5 Key Coachella Lessons Learned From A Digital Marketing Perspective

lessons from our LAB

April 26, 2012

5 Key Coachella Lessons Learned From A Digital Marketing Perspective

Our Digital Scientists are made up of tech-loving, results-oriented, passionate, digital marketing nerds who have an unnatural obsession with all things digital. Most likely seen glued to a screen and spewing new digital marketing trends.

The Annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1999. Growing from a modest two day festival with 25,000 attendees to a two weekend long, three day arts and music festival with 80,000+ people, Coachella has certainly put its name on the map. Bringing in musicians and fans from around the world, there is no denying that Coachella has found the right mix to excite and draw in an audience. While Coachella may be just a fun time in the California sun to some, it's success provides many lessons for musicians and marketers alike.

This year in particular, Coachella has utilized some interesting marketing strategies to grow its audience and increase loyalty through social media, contests and giveaway, and a classily-California brand attitude. Below showcases some examples from the festival that have helped grow Coachella into the huge sensation it is today and the lessons your brand can use to tap into that same success.

Building An Audience

Since its beginning, Coachella has brought in a loyal audience by connecting with people's wants and needs and targeting their interests in fun, unique ways. With big chart-topping artists and a cool, California atmosphere, music lovers flocked from all around the globe to spend the weekend in the sun. By creating a fun and friendly environment filled with the chart-topping music and innovative art people hunger for, Coachella quickly grew a devote audience who remained captivated through its brand's uniquely California attitude. Over the past 14 years, Coachella has sold out numerous times. This year, for the first time, Coachella launched two duplicate, back to back weekends that both sold out their 80,000+ tickets within hours. Now that is some serious loyalty!

Integrating Social Media

What better place to be social than at a festival with thousands of music lovers? Coachella gets it! Both online and offline Coachella does a fantastic job of promoting being social. They do a great job managing their social media pages and forums year round with photos, videos, articles, and more to keep the hype and excitement building for the one magical weekend a year.

This year, Coachella brought online communication to the polo fields by incorporating social media into each attendees experience. This year, all festival goers were issued wristbands as their weekend ticket that could be linked with their Facebook accounts. By doing so, users were entered into drawing to win prizes and VIP passes. Additionally, there were social check-in scanners placed at each stage where users could simply wave their bracelet and be checked-in on Facebook that they were watching their favorite band at Coachella. It was a very cool way to keep people excited and talking about Coachella online even in the midst of the festival.


Beyond Coachella's new and exciting social check-in feature, they also enticed festival goers to share their experience with photos this year. Throughout the festival grounds, numerous photo booths were set up in various boutiques, art galleries, and tents. In between catching their favorite artists, shade-seeking hipsters could pop in to grab a quick photo with their friends to share online. Some of the photo booths like the one at H&M offered $1 donations to help fight AIDS for every couple they photographed kissing #KissForACause

Sponsors and Partnerships

Throughout the festival, numerous tents and businesses were set up housing many of Coachella's sponsors and partners. Offering attendees air conditioning, water, a place to charge their phones, ride across the festival, and much more these partners these various businesses help make the Coachella experience what it is. By offering festival goers value, people were more than happy to pop into a tent and read a couple flyers. It was a win-win situation for everyone. Coachella gets funding from sponsors, the sponsors increase their awareness and loyalty with their Coachella audience, and attendees get a few relieving minutes of air conditioning and some swag for the road.

Utilize Video

Coachella 2012 Live YouTube Webcast


If you didn't have a chance to make it out to Coachella for the weekend, you could catch the live stream of many of the performers on YouTube. Partnering with YouTube to stream the festival live simultaneously on three different channels gave viewers all across the world a chance to catch their favorite acts for free without ever having to leave the couch. This is a pretty genius way to not only spread awareness of the festival, but to increase excitement and make viewers reconsider missing the festival next year.

With over 160,000 tickets sold in just hours this year, it is pretty clear that Coachella has figured out the secret recipe for success. Your business can leverage these same ideas to build a successful marketing platform and rock the charts!

Key Takeaways

  • Build A Brand Attitude
  • Understand Your Audience's Wants and Needs
  • Build Loyalty
  • Incorporate Social Media (Make It Fun)
  • Contests And Giveaways (People Love Free Stuff)
  • Encourage Sharing
  • Build Partnerships
  • Utilize Video

Did you make it out to Coachella this year? Tell us who you favorite acts were and check out the top discussed acts from weekend 1 of Coachella 2012. Let us know how you feel Coachella uses marketing to connect and grow each year and what lessons learned by other b rands to be successful.

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