Membership programs are more relevant today than ever before, with the focus having shifted from simply getting someone to sign up, to competing for continuous member engagement. Membership provides an invaluable connection between you and your members. They also deliver value to your moviegoers, unify the different facets of your theater (food & beverage, premium format, etc.) and drive increased visitation, spend, and preference for your cinema over your competitors.
We spoke to our Los Angeles-based Account Management team to see what common challenges they’ve seen in membership programs: from tailoring communications, engaging moviegoers, to optimizing program rewards, we take a look below at how you can leverage these strategies to ensure that your membership program is the best it can be.
Perform a health check on your membership program
In the same way you would get your car serviced, your membership program should also have a comprehensive health check every few years. A health check is a formal and holistic program review to see whether you’re meeting your goals, if there are areas to improve and most importantly, if your program is profitable. Health checks will look different for every cinema, generally speaking, it involves you collecting and analyzing data. Depending on your specific needs, this could include member surveys, interviews with key front-line team members, and comparing past years performance.
Here are some of the questions you should consider when performing a health check:
- Is your program’s value proposition still attracting new members?
- What percentage of your total guest base is in the program?
- What is your retention rate or churn rate (the ratio of members you acquire vs. lose soon after)?
- How engaged are your members with the program after they sign up?
- Is your program profitable? (vs. just generating attendance or revenue)
- How does their purchasing behavior compare to non- members?
- How often are you communicating with your members?
- Are your messages data-driven and tailored to members? Is there a compelling reason for a member to get this particular message?
- How are you capturing transactional data?
- Are you driving an incremental increase in visitation and spend through your program?
- Is your program organized in a way where people are motivated to reach the next level, e.g. tier, point milestone or reward?
- Do you have open avenues (e.g. surveys, active member support) for members to give feedback? If so, are you listening to it?
Keeping members active in your program
Increasing your pool of members is always exciting, but given that acquiring a new member is more expensive than keeping an existing member, your main focus should be on retaining them, and more importantly, keeping them active. According to 2017 research from CapeGemini looking at a global estimate across all industries, 54% of members are inactive. This raises the assumption that a large portion of members feel disengaged with the brands they subscribe to.
The most effective programs keep members active by communicating in ways that:
- Feel relevant and personal: There should be a compelling reason for every communication you send to your members. Pique their interest with campaigns that feel tailor-made for their wants.
- Catalyze action: Do you want guests to see a certain movie? Update their membership info? Purchase a promoted concession item? Campaigns should encourage members to take a specific course of action.
Amplify your moviegoers activity
Now you have established strategies that maintain active members. As a next step, how do you make sure you continue to push forward - to continue ideating and growing? An important question to ask yourself is: how is my membership oriented towards increasing lifetime member value? You should have measures in place that encourage members to continue participating.
At Movio, we use Moviegoer Value Segments (MVS) based on RFM analysis to target members in terms of how recently they’ve attended a session, how frequently they go, and how much money they typically spend. Using MVS in combination with our proprietary Propensity Algorithm, clients are able to send hyper-targeted offers to motivate specific behavior. For example, members who are high recency, low frequency, and high monetary spend, also known as “Potential Loyalists”, would be targeted with double-points campaigns or promotions of premium in-theater experiences to encourage them to increase their moviegoing frequency.
Accenture found that almost 80% of consumers reported they are withdrawing from memberships at a faster pace than three years ago. In fact, in an age where people belong to more programs than ever, many ‘emotionally unsubscribe’. This means members don’t officially unsubscribe from your communications, but simply ignore them. A membership program becomes complacent when structures aren’t in place to combat emotional unsubscriptions.
Movio’s answer to this is Dynamic Content. Imagine if each of your weekly newsletter recipients only saw movies that they would actually want to see. Dynamic Content ranks selected titles according to a moviegoers likelihood to see them. Members expect emails to be personalized and relevant, and Dynamic Content is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this.
Gamifying your membership program with tiers or subscription services is an effective way to ensure your guests different preferences are catered for. If you use a tiered program, you can choose between guests needing to achieve status or letting them buy their way into a tier for a certain price. It is important that the transition from one tier to the next should be easy to understand and achievable so that guests stay motivated and engaged.
If subscription services are part of your program, Movio’s deep integration with Vista’s Subscription Services can play a crucial role in reaching your members, who would love to take advantage of seeing multiple showings a month for a set fee. This means that exhibitors can build out custom subscription programs as another way of establishing guest relationships as part of their existing membership program.
The “right” membership program for your business can take many forms as long as it focuses on retaining members and keeping them active. Running a comprehensive health check every few years will ensure you’re using the right methods to meet your targets, as well as a way to identify any weaker areas. You can use our list of best practices to help guide your program. Movio Cinema’s strategic services team has extensive experience in creating and supporting healthy and profitable membership programs in the cinema industry. If you are interested in a health check or program review, please get in touch with us.