Advertisers, founders and even major conglomerates have viewed the millennial customer as an elusive, unpredictable enigma practically since the term “millennial” permeated our modern discourse.
Most fail to recognize the nuances of the millennial experience and are unable to pinpoint what they truly value and respond to.
Gametime, however has seemingly cracked the code.
A highly visual platform that allows users to purchase last minute tickets to games, shows, concerts etc, has grown exponentially since its inception.
Brad Griffith, Gametime’s Founder and CEO sat down with TechDay to discuss how the company has been able to successfully market to millennials and thrive amongst the competition.
In regards to technology, what separates the Gametime platform from its competitors?
We’re big believers in considering what's only possible now. If the device has an embedded camera, you can reimagine data entry and selling all together. If you have a list of contacts on the OS, you can help fans identify friends who might be interested in doing something tonight. If you have a small screen, you need curation (only the best options) and variation (distribution of price points). With touch and tilt, you can build a faster and more engaging experience than you could with point and click. We think about all of these new opportunities and build what we think can create the most value.
In addition, the amount of data we consider increases 1000% each year as usage grows and we consider more data points per interaction. We use cutting-edge machine learning to build valuable products on top of this data that helps people discover amazing things to do tonight. The technology we use wasn’t even available three months ago. We’re still just at the very beginning of what’s possible with ML and we’re investing heavily in the future.
How does it function to appeal to, particularly, the millennial market?
Millennials make up 71% of our users and they tend to make last-minute decisions. What if an unmissable house party comes up? Millennials crave flexibility. To maximize flexibility this demo tends to coordinate via text, so executing a transaction on mobile is a must if the “Let’s do this!” answer comes back via SMS. With that answer in hand, the alpha friends, as we call them, are then looking for the fastest way to transact and get into the event. We built Gametime with the millennial alpha friend’s needs in mind.
The big tailwind is that millennials and other demos are becoming more focused on experiences over ownership. A nice, but quickly depreciating, car is less valuable to consumers than the memories of an amazing concert or game with friends. We’re not selling tickets per se, we’re really selling a tighter connection with friends and the community.
Gametime has grown fast because millennials tend to share their experiences on social channels. Essentially, we provide the material (photos of amazing experiences) millennials can use to connect with friends who were there (a shared album) and even those who weren’t there (a Snapchat story).
The Gametime platform is highly visual. How does this function to garner users and subsequently grow the company?
We designed the whole company around the fan experience. We’re proud of the high-res photography because it provides an accurate preview of the experience. We believe that there’s no better way to get a sense for what you’re buying than a view from that area. To go even deeper on this strategy, we recently launched a review system called FanViews and have collected over 10,000 fan-submitted perspectives.
The other thing photography does is provide a sense of trust. Fans think: "if Gametime went through all this trouble to get these amazing high-res photos, they likely have the same attention to quality and detail in the rest of the service." This has really helped us grow fast.
We’re also entering a world where snake oil doesn’t work as the mobile world features app reviews. Star ratings in the App Store and Play Store mean that existing users’ perspectives drive the interest of fans who are considering whether or not to try the service. Any service looking to grow fast in a mobile world should care a lot about this perception because it’s the foundation for adoption and acceleration.
Since Gametime's inception, how many times has the platform iterated and what is this evolution process like?
We move quickly and test things rather than waiting for a “big release” to evolve. We work like this on the product, technology, and business model. For product, we’ll have 10 AB tests going at any one time as we learn what fans want and keep what works. We release code 100x times a day in continuous deployment. In classic sports recruiting parlance, we don’t rebuild, we reload.
On the data side of our platform, machine learning enables continuous iteration. We’re training models that are learning in real-time which allows us to deliver a higher quality experience across curation, pricing and ad efficiency. In this machine learning sense, our platform iterates every second of every day!
Specifically, how do you use the mobile platform to improve selling?
Fans are very excited about how we’ve reimagined selling for mobile. It starts with the camera as the input device. We examined other products and they’d make fans enter up to 100 characters in order to sell - including entering a 16-digit barcode that was easy to fat finger. If you have a camera as a default part of the device and image-based machine learning on the backend, you can piece together a beautiful and fast new experience for creating a listing.
As the second piece of the puzzle, we’ve built automatic repricing to the market. We believe that not all fans want to be market makers. Fans are real people who are busy with real jobs, so they’d like someone who watches the market every second to make sure their price is optimal to maximize yield.