Cinemas are in danger of losing their customers, so how can they get out of trouble?
There are often complaints that it is difficult to get customers to interact with certain companies across the industries. This is not true in the case of cinemas as, oddly enough, it is one of the easiest places for the establishment to interact with its patrons. Attractive customer incentives can easily be implemented, and with the help of some creative thinking these can attract customers two, three, four fold.
We have all heard of Orange Wednesdays. The deal lasted for some years before recently being withdrawn, offering cinema goers 2-for-1 tickets in the hope that they will visit during some of the less busy parts of the week. This worked stupendously well, and made visiting the cinema on Wednesdays a regular part of life for many movie lovers.
Orange Wednesdays fell, after numerous years of being successful, into decline. Fewer and fewer people went to the cinemas, and thus the deal got withdrawn. Now we have Meerkat Movies, something we are a fan of here at CAB, where those who use Compare the Market can now benefit from 2-for-1 cinema tickets. It is a no-brainer.
On a side note, the meerkat was one of the greatest marketing gimmicks of all time. Kudos to whoever created him.
The cinematic industry can learn a lot from Compare the Market and the deals that they do in order to keep customers constantly coming to their site. There is nothing that they do that cannot be introduced by cinemas or used to market other products. That is all that cinemas are really, great marketing machines for movies and (now) shows.
Vouchers and 2-for-1 deals are just some of the ways that cinemas can keep their patrons interested. Other ways include combo deals with food and drink, establishing themselves as entertainment complexes, and engaging more with the local communities on Social Media. None of the main cinema chains have that big a personality on Social Media and it would be good to see them come out more.
One of the main problems cinemas face is that they only make around 30% margin on each ticket sold. This is not a huge profit margin, but in making the foyers more attractive and the deals better they can easily re-establish themselves as the giants that they once were.
The truth is that cinemas are in trouble. Ever since they were invented their customer base has been growing, but their success rate in terms of tickets sold have been falling. Internationally speaking, between the years of 2013 and 2014, cinema attendance only really grew in Turkey, Spain, and China. In the UK it dropped by almost 5%. That is tremendous, and something which needs to be rectified.
What is amazing is that when tracked out on a graph, the cinema going audience has risen and fallen decade by decade. For instance, the 1970s were terrible for the cinema industry in the UK, however the 1990s were much better. Of course nothing can compare to how cinemas were when the majority of the population did not have a TV.
Going by the statistics, it appears that the UK is on the verge of tipping again. A summer of blockbusters may be able to prevent this somewhat, however not forever. Eventually the UK cinema infill structure will need to change in order to continue growing its audience. One such problem appears to be with the sheer expense that going to a cinema imbues on the wallet.
The key way to attract more customers seems to be in reducing that cost per customer. It is better to reduce prices by £1 and gain thirty more customers, than raise by £1 and gain none.
This article is part of a series we are doing on cinemas this week. To read more on customer experience and cinemas, please click on the button below.