About movie theatres and bad marketing

Continuing my comment to Rick Segal’s post:

The placement of automated ticket machines at movie theatres is really a marketing question. Where are those machines placed? The movie theaters I have been to, the machines are placed on the side behind the ticket windows.

If the owners were really serious about it they would put the machines out in front of the ticket windows right next to where the ticket windows lines would form.

Instead the machines are placed behind where people only see them after they have already made the purchase.

Stupid, stupid.

What’s even stupider is that those machines are a perfect opportunity to get opt-in access to the theater’s customers.

The machines could (for the options that would require more time make sure that the movie isn’t starting in the next 10 minutes):

  • display a 10-second preview for another movie
  • ask if the customer would like to buy a 5-movie pass instead of just the ticket they are buying now.
  • if they are buying for more than 4 people automatically print out the 5-movie pass ticket (5 separate tickets some people might need to go in ahead of others.) The customer will be thrilled to get a surprise discount!
  • Ask them if they want to get a chance to at special screenings for the summer blockbusters.
  • remind the customer of the last movie they saw at the theatre, and ask the customer if they want to buy the DVD of that movie. If so charge the customer, print out a claim ticket so that the customer with no waiting can go right to the counter inside to collect the movie
  • print out a coupon for a discount on the DVD for the movie that they are going to see right now. If the customer signs it and drops it in a collection box on the way out, the DVD will be sent to the customer even before it hits the shelves.
  • Try to sell the drinks/popcorn/etc. The customer doesn’t have to wait in the concession line. The customer line-jumps hands over the receipt (printed out by the ticket machine) to the concession employee and runs into the show. (Actually this is the exception to the 10 minute rule — always do this — how many late arrivals never buy food because the show is going to start any minute?)

The above was 10 minutes worth of thought.

But clearly this is more time than the theatre owners have spent on the issue.

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