We were lucky to have the opportunity to speak with Jeff Gale of TicketBiscuit for The Structured Start-Up podcast. Drawing on his experience building a successful full-service ticketing company, Gale shared his tips for marketing, growth hacking, and other sales techniques.
In addition to founding TicketBiscuit, Jeff Gale has worked with several technologically innovative companies, even serving as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Techstars. After Etix acquired TicketBiscuit in 2017, Gale founded Santosha Capital to formalize his angel investing. He also founded The Santosha Foundation in order to support his dedication to philanthropy. Additionally, Gale is a partner at Accelerated Partners, a Birmingham private equity firm focused on identifying, partnering with, and accelerating companies that demonstrate a strong capability for growth. He has a strong interest in cryptocurrency as well as the revolutionary potential of blockchain and the Internet of Things.
Here’s a preview of the advice Gale had for entrepreneurs equally invested in businesses that can bring us all a brighter future:
1. Raise Your Expectations for the Unexpected
Gale founded TicketBiscuit, a ticketing and event management and marketing platform, in 2001 and ran the company until it was acquired in 2017. Gale found himself working with a market that he never anticipated at the start: children’s dance studios. Though unexpected, this proved to be a highly lucrative market. There are over 15,000 children’s dance studios across the country, and each holds one or two recitals every year – recitals that family members need tickets to attend. By keeping an eye out for opportunities in unexpected places, TicketBiscuit soon found themselves selling “the hottest ticket in town.”
2. Celebrate Your Differences and Find Unmet Needs
Gale admits that ultimately sales and marketing are based on one universal message: “we’re going to save you time and make you money.” However, Gale stresses the importance of finding new ways to implement that value proposition. He suggests talking to prospective customers. Ask them how they’re solving their problems now – and what they don’t like about their current solutions. Not only is this a great way to learn about your competitors, it’s also an excellent way to discover how your company can offer a different – and better – solution to the problem.
3. Stay Top-of-Mind
Gale noted that companies have shifted from a sales-oriented to a marketing-based approach. Traditional sales theory involves actively convincing your customer that they need your product, usually in a one-on-one setting. However, that approach can be aggressive and off-putting. It’s also often not cost-effective. Content marketing, on the other hand, both convinces a customer that your product or service works for them and makes sure that your company remains top-of-mind. Gale says this is especially true of content that helps the customer in some way, such as a discussion of best practices or new developments and potential risks in the industry. In this way, the customer will already trust your company when it comes time for them to buy a product or service.