Brands today, no matter what sector they are operating in, should all be striving to deliver a truly positive and enriching experience to every customer. Whilst this has always been the case, and a fundamental part of generating sales, the growth of technology has amplified the need to get this right even further. Not only have customer expectations changed, but the marketplace has also become increasingly crowded, putting more pressure on brands to ensure they are successfully engaging their target audience, and reaping the desired financial rewards.
The film and entertainment sector is one area in particular that has seen the impact technology has had on customer behaviour. Once upon a time, cinemas were the only way to watch a film. Now, the growth of online streaming has caused viewing habits to change; people are using technology to consume film content in new ways, taking footfall away from cinemas.
This should ring alarm bells for cinema franchises and the brands that advertise in them. DMC released figures recently stated that cinema advertising delivers eight times more stand out, three times more brand attribution and are twice as memorable. Three powerful reasons for brands to invest in the channel, but if cinema' s losing consumers, the big screen and the benefits it offers businesses will be de-valued rapidly.
Clearly there’s much to be gained from brand advertising, but brands within the film and entertainment sector need to take action. People need to be given a reason to return and encourage their friends to follow, delivering further revenue to the business. The answer rests on providing an enriching customer experience and understanding how to engage consumers beyond the cinema screen itself.
Traditionally, a significant amount of the marketing around a film rested on the eye catching displays and standees within cinema halls. This enabled chains to create anticipation, excitement and engaged customers with material before they went into a screening, as well as providing a reminder of other films being shown as they left; giving a reason to return. However, whilst this enhanced the experience and delivered obvious benefits, the construction of each display took employees focus away from other revenue-driving opportunities. In a bid to overcome this, clear floor polices have become popular routes for many, removing displays within cinemas halls. This has offered a solution to one problem, but created a much more critical challenge around the customer experience. With bare cinema halls, customers have less reason to dwell, reducing the consumer potential. Cinemas are missing important up-sale opportunities, simply because they aren’t giving customers a reason to engage.
In today’s competitive marketplace, when the pressure is on to keep bringing customers in, cinemas cannot afford to discount the role marketing plays in enhancing the overall experience. As with many other sectors today, new technologies are key to reinvigorating the customer journey within film and entertainment, to put the experience back at the core.
An interactive experience that gives the customer something in return for engaging – whether that’s a 3D experience or access to behind the scenes content – will enhance their connection with the film and cinema chain. In linking these to a customer’s social channels, the positive experience can be promoted to their followers, driving more people to see the film and enabling the business to undertake value data capture. This enables a greater understanding into that particular customer; insight that should be leveraged further to enhance the relationship with that customer through targeted offers and communications that are relevant to them. Dwell time is also likely to increase significantly, providing further opportunities to drive revenue.
Another crucial benefit of brands implementing new technologies is that it enables them to measure the effectiveness of a particular campaign. These vital metrics can give businesses vast amount of insight into the volume and demographic details of customers interacting with displays, the impact placing it in different locations has, the level of social engagement and the sentiment this creates around the film. As the campaigns develop, this data will also deliver valuable benchmarking, allowing brands to build on their understanding on their customers and ensure they are delivering campaigns that will offer the best experience for them and generate a greater ROI. This level of understanding will be a valuable asset to any brand in the battle to encourage increased footfall at cinemas.
Whilst consumers now have access to film content through a variety of channels, the cinema still provides the best viewing environment, but this is not reason enough to guarantee footfall. It’s time to put the customer experience back at the core and new technologies offer a powerful springboard to make this happen.
By Bridget Reeves, Client Services Director at The Delta Group.
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