Customer Spotlight: CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival


Sometimes all you need to develop a good idea is a bowl of pasta and a couple of bottles of wine. That’s the story behind how Marc Iacona, Executive Director, and John Nugent, Artistic Director, decided to team up to produce the first CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival in 2002. 


What started as a six-day festival with 50 artists is now a nine-day event with multiple venues. This year, It included 1,750 artists from 14 countries to provide entertainment and instruction to event attendees with a lineup of 300 shows. An event as massive as the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival requires a ton of communication and marketing to coordinate and publicize the event. To ensure the festival team is reaching each of their target audiences effectively, they use Constant Contact to centralize their efforts.


Click to enlargeClick to enlargeConsistency is key

Putting together a successful event means an email list has to be grown, segmented, and managed. Emails have to be drafted, designed, scheduled, and sent. Outside of marketing and publicizing the event, there are many additional items that need to fall into place— venue booking, artist coordination, ticket sales, merchandising, and sponsorship deals are also top priorities.


The festival team relies on Constant Contact to centralize their efforts and promote consistency. “I’ve used other email marketing tools, and I just don’t think that there’s anything that exists that is as user-friendly and reliable as Constant Contact,” said Amanda Antinore, CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival’s communications director. “The fact that my entire job– and almost every single one of my clients– uses it is a testament to how great it is.” 


This centralization is proof of the platform’s power and positive impact on the festival team’s communication efforts. “The ease of use and the fact that we can preview an email and send it off to get approved. Share it with the right people and be able to schedule something in advance — that is really important to us,” said Amanda.


Informing their audience

One of the features the festival team uses to keep their email marketing organized is list segmentation. The more you grow your list, the more necessary segmentation is to create more targeted emails. The larger your list, the more complex you can make your segments. 


Within Constant Contact, whenever you create a list segment, it's saved so that you can send it again and again. It will also automatically update relevant contacts for you, so you know you're always sending to the right ones. Creating different sign-up forms lets you add your contacts onto a list of your choosing, or allows your contacts to choose the lists they want to be a part of based on their own interests. 


A band (including festival founder Marc Iacona – third from the left) plays at the jazz festival.A band (including festival founder Marc Iacona – third from the left) plays at the jazz festival.

Communicating with multiple groups can be difficult when they require different messages from your business. The festival team creates individual lists to cater to their audiences, whether they are event attendees or people working behind the scenes. “We’ve just been able to use all of those different lists to target exactly what message we need to get out to the right people, and that’s extremely useful,” said Amanda. 


CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is no stranger to building up its community through the power of good music — that’s how they have continued to host and grow their festival for the last 20 years. To ensure they communicate successfully with event attendees, vendors, sponsors, and everyone else on their email list, they use Constant Contact to segment their audiences, schedule communications, access reporting, and collect registration information. One centralized platform helps them keep everything about pre- and post-festival as smooth as jazz.  


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