Marketing and math quiz: Take the tickets vs. the refund

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The company producing Michael Jackson’s concert tour has announced those who have purchased tickets can get a refund or receive “souvenir tickets.” In the old days, before electronic ticket ordering, the tickets would have been issued upon purchase. I assume the “souvenir tickets” are going to be printed up and authenticated in some way to add a measure of validity to any claim they are “limited” and thus, have some value as a collectible. I assume also they’ll be marketed in the same way a collectible dish or “special minted” gold coin will be — except with a significant twist: the marketer is attempting to convert someone who is already a fan and who has already parted with their money — just not for what the promoter is selling. The promoter — if they act quickly — can convince that potential buyers to “act immediately” to exercise their right to take special delivery of this once-in-a-life-time item they’ve already purchased. The message (which is a natural for those who attend concerts) is that they belong to a private club that no one else is going to be given membership into.

When I saw this announcement, I wondered if, other than sentimental value, the “collectible” ticket might have any value in the future. Some extremely quick (two-clicks) research and unscientific back of the envelop calculations lead me to think that the tickets could possibly increase in value by up to 5% annually (compounded) based on the current retail price ($75) of a $15 unused ticket to an August, 1977 Elvis concert. Of course, that’s the retail price. It’s probably worth a lot less.

Bottomline: If the idea is to hold the ticket for a long time and then sell it, I’d take the money now. (However, I would have never purchased the ticket in the first place.) I’m guessing that a lot of people will take the tickets, however. I think they’d be better off flipping the ticket quickly — while those outside the exclusive group may want in — rather than wait for 32 years to sell it on eBay.