Online start-up rewarding social media users for promoting potential

Ticket Ninja CEO John X

New Sydney start-up Ticket Ninja is tapping into the marketing potential of social media users and giving them free event tickets, in return. Founder and entrepreneur John X spoke to Dynamic Business about how his business is changing the events marketplace.

The Ticket Ninja website, which was unveiled this month, has created a new platform to help event organisers generate buzz for their events.

This initiative centres on ordinary event-goers, who are willing to promote online in exchange for free tickets.

The idea is simple: members of the public sign up to Ticket Ninja, share links for an event that they’re interested in, and utilize social media to build buzz around it. Ticket Ninja then rewards its most successful ‘promoters’ with tickets to the event.

“It’s a win-win situation,” explained Ticket Ninja CEO John Nguyen, who goes under the moniker John X.

As a former event organiser, this young entrepreneur understands the difficulties in gaining promotion.

“We wanted to solve this problem for event organisers,” he said.

Since September 2011, Ticket Ninja has given away tickets to a number of high-demand events, including Eminem, Stereosonic, and Mary Poppins: The Musical.

The Sydney start-up also gave away 100 free cinema tickets to coincide with the launch of the website.

“Our aim is to build membership, so that we can give away tickets to a wider range of events, and help more event promoters to reach capacity,” said John X.

While the initiative may share similarities with the daily deals and online giveaways sites sweeping the online market, John X explained the ways in which Ticket Ninja’s model is providing more effective promotion.

“Discounts, and dirt-cheap products, can actually cheapen the brand, and you find that a lot of people refuse to go back and pay full price,” he identified.

“Instead, we use limited free tickets as incentives, to turn people into advocates. This gets the message out there, without degrading brands.”

John X described the company’s model as “Daily Deals 2.0”; one that will create customer loyalty and sustainable buzz.

“Ticket Ninja isn’t just used to attract people who are after a quick discount. It’s a way of starting the conversation around your brand. And the ordinary people who sign-up are already interested in starting that conversation,” he explained.

“There’s so much potential, in social media, for something to go viral. And when people see a link that a friend has posted, on Facebook, they’re more likely to trust the brand and recall the name, later down the track. That simple form of promotion can do huge things for your brand.”

Although Ticket Ninja has been event-oriented, so far, John X is keen to extend the model to other products and services.

“It’s ultimately about building brand awareness, and I think that this model would work for any kind of brand. We’ve already registered the names Product Ninja and Service Ninja,” the entrepreneur said.

John X said he has plans to expand Ticket Ninja across Australia and New Zealand.