Expert Interview: Dr. Marcus Garbe

Insider Interview Series 6 min read

on long-term industry trends, the undeniable influences on the Ticketing Ecosystem, and consumer behaviour.

Dr. Marcus Garbe Interview Ticketing
Dr. Marcus Garbe - Founder & Managing Partner of Transaction Consulting.

In our Insider Interview Series, the world’s leading ticketing experts share their vision and insights on the industry. Asking the questions is Oxynade Founder & CEO Hans Nissens.

The expert today is Dr. Marcus Garbe. After his studies of Business Administration & Economics in Hamburg, Cologne, Barcelona & Cambridge (USA), he gained his extensive experience working for the Ifo Institute, Roland Berger & Partner, Grey Global Group, REPLY and Ticketcorner. In the meantime, he also successfully founded and sold several start-up companies. Based on his extensive experience within the Live Entertainment & Ticketing industry, he is also a renowned keynote-speaker & author. Today Marcus is the Founder & Managing Partner of Transaction Consulting, a Boutique Advisory Firm based in Zurich that is specialised in supporting companies and entrepreneurs with growth funding, M&A as well as Trade-sale preparation and execution.

Hello Marcus, after our meeting during TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2019 it is a pleasure to meet again. We are very much looking forward to hearing your insights about the long-term-vision for Direct Ticketing Fan2Artist and your view of established internet companies.

Hello Hans, the pleasure is mine. It is great to meet again, and I am looking forward to sharing my views. Hopefully we meet again during a Ticketing event later this year.

Q: Eventbrite has gone public this year, what effect on the market do you expect?

A: Eventbrite will use the cash gained for geographical expansion and will expand its feature range for sustainable customer added value. First priority is the migration of ticketfly clients to their own platform. After that, further acquisitions can be expected, as was the case in 2017 and 2018, to speed up the market entry intro new markets and to consolidate existing positions. I do not expect that they will use the new capital to build new features for an entry into new segments such as theatres or sports.

Q: What is your vision on the evolution of self-service offerings in our industry?

A: I am certain that we will see more industrialisation and specialisation of the industry. Self-service or SaaS-offerings will definitely gain their market share as a lot of outdated systems will leave the market due to high-cost-maintenance or the extreme costs to keep these outdated platforms up-to-date. In most cases, this will not be feasible, and for this reason, we will see a market consolidation and a clear-out of numerous regional players.
However, the competition in the SaaS-market is gaining momentum as Eventbrite ‘clones’ are operating in almost every country. Traditional players – denying that this is part of the Ticketing Business - use DIY offerings as a sale-channel for their core platforms. Some with innovative business models e.g. ‘Zero cost’ such as Eventfrog in Switzerland or a fully scalable international platform as Oxynade’s own eTaaS-platform (eTicketing as a Service). Some traditional players with a ‘light product’ such as Eventim have introduced and integrated comparable operating systems as part of their core product.

Q: Amazon Tickets started to operate in November 2016 but has already left the market. What will be their next move in your opinion?

A: Amazon Tickets has conducted a first and limited event-ticketing trial in the UK and built a small team at HQ in Seattle. The potential of combining event ticketing with Amazon Prime was the talk of every ticketing conference.
No sooner did they start than they pulled the plug. Once again, ticketing is an industry with very specific rules and requires special competencies and assets. Due to vertical integration of the main players into the organiser business and long-term contracts. It will take time to build up a $100M+ business. The organic development of a substantial ticketing business seemed to be too long for Amazon. Should Amazon venture a new attempt, they will probably do so with a bold acquisition.

Q: Do you think that the entry of new ticketing service providers is becoming an industry trend? And if that is the case, what will the consequences be?

A: This trend is an emerging one indeed. New Players with innovative models and new market models are on the rise. First of all, we will see a new distribution of value between fans, organisers and ticketing service providers. In my opinion is that fans and organisers will win, ticketing service providers will be under pressure.
Secondly, the discussion about consumer data and the question of ‘who owns the customer’ will become more and more pertinent. Last but not least, technological developments are lowering the barrier to entry the market. We have seen numerous new players with roots in e-commerce starting a ticketing business. Some with success, some with failure.
The bottom line for all new entrants will be to define very precisely a sustainable strategy with a compelling competitive position in the given market. The increasing competition will no longer accept blurred positions. Pure Software as a Service Platforms will need to find partners whom provides the necessary event services. If not, they will be limited to addressing clients with own event service teams. Most players in the ticketing industry work with mixed positioning between service and platform. This mixed strategy stretches competencies and assets to the limits of most. Investors prefer not to invest in a mixed strategy or ‘mixed-bag’ venture. For this reason, access to growth capital will be very limited unless of course your positioning and strategy is clear and well defined.

Q: Direct sales of Fan2Artist are slowly entering the market. What is holding them back from a major global breakthrough?

A: The key challenge for all ticketing service providers is to find the right balance between platform (scale) and local adaption (service). From a technology aspect, this should be scalable; from a service aspect, markets and regions must be chosen carefully.
The advice to our clients in the Ticketing- and Entertainment Industry is to work on a strategic position with a core offering (best in class). Secondly, open up for partners – open API strategy – and choose the right position in the ecosystem. Ecosystems are customer-oriented networks through which products and services are bundled and offered by various players. At the heart of the digital ecosystem lays a platform for the integration of a wide range of systems and services. The aim is to jointly generate new and unique customer added value through these connections.
It is inevitable in times where customer expectations are very high due to Apple, Facebook and Google with their superior algorithms, platforms and interfaces, to also guarantee superior consumer satisfaction within the ticketing ecosystem. Therefor seamlessly integrates industry leading technologies as e.g. a CRM, Mailchimp etc. An API based platform in hence a corner stone of the new-generation of the ticketing-platform.

Marcus, thank you for elaboration on these insightful and revealing topics with us today. It was a usual a pleasure to meet you and talk with you about the Ticketing Business.

The pleasure was mine. I am looking forward to talk to you soon again during one of the upcoming industry events.

This interview was conducted by our Founder & CEO Hans Nissens & edited by our Marketing Manager Lea Vanessa Stiels. Photo courtesy of Dr. Marcus Garbe.

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