Summer blockbusters and the sweltering heat are enough to draw us into a cool, dark movie theater. It’s hard to resist, really. The very thought of fresh popcorn alone persuades us to pay $10 for a movie we could rent for home viewing in a few months anyway. But that’s not the point. Going to the movies is all about the experience. You can add some magic to your marketing plan with inspiration from the movie theater.
Dimming your lights in front of a widescreen TV is a paltry excuse for a home theater. And watching a movie at home just doesn’t compare to the excitement of going to the movies. That’s why people pay a premium for the movie theater experience.
Your business can charge a premium for the experience of being your customer, too. To be successful in selling an experience, make sure it relates to your company’s products or services. For example, at the movies a dark theater and plush seating add drama. You can sell hospitality or a celebratory mood if you’re a restaurant. Higher education institutions can sell opportunity or a fulfilling challenge. Nonprofits can sell the joy of helping an important cause.
Brainstorm the experiential value of being your customer then find ways to market extras relating to it.
Count on it. Expect a cheery send-off whenever an usher tears your ticket: “enjoy the show!” Movie theaters manage to deliver exceptional customer service despite a typically young staff with high turnover.
Be honest with yourself about the level of customer service you offer. How quick is your turnaround, and how friendly is your staff? Your office or store ought to be as clean as your home just before a highly anticipated guest arrives. Make sure your customers feel like a highly anticipated guest every time they visit.
Movie theaters don’t make much money at the box office—ticket sales go almost entirely to the movie studios. But your favorite movie house has a backup plan to compensate for the loss. Their bread and butter (er, popcorn and butter) is the concession stand.
You need to determine your bread and butter. Don’t claim tires if you own a tire store, because tires are also your competitors’ bread and butter. To beat them, you need a little something extra to stand apart. Make sure that your extras are actually adding value, too. Perhaps it’s packaging that surprises and delights them—or a birthday card with a discount code.
Going to the theater can be an inspiring experience, and it’s not just the movies that get your creative juices flowing. Infuse your business’s marketing plan with elements of the movie theater experience so that your summer sales numbers are bona fide blockbusters.