town.

But San Franciscans don’t just want to eat and drink in the typical restaurant atmosphere. That’s why more than 8,000 discerning foodies packed Fort Mason in August as the Golden Gate Restaurant Association held its annual Eat Drink SF festival, three days of delicious events showcasing the Bay Area's world-class culinary talent.

In its tenth year, Eat Drink SF is still popular — but competition in the food and beverage exhibition space is heating up.

“We are determined to maintain our position as the premier event for restaurant-goers and top chefs in the Bay Area,” says Yuliya Patsay, the association’s marketing director. “But there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to do what had to be done.”

The challenge: Staying ahead of the competition with limited marketing resources

Eat Drink SF is the restaurant association’s most important customer-facing event of the year. It has to be a success. But the association has a very small marketing team that didn’t have the time or the resources to collect and take advantage of crucial data on customer behavior.

“We knew we needed to exploit new, and creative channels as we strove to reach a larger audience of event-goers,” says Patsay. But the team didn’t have time to do this work manually. Instead, they needed an event management partner that offered robust marketing tools so that they could stay ahead of the competition.

In the team's quest to differentiate their festival to foodies, they turned to three key tactics:

• Partner with event experts to uplevel their marketing strategy

• Reach a larger audience on social

• Make it easier for attendees to buy tickets

Eat Drink SF by the numbers

  • 10+

    Hours of consulting services

  • 28.5%

    Increase in ticket sales over 2017

  • 58%

    Sales through Eventbrite’s embedded checkout widget

Partnering with experts to uplevel their marketing strategy

The Eat Drink SF team knew they needed to take a step back to assess their current marketing strategy as a whole. But in a time crunch, the team hadn’t been able to prioritize that work.

That’s why Patsay turned to the Eventbrite Marketing Services team. This team used Eat Drink SF’s customer data to audit their current marketing tactics and provide deep audience insights. Beyond these consulting services, the marketing services team also managed the tactical execution of email sends, sweepstakes, social postings, and editorial listings.

“We decided to partner with Eventbrite Marketing Services because we knew the ROI would be worth it. The budget essentially got us an extension to our team that helps us operate smarter — especially in the areas where we don’t have time or resources to prioritize.”

– Yuliya Patsay, Marketing Director

Patsay explains that the impact wasn’t just gaining industry knowledge, but also “using the insights to power more targeted and efficient campaigns.” This partnership helped drive a dramatic increase in engagement, especially felt in email, which Eat Drink SF had struggled to improve in the past. The average email open rate in the industry is just 20.4%. But that rate soared to 32.9% in the Eat Drink SF campaign.

“Eventbrite’s team has more in depth knowledge of email marketing than we did. We were able to test and segment, run A/B campaigns, execute ‘buy one, get one,’ deals, and retarget people who were at previous events. All of this resulted in more revenue,” Patsay says.

Reaching a larger audience on social

Beyond partnering with the Eventbrite Marketing Services team, Patsay also wanted to take advantage of the technology’s self-serve marketing tools. And with more than 101,000 followers on Instagram and a strong following on Facebook, Patsay was focused on making it easier for users on those platforms to buy tickets.

The team turned to Eventbrite’s integrations with Facebook and Instagram to make that happen. On Facebook, they were able to quickly publish their event and sell tickets directly on the Facebook Event page. On Instagram, they added a “Get Tickets” button to their Instagram profile so browsers could quickly become buyers.

“Between the Facebook and Instagram integrations we were able to reach our followers and give them a chance to buy tickets quickly and conveniently,” Patsay says.

“I appreciate how many other platforms Eventbrite integrates with. It’s great to know that we have so many tools at our disposal.”

– Yuliya Patsay, Marketing Director

"On average events that sell tickets directly on Facebook see 20% more ticket sales, and double the free registrations, compared to those that don't, according to March 2017 Facebook research.

Providing the easiest purchase experience for attendees

While these integrations helped Patsay create a seamless buying experience on social media, she wanted the purchase process on Eat Drink SF’s website to be just as easy. That way, they could point all their marketing to the website, instead of some to their website and some to their ticketing page.

“We want to advertise and drive people to one place,” says Patsay. “That’s why we love Eventbrite’s embedded checkout tool. It helps us drive messaging to our website and encourages attendees to stay there.”

Embedded checkout on the Eat Drink SF website made it easy for attendees to buy tickets without ever leaving the page, minimizing the chance of abandoned carts. Using this tool to center messaging around their website paid off for Patsay. Nearly 60% of total sales for the event came from embedded checkout, and website conversion was up by 54% over the previous year.

Looking to the future

After this year’s successes and partnership with Eventbrite Marketing Services, “we now have a to-do list of things we can implement because of the marketing audit Eventbrite helped us perform,” Patsay says. “We are already putting those lessons to work for next year.”

"They provided in depth expertise and insight into marketing strategies and tactics we’d tried and helped us brainstorm new ideas. I couldn’t speak more highly of this team and the value they provided.”

– Yuliya Patsay, Marketing Director

"We always feel confident that the team at Eventbrite has our back. The team is excellent — so responsive, thorough, clear about expectations and outcomes. A+ all around," Patsay says.

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