Photo by Daniel Öberg / Unsplash

3:1 Building memories sustainably: Ticketbutler

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

In the ever-evolving world of event management, creating lasting memories for attendees is the ultimate goal. But how can we achieve this while also making sustainable choices that are not only good for the planet but also enhance the brand of the event? In this episode of Event Martech, host Lee Matthew Jackson and guest Mads Kjer of Ticketbutler, a seasoned professional in the event industry, delve into this very topic.

Mads Kjer brings to the table a wealth of experience and a unique perspective on how to infuse sustainability into event management. He emphasizes the need for collaboration in the industry and discusses his company's innovative approach to encourage sustainability through unique solutions. These include their CO2 compensation feature and reusable name badges, which not only reduce waste but also create a unique experience for attendees.

Watch the video

We recorded this live, and Mads shows some of their awesome products so be sure to watch it on YouTube.

Key Takeaways

  • Collaboration is Key: Mads highlights the importance of collaboration in the event industry. By working together, companies can create more sustainable solutions and enhance the overall event experience.
  • Innovation in Sustainability: Mads' company is setting a great example with unique solutions such as a CO2 compensation feature and reusable name badges. These initiatives not only reduce the environmental impact of events but also add a unique touch that attendees will remember.
  • The Role of AI: The potential for AI in event management is vast. From optimizing travel and data management to creating more efficient processes, AI can play a significant role in making events more sustainable.
  • The Journey to Sustainability: Mads shares his personal journey in creating a ticketing platform with on-demand printing capabilities. This not only reduces waste but also allows for greater customization, enhancing the attendee experience.

As event organizers, we have a unique opportunity to create memorable experiences while also making a positive impact on the environment. We are certain you'll be inspired by the end of this episode to find your own novel approaches.

Connect with Mads


Lee Matthew Jackson [00:00:00]:

Welcome to the Event Martech Podcast. This is your host Lee, and on today's show, I am joined by the one, the only, Mr. Mads Kjer from Ticket Butler. Mate, how are you today?

Mads Kjer [00:00:11]:

I'm very good, thank you, Lee.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:00:13]:

It is wonderful to have you here. And for those who don't know who you are, could you give us a little mini bio?

Mads Kjer [00:00:22]:

Yeah. My name is Mads and I'm the CEO and co founder of Ticket Butler. Talking about events, it might be interesting to hear that, I've been in the event industry since I was nine years old.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:00:31]:

No way.

Mads Kjer [00:00:31]:

So the first twelve years of my life, I was traveling around with a gymnastic troupe called Flying Super Kids, performing of course, in Denmark, Norway, Germany, but also traveling around the world, like Thailand, Greenland, Lebanon, Cyprus, and different places in the world. That's the first twelve years. Then I was working as an event manager for a couple of years. Then I went engineering, product engineering on university. And then I founded Ticket Butler. And that's my little baby now.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:01:00]:

That is incredible. And do I have your permission to include the video of you on the Denmark's Got Talent?

Mads Kjer [00:01:08]:

Yeah, that was another thing. Yeah, that was a little side gig I did. I was in the Denmark Got Talent with a former gymnastic colleague and we went to Denmark Got Talent, got on a second place. So it was just super fun. It was just fun. We just tried out and suddenly just went nuts. That was also a little gig I did on the side. So I've both been on stage performing. I've been backstage as crew in the office doing marketing, PR. Like, I've been all around the different places in the event industry and I just love it.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:01:43]:

That's an incredibly rich background. I would really love to know then, at what point did the genesis for the idea of Ticket Butler come about?

Mads Kjer [00:01:54]:

You know, where the good idea start from? Beer.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:01:59]:

Oh, no way. Okay.

Mads Kjer [00:02:02]:

My brother, he lived in Australia and he was the lead engineer for a startup and they were building a ticketing platform. I was in Denmark sitting as an event manager, sitting with ticketing platform every day selling tickets. And we went out in Australia, got a beer, and we're just sitting there talking about ticketing system. But mostly we were complaining about how complex they were and how expensive. And it was just sitting there chatting, getting more and more beer. And suddenly we were just like, let's do it ourselves. Then that was the kickstart of everything. So, like, shortly, speaking about Ticket Butler, then we sat there, got the beer. A couple of years ran, we were doing some prototypes, just messing around. But then suddenly he came home from Australia, we sat down, decided to do a ticketing platform. I was studying back then. We did a ticketing platform for student voluntarily student organizations starting very niche, very small, very simple went super good. We figured out there were some needs in the professional area in the needs of data, you know, lee that you need to have some data, you need to have the branding as well and you also would like to have your ticket buyers on your own homepage. So integration was a super important thing for us as well. So branding, traffic data, you as an organizer get that which you don't get in some ticketing systems. So then we got into the professional area. Then Ticket Butler started. The first thing was called Ticket Fix then Ticket Butler and then we figured out, okay, there's something about name batches organizers hate like name batches doing them on their own printer on an other solution wasn't working for them. Then we made the name badge printer. We designed a specific printer for printing name badges on demand, on site, super easy to set up, 1 minute to set up, integrated with incident and stuff like that. So just super simple on demand printing so you can use it for small events as well. And then we just engineers, we can't stop involved. Then we got into making all these name badges. We'll come back to that in the system ability part, but that's just shortly speaking our story.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:04:08]:

That's incredible. And I mean just for maybe the first few years, how was things? Did it just go from success to success very quickly or were there a few hurdles along the way?

Mads Kjer [00:04:19]:

I would love to say it was

Mads Kjer [00:04:21]:

a success from the beginning.

Mads Kjer [00:04:25]:

We were moonshining working on the side of our studies and works and stuff like that. Started in the in the university sector which was very hard. Like the price model didn't work. I was a green. I didn't had any entrepreneurial experience. So it took some years to take off and then it was almost about taking off before Corona hit and, then you're cutting off a couple of years and now we're here and now we are experiencing credible growth especially because of the badge printing. So that's amazing.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:05:01]:

That's incredible. I mean you mentioned Corona actually but that was an incredible I mean it was incredibly scary for the events industry, of course, but it was also a time when we as a planet kind of realized that we don't necessarily need to guzzle tons of our resources. We can all still cope without all of that travel. And that's where online events saw a kind of a renaissance, which is exciting. And there now seems to be a push towards hybrid, let's face it, I mean we all love physical events, we love meeting people in person. But that's now sparked a new drive towards sustainability, and I've seen that you guys as well have a real mission to promote sustainability in the events industry. So could you tell us a little bit more about that and where was it birthed from?

Mads Kjer [00:05:51]:

I think in general it's a responsibility for companies to do what they can in terms of sustainability but you also need the resources to do it. So either you have incorporated in your product, which is the best part of it, but if you don't have it from the get going, I think you need to include it when you can, when you have the resources. And when we began having the resources to think out of the box, to think of more sustainable solutions, that's when it became fun because we had the resources to do it and now we see when we've done it, we're also growing upon it. So that's my philosophy as a company. And then my other thought is also like events is a super unique platform to promote sustainable values because when you're going to an event, you have an open mind, you're going there and you're like I'm going here to experience, to learn something new, to get inspired, to talk with people and all the stuff. So as an event planner, you have a responsibility to use that platform and I mean in my experience it's very good platform to provoke people thinking more sustainable. So that's just super nice to have that platform as an event organizer, also a provider to the event industry to give them possibilities, to provoke that many people thinking more sustainable and done right, you give them a better experience because people might lee like wow, I haven't thought about this sustainable way to do things. You give them a better experience. You as an organizer looks better, your branding is better, you give your guests a better experience for the event plus you're doing better for the planet. So if done right, it's such a good synergy between all the different perspectives in the events. That's also my take. So first, the responsibility as a company secondary, you as an event organizer has this unique possibility to do a difference. So that's also a super nice approach in my opinion, for the event industry and then how we evolved. We had a software product which is super difficult to implement specific sustainable solutions where it really does a difference. Like we can pick like green providers in terms of hosting and in the office and stuff like that, but really do a difference that was difficult to find. That part of it. I'll come back to that later. Sure, but then we got this hardware product and working with hardware it's much easier to find sustainable solutions because then you're suddenly like using resources and that's where the fun comes in and the innovation comes in. Like how can we do name batches in a new creative sustainable way? So that's where the fun kicks in in my opinion.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:09:01]:

Well, I think we can have some fun and learn a little bit about that shortly. Folks, if I could reference as well a podcast I did a couple of weeks ago where we're talking about ideas for you to create a more sustainable event. And when I was doing the research for it, I was just kind of blown away of all of the just really simple areas. And I mean, we were talking simple even to the extent of the cups that we're using, et cetera. Can we use ones that can be washed as in reusable cups, as opposed to ones that can be thrown away? Or can we find compostable ones of decent material? Or can we deal with local companies for things like food, et cetera? There's so many options. So first of all, please check the show notes, go and listen to that episode and give us some of your own ideas as well as to how you put on a sustainable event. And then over to you, buddy. Could you share with us some of the ways that ticket Butler enable event organizers to be most sustainable? Maybe show us some of the products as well. Folks, if you're listening to the podcast, you can come over and watch this as well, over on YouTube to see this stuff that Madses are going to share with us.

Mads Kjer [00:10:08]:

Yeah, sure. Basically all the products we are providing, almost all the products we're providing. And Sourcing is having a sustainable angle somehow perspective. So, for example, the lanyards we have let me find a lanyard here. This one here, you know, the lanyards around the neck, you have that's recycled plastic. We also have lanyards like this one, that's recycled paper.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:10:37]:

No way.

Mads Kjer [00:10:38]:

Yeah, it's paper.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:10:39]:

What, for the lanyard?

Mads Kjer [00:10:40]:

For the lanyard, exactly. So that's the thing. So we also like find products, find quality, sourcing having partners. That starting point is sustainable. And then we're just finding these awesome products and we are beginning partnering with them and tailoring them for name batches, sober niche, but super nice, providing quality and sustainable products that way. And then if you have, let me say, a card, you know, event card like this. Yeah, it's certified like so we make sure that there's new trees planted when you are using these event cards. And don't use plastic pouches. So we have a few plastic pouches. I admit that the classical ones with the clip, super annoying. I hate them. I want to throw them out. But there's still such a demand of it. We just make sure telling our organizers, like reuse them, reuse them, reuse them. And then giving some tips on how to collect them back from events. Super simple tips. Like put a box where you see them. Don't have a closed box where you can't see the ones that's collected back. Having it open, have it transparent. So people see like, all right, I'm going to the exit. Other people have put this thing I have here in there. Okay, I'll go put it there as well. These small things make a difference to collect things back and reuse stuff. But let's go into the fun parts because let me take this one. You remember this one?

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:12:08]:

Oh, no way. I have loads of those just down there. I've still got my old Amiga.

Mads Kjer [00:12:14]:

Yeah, exactly. So these guys listening.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:12:17]:

This is a floppy disc, by the way. So remember, go and have a look at the YouTube channel as well. Carry on.

Mads Kjer [00:12:23]:

If floppy disk is useless today, but there's two holes in it with a Lanyard made from name batches, you can use it as a name badge upcycling. So you're using something that's useless today and you use it for something that gives it new value. You should see this being used at events. That's about it. Cybersecurity, startup, sustainability, stuff like that. People love this because the nostalgic part of it, the sustainable part of it and the surprising part of it. Back to this synergy effect, providing sustainable solutions for your attendees. Like it's a synergy effect giving these and this is the first thing you experience at the event. What do you think about that organizer thinking out of the box?

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:13:03]:

That's incredible. And also just think of the brand impact as well. People are going to resonate way more with your brand, with your event, just by going ahead and doing stuff like that. Because it absolutely is out of the box thinking. I hadn't thought about that at all. I've got tons. Many of them don't work anymore because over time they degrade. So I don't know why. So I've managed to back them up, but I've got tons of them that I could use for my next event, which is a really good idea.

Mads Kjer [00:13:28]:

Our first badge I bought was like 21,000 flopper disc as my colleague will like, mesh. You insane.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:13:35]:

Would you find them on ebay or something? Job lot.

Mads Kjer [00:13:38]:

Yeah, exactly. You know the Danish click list? Found them there and just bought all of them. Cool. It gives the new value. And also using the event, it will be like you won't saying like, all right, do you remember that event for that speaker? It will be like, do you remember the event for the floppy disc we use as name badge? That's also a philosophy from us. It's like making it easy to pick the greener choices. Our bestseller Drumroll and I will also tell it for the podcast listeners here I have a name batches. Look very, very simple. But here on the back of it there's a little guide. Actually, let me take this other one. This one here is a better guide. So this one is a card with seeds embedded. So in this card here, you have tomato seeds. In this one here, you have chamomile seeds.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:14:33]:

How cool.

Mads Kjer [00:14:34]:

And I actually brought a plant for today.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:14:37]:


Mads Kjer [00:14:37]:

This is tomato seed and also a little pickle rick, if you can see it here, we 3D printed that one. But yeah, tomato plants and smells so good of tomatoes. Yeah. And that's made from a name batch. And that's another thing. By having plantable name batches, you give your attendee a plantable memory to take home from the event. So that's another thing about remembering event. That's also one of the key points as an organizer. Making your guests remember your event is like, yeah, that plane over there is from that event. Oh, you got something.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:15:16]:

So the only way I remember events is via all of these at the moment. So for people listening, I'm holding up a whole load of unfortunately non recyclable plastic based Lanyards with, oh, I found my old pen. There it is. I wondered where that gone. Name badges, et cetera. So these are the only ways, and none of these really stand out other than my memories of the event. But what you're describing here are two really exciting ways. Number one, the floppy disk, that's going to get me talking and that's going to have me remembering that event. And every time I see a floppy disk as well, or see it hanging up because I have a hook of all the events I've been to just behind the screen here. But then with the plant one, that's an opportunity to create a core memory beyond just the event itself. I can now take that home. It might instill in me a passion for gardening, or at the very least, it's something that I can do with my family. Very often when I go to these events, I'm spending a few days away from my kids. But that's the bit I hate about events. I hate being away from the family. So to be able to come home and say, kids, look at this. Let's go plant this in the garden together. And for folks who weren't watching on video, there was the full instructions on exactly how to sow the seeds as well on the back of that. So that is really cool.

Mads Kjer [00:16:29]:

Yeah, exactly. And then another cool fun fact about this one is it made from surplus cotton from the textile industry. So when you're producing clothes, you're cutting around the corners and stuff like that. So these cards are made from that surplus textile. So you take that cotton shredded, sorry, you shred it, then you make it into plates, you embed it with seeds and then you cut them out. And these ones, that's made from name batches. And we all did that. Like partnering up with a partner to be able to do that. It's just amazing how taking such a simple idea we haven't invented plenty of bowl seed cards, but we invented the combination of two worlds. Like, this is used for promotion, flyers, stuff like that, sometimes. But we combined it and specialized in making it in sizes and material and thickness and everything to fit into name batches. And then combined with our name batch printer, then it all works together. And that's back to making it easy to pick the sustainable choice. We're also providing a one stop solution. So it's not like you buy them from us. And then you need to find another provider for the lanyards and a third provider for printing the names. We have one Stop Shop, which is also a part of one of the sustainable approaches in doing on demand prints. Because if you're doing on demand you don't print name batches. You don't going to need or you don't like not going to be used because at some free events they're like 40, 60%, no show. But instead of producing all those name batches, you print them on demand. So you don't have a waste both in time spent producing the name batches but also materials themselves and doing that. So here for the podcast listeners, I'm showing a little printer. It's without ink, it's in battery, there's a computer, there's a SIM card inside, it automatically connects to the cloud. And that's another invention we did is like, you know, on demand batch printing. It's super used at big events, big fairs, expo, stuff like that. But we wanted to take that technology and apply it for smaller events. And that was the first take on the invention of that name batch printer because we just saw a lot of resources in time and also material wasted on smaller events because the technology was too complicated to set up. And you almost always needed a technician to come there setting up for you. But this one turning it on. We have an app for the organizer, scan the QR code on the back and then every time you check somebody in, it prints the name batch. So make it easy, brilliant, make it easy to pick the sustainable choices. And again, that's the red thread here.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:19:19]:

Well, I mean, it's very cost prohibitive, especially if you've got a lot of people coming to an event. But again, if you're still on a budget to get all of that equipment in, usually you have to lease it, you have to have a company in to operate it all as well. So being able to just do that, I mean, I do love the democratization here as well. Even with credit card companies where you can now do take credit cards with an app and a small square device, et cetera, in the old days it was the domain of the banks and you had to pay a lot of money for merchant accounts, et cetera. And this example you're showing us here as well is that whole democratization. It's allowing any event organizer of any size to be efficient, to create great environments, to create an easy onboarding experience for people coming to their event. And on top of that, of course, with your mission of sustainability to be sustainable and to give people even more memories, more things to talk about through the unique tickets that you've created, you can feel free to cut that out of this video and use that as a testimonial because I felt really clever saying thanks. But I'm also extremely excited by this. It's very cool.

Mads Kjer [00:20:31]:

Yeah exactly so that's that's how that's how our philosophy is like and we're always trying to push like green products and also the way we're doing we are waiting like a bit late on our 2022 CO2 report of what is our emissions and also working with that internally down the road. I don't have an LTA on this one life assessment cycle but we will one day. But again resources but we are trying to do our best to do a difference right now. And then back to this is the hardware, back to the software. Because our latest invention in the ticketing platform is that we are partnering up with a CO2 compensation consultancy. A Danish small one that specialized in compensating CO2. They have analyzed a bunch of our events figuring out what is the average CO2 emission per attendee for our event and then we build a feature where you as a ticket buyer can as a choice buy CO2 compensation for your attendance for the event. Nice. And in that way you're compensating for your attendance and I know compensation is not the solution for make the world greener but it's a temporary solution until we find the way to go in at zero. But unfortunately there's only Denmark right now. That invention, but it will eventually go outside Denmark. But that's a way to use software to actually do a difference, because we're in touch with thousands of thousands of people buying tickets through our software. And in that way, we also do a different in the software side of things. And that's just incredible. We have these resources now, we can do these inventions for making the world a greener place.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:22:22]:

To be honest, I think what is also inspiring me is that this started off with a beer, with a couple of chaps in Australia having a conversation, and a few years later, you've been able to create a range of products that do literally have the potential to change the industry, to make the industry more sustainable. So if you are a small event tech supplier or even just a small event you absolutely can make change. This is not the domain of super huge corporations. Elon Musk does not have the say on where we go in the future. We do as small companies because we are small enough to innovate and we can innovate quickly. That's the thing that's inspiring me here as well Mads you're innovating quickly, you are not too big where any new idea that you have has to go through a whole range of different senior management and take several years to do. I imagine if you guys have an idea next week you'll already be working on the MVP within hours as opposed to things going a long time I mean on that then because we're going to have to come into land for shortly. But what sort of trends do you see or predict in the industry with regards to sustainability.

Mads Kjer [00:23:38]:

Yeah, that's a very good question. I don't think we can reply this question without saying AI. Somehow it's the overarching trend right now. I thought about this question and you can't avoid it. So somehow AI will go in and help on the sustainable side of things as well. I'm definitely sure of that.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:24:00]:

I've got one idea there. For example, I'm pretty sure that you would be at some point we should be able to feed into AI. It probably already exists. But if our attendees were coming to an event, they should be able to put in there where they are from and how they're going to get to the event, et cetera. And surely AI will be able to extrapolate the lowest carbon footprint way they could travel to the event. That's just like one general example. Another example, that's just one idea. But I'm sure there's like millions of applications even with just like data management as well, with AI as well. So right now, a lot of event organizers are just having to look at spreadsheets worth of data and try and work out who's doing that at what and who's from where, et cetera. And being able to have AI just go through that and segment their list and get things sorted out again, my brain just keeps boggling. And then you've also sorry, you've said AI, it's one of my favorite topics. Then you've also got the fact that user interfaces are changing because right now we're chatting with AI, we're not even clicking buttons anymore, are we? We're like asking it to do things and then it's thinking for us, which is kind of scary.

Mads Kjer [00:25:11]:

It is. And that's why I kind of owe saying the trend is AI because it is the next couple of years. That how that will provoke the industry. Other than that, what I see with my colleagues in the event industry, like as tech providers, we are more and more working together, more about integrating with each other, focusing on our specific niche. I love that. So also, if you're a tech provider out there, like reach out if you have an idea of collaborating in some way. I'm always open to talk with other tech providers. Yes, and my last point here is also, like you as an event organizer out there, go in dialogue with your providers. Don't demand them saying like, we want more sustainable stuff. Like go dialogue with them and talk about how can we do more sustainable solutions. Because it's the responsibility of the organizer to use sustainable solution. It's the responsibility for us as a provider to provide the sustainable solutions. But get those together, talking together, have dialogues and then win together. That's also my opinion. So collaborate across both with suppliers and buyers, but also suppliers in between. So please reach out if you are a supplier as well. I would love to chat about this subject. It's really interesting.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:26:26]:

Well, thank you so much. What is the best way for people to connect with you? And then we shall say goodbye on LinkedIn.

Mads Kjer [00:26:32]:

Yeah on LinkedIn. On my email. Just shoot me an email as well. That's also fine. But LinkedIn totally hook up there. I also post like stuff there that might be a bit funny. For example, this one. Now I'm showing a name badge made from an election poster. So I went out cutting down an arm from a guy called Yen. Sorry, Yen. And then I made it from name badge from it. That was just a funny gig. I post on my LinkedIn. So just follow me on LinkedIn if you want. Funny posts like that. Quite nerdy, I would say as well, from time to time.

Lee Matthew Jackson [00:27:01]:

I like that. In fact, that's exactly how we Connected was on LinkedIn. So, folks, there will be a link to Mads's LinkedIn profile, but also you can check out more information as well over on Ticketbutler IO. If you are watching on YouTube, all of that is in the description, but there is also a link as well to our website, because it would be great if you could come and join the conversation. Let us know what your biggest takeaway was from all of the products that Mads had to share his story and the topics that we've covered today with regards to sustainability. So, Mads, thank you so much for your time. All that's left for us to say is thank you and cheerio bye.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. How are you incorporating sustainability into your events? What challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them? What crazy ticket ideas have you implemented? Share your experiences and join the conversation below.

Season 3

Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs