3 Fantastic Marketing Lessons From the Glastonbury Festival

Picture the scene, you've been up all night long. Your head is banging. Your possessions are being slowly swallowed up by mud and to top it all off you actually paid to be in this position.

No you're not having a nightmare, this is a typical weekend at the Glastonbury Festival. Despite the scene we've just described, for the past 46 years people have flocked to the summer festival every year and now in greater numbers than ever.


What drives people to keep going?

What lessons can marketeers learn from this phenomenon?

And how can we put them into practice for the remaining 362 days of the year?


To find out we invite you to don your wellies and follow us through the remainder of this article (wellies optional).

Festival Tent

Know your target audience, and give them what they want

What do people who attend the Glastonbury Festival want? According to the organisers "Everyone is here to have a wild time in their own way." (www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk), 175,000 per year would agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. Glastonbury have clearly hit the nail on the head. But how do they cater for an ever growing number of individuals wanting to be....well, individual?

Rather than trying to mould their customers into manageable groups, the festival organisers work hard to cater for the needs of different people. Think about the line up. Yes you've got the likes of Radiohead and the Foo Fighters for those die hard rock fans out there. But what about parents who just want to chill out to some acoustic rhythms with their kids? The site plan is carefully laid out to allow each festival goer to tailor their own experience.

What can we take away? One size doesn't fit all. Tailor your offering to your customers needs and expectations, take into account their circumstances, motivations, goals and challenges and then modify your product or service accordingly. What happens though when your customers face a challenge?

Tailor your offering to your customer needs and expectations

Making simple changes that benefit your customers will enhance their experience and motivate them to become advocates of your business.

Understand the challenges and fix them

Traffic Jams. Nobody enjoys them. In fact the thought of being stuck inside a car for hours on end is enough to put people off traveling all together. So how have Glastonbury managed to cushion the blow of this inevitable challenge for their customers?

Quite simply, they open their car parks the night before when traffic is low. They even suggest that people may want to travel through the night and arrive in the early hours.

This simple gesture shows not only an understanding of the challenges faced by their customers, but also a genuine willingness to do something about it.

Let's look at another example. What's the point in going to Glastonbury if you can't film the action and show off to all your mates back home? For festival fans the ability to charge their smartphones is a imperative as Ed Sheeran remembering to turn his loop pedal on.

Rather than ignoring this vital part of their customer's experience, the organisers at Glastonbury set up charging tents and power bank swapping services to make sure no one misses the action.

The lesson? Don't ignore the challenges your customers face, give them a helping hand. If your customers need to contact you regularly don't make them call a premium rate phone number. If your customers struggle to get to your business, can you go to them? Making simple changes that benefit your customers will enhance their experience and motivate them to become advocates of your business. So that's enough surely? You've created an finely tailored experience and helped your customers solve their problems, that is the hallmark of a good business, but how will people know you are a good business unless they are told?

Don't be anti-social

Before, during and after the festival the organisers of Glastonbury maintain an active presence on social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook. They run 3 official Twitter accounts to provide updates and support to individuals.

@GlastoFest - Main news account. Provides general information on event
@GlastoInfo - Information service for those at the event, providing q&a support.
@GlastoLive - Live news and updates during the event

These accounts aren't just there to tout the headline acts and notify people of bottlenecks in the crowd. They enhance the customer experience. The organisers engage in an active dialogue with their customers answering questions and providing live assistance.

The Glastonbury festival Facebook account is littered (no pun intended) with video clips and images that capture the essence of the festival.

What can we learn from these points? There is a difference between being on social media and being active on social media. Having a presence on social networks is no good if that presence is months, or in some cases, years out of date. Customers will directly associate your online presence with your offline presence so be sure to communicate just as you would if they were standing across the till from you. Make good use of images and video, if you have a wonderful new product don't just tell people about it show them it! Encourage them to respond with photos and stories of their own.

There is a difference between being on social media and being active on social media.

In reality we're just scratching the surfacing with these thoughts, there are many useful lessons that can be gleaned from the green fields of Glastonbury. Let us know what lessons you would like to apply in your business @RPLMKTG.