Nestled in California’s rolling San Juan Hills, cradled by the Ortega Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, sits The OutPost. The 65-acre spot has it all: beauty, soul, gentle ocean breezes, and excellent acoustics. San Juan Capistrano is deep in history and rich in traditions, home to international equestrian events and rodeos for decades.

Paul Thornton, Founder & President of the event company TAG Presents, has produced and promoted The X Games, Formula 1 races, and music festivals in multiple states. During his first visit to what is now The OutPost last year, he fell in love with the stunning grounds. “It was this beautifully manicured place, and a great location between San Diego, LA, and Orange County, southern California’s resort cowboy town,” said Paul, who signed on as The OutPost’s exclusive promoter with his team at Tag Presents after meeting with management from the park and city officials. “It’s the perfect blank canvas.” 

Shows of all types and sizes

That blank canvas comes with huge possibilities and equally big challenges. The OutPost can be set up for a myriad of event sizes, from 1,000 to 10,000 — and Paul has dived into planning and promoting all sorts of occasions there, from food and wine festivals and music festivals to corporate events, sporting games, and even weddings. Each type of event brings a unique set of production, marketing, and planning demands. 

Paul knew he required a partner that could “meet our needs and have flexibility for different kinds of shows,” and Eventbrite stood out immediately. His team joined the platform in the middle of 2021, and they’ve teamed up with Eventbrite to host four events so far, starting with the food, wine, and music festival MissionFest, a sort of “mini Coachella with class” with about 4000 attendees. 

For MissionFest, they sold 9% of their tickets through automatic listings on Bandsintown and Songkick — enabled by Eventbrite, without Paul’s team needing to step in — and used e-blasts for pre-sale and on sale announcements to reach their growing audience. Eventbrite surprised Paul with its ease of use for event setup and sale. When he was running short on staff, he could recruit someone new to help without extensive training, and Paul even sometimes jumped in to set up event sales himself.

He found Eventbrite “incredibly user friendly and easy to figure out,” especially for the reserved seating, distanced seating, and access codes they needed to utilize on a large scale. 

“We have a lot of different setups based on the type of the show or event,” explains Paul. When it comes to working with Eventbrite, “what’s helpful is that we can build templates and copy the whole previous event right into a new event, and then tweak it for what we need. With so many systems you have to start from scratch, which can be very cumbersome.” He was thrilled to put those cumbersome systems in the rearview. 

Reaching the perfect audience

Marketing such diverse events requires reaching a whole lot of people. But not just anyone — an assortment of events means you want to reach the right audience for each specific production, which is no easy feat. That means he is tasked with reaching fans of country singer-songwriter Jon Pardi one day and attendees for The 62nd Annual Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Fair — a local tradition which celebrates the return of the swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission — the next. There may be endurance sporting events in May and arts festivals in June, with brand launches in-between. To pull that off, “we need good reporting and data to work on our pixel tracking and retargeting efforts,” Paul says. His digital team drops pixels in digital ads for retargeting. The combination of his and Eventbrite’s retargeting efforts reach a wide audience, and this is completely automated by the Eventbrite platform. 

TAG Presents utilizes MailChimp and Eventbrite integration; everyone on their MailChimp list is targeted in their digital ad funnels and retargeted with reminder emails (sparingly, of course). Paul and his team run a three funnel social media marketing system. They implement pre-on sale funneling to email signup for a promo code, and post-sale targeting that includes specific interest, similar artists, and wide net interest. They use funneling to retarget all engagements: Instagram, Facebook, Website, and Mailchimp, and to serve ads via Instagram, IG Stories, Facebook Newsfeed, and Google Retargeting Banners. 

Presales and promo codes are another crucial tool. For example, for concerts, “we can use different codes for each radio station, artist fan club, from our list, and really track who is using what code. Tracking is great: we can turn to a radio station and say, ‘you need to step it up, this other station is kicking your butt,’” says Paul.  

TAG also taps into Eventbrite’s audience of engaged ticket buyers searching for things to do. For an upcoming concert, 22% of current sales, or 1444 tickets and counting, were driven through Eventbrite, bringing new audiences to the venue. “Bringing marketing and sales to the table is really what sets Eventbrite apart,” says Paul. “It’s incredibly valuable.” 

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