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Three Practices To Maximise Your Box Office

Movio’s brilliant Senior Account Manager, Caitlin Klein recently joined Simon and Matthew on an episode of Behind The Screens to help assess the moviegoing audience for F9 (Fast and Furious 9), and to share some tips for how to motivate that audience.

Taking her advice and analysing the audience for F9 as an example, we’re looking at how these lessons can be applied across any title to try to maximise your box office returns.

Audience evolution

To begin, audiences themselves are moving targets, ever-changing and evolving as time goes on, but the patterns in behaviour and audience evolution allow us to understand who these audiences are, and the how and why of their change.

A recent trend saw post-pandemic releases, such as the opening weekend audience for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard skew older than previous instalments in the franchise, specifically over-indexing with ages 45-65+. Even outside of direct instalments we saw the Black Widow audience to be older after opening weekend with moviegoers aged 55+, with their section of the audience growing from 18% to 25%.

Past transactions and behavioural data help us to predict future behaviour, which gives us unique opportunities as marketers.

“We’d recommend starting by looking at who has the propensity to see this film. Always start by looking at what the data tells you, and target communications appropriately.”

So keeping Caitlin’s advice in mind, we can look at F9 and the fact that it is outperforming amongst older audiences than recent franchise instalments, we could target people’s propensity based on transactional data and change the content or methods of our communications for a campaign based on demographics.

Customising your messaging

Personalising content and communications channels for the audience is ideal. When reaching out to a younger audience, we want to consider omni-channel marketing. Caitlin highlights how the method of communication can guide much of the content for its audience:

“Younger audiences are typically always on the go, so reach them where they are. Create your email campaigns to read best on mobile, keep them short and sweet, and maybe hit these members with social media ads.”

Younger audiences prefer short and sweet messaging, engaging right from the beginning, and directly to the point. But on the other hand, for older audiences you may want to ask yourself ‘how does this email look on a desktop computer?’. Perhaps content caters more towards comfort in your cinemas, highlighting reclining chairs and little luxuries, or appealing to the nostalgic theatrical experience.

Planning out a marketing calendar

Some people wrongly assume that everything needs to be about a film’s opening weekend. While that’s obviously the biggest moment for a film, there are moviegoing audiences for every stage of a film’s lifecycle.

“Some people specifically avoid opening weekends for films. Marketing calendars should plan for the entire film’s lifecycle; from pre-release to the final days of a theatrical run.”

Create a moviegoer journey from pre-release to post release in order to garner interest and maximise your box office, and personalise how you follow-up. If members receive ticket-on-sale promotions and haven’t seen the film, make sure they continue to receive communications based on their propensity—their likelihood to see the film.

Making sure a member is connected to their ideal movie playing in theatres will help you bring in incremental admissions. Towards the end of a film’s run, having an ending campaign to remind anyone who hasn’t seen it yet to attend can make a great final push.

How do you incentivise an audience without giving away too many promotions?

When you’re looking at incentivising your audience, make good use of your data, especially behavioural data. Look at recency, frequency, and monetary metrics, and use them to segment your promotions.

For example, Caitlin broke down promotions into four categories that each has a different best approach.

For moviegoers with both high frequency and high recency, but who haven’t seen your current blockbuster yet—remind them of the film, and how incredible it is on the big screen, but you shouldn’t need to use special offers to entice them to come.

Moviegoers who were high frequency visitors, but haven’t been back in a while just need a little push to get them back in the door, perhaps free popcorn with a ticket order, or an offer to waive a convenience fee.

Low frequency moviegoers who have visited recently? Perhaps a personalised email excited about seeing them return to the cinema. Offering loyalty points if they return again could turn them into a higher frequency visitor, since you know they’ve passed the first hurdle in returning.

And for those who have both low frequency and low recency, running a campaign to highlight safety protocols to these customers, and stronger promotions to remind them what the cinema experience is like and get them in the door.

Thinking of tomorrow's audience

Audiences are always changing, but they're not unpredictable. Past behaviour, demographics, and past transactions—all manners of data you collect about existing audiences—can be used to predict audience behaviour and applied across films of all sizes. Take these lessons forward, and use them to build out your marketing strategies. Adapt, personalise, plan appropriately, and before long you'll be maximising your box office.

Caitlin Klein was recently featured on Movio & Numero's podcast Behind The Screens, where she talked in-depth about maximising box office returns with F9. Hear more from her, and catch up on all manner of industry insights by listening to the Behind The Screens podcast.

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