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3 Steps to Creating a Profitable Promotional Offer Campaign

Posted by Michelle Kratzer on May 2, 2019 9:32:00 AM
Michelle Kratzer

Promotional offers are great for moviegoers, but can they increase cinema profits? The answer is a resounding YES, but before you go slashing prices, there are several things to examine and consider. Here are the basics of creating a profitable promotional offer.


money roll


1. First, define your goal for the promotional offer. What are you trying to accomplish? Your desired destination will help determine the best path to take.
Here are a few of the most common goals:
  •  Acquire New Customers

Need new customers? A recent study revealed 80% of consumers would switch brands if offered a compelling deal. Another study cites that 57% of shoppers admit they would not have made their most recent purchase if they had not been offered a coupon.

Lure a new customer in with a great deal. The coupon gets them in the door. Provide a better overall experience than your their usual theatre and you’ve given them a reason to come back.

  • Keep Loyal Customers

 Boost customer loyalty with deals, discounts and freebies. Thank your most faithful patrons for choosing your theatre.




  •  Re-engagement Offers
    If a dependable customer goes MIA, send a "How are you" or "We miss you" offer to help them re-engage.
  • Increase your ATV

Grow your average transaction value. Consumers who use coupons spend an average of 56.5% more than consumers who did not use a coupon.


  • Motivate customers to try your other products

If you have a concession item that you know is a winner, but no one is trying it, offer a “try me” discount. Take some of the customer's risk out of trying something new.


try it
  •  Advertising

We know that 42% of consumers said they would share valuable electronic entertainment coupons with friend. That is the best advertising you can get, and as a side benefit that you didn’t need to pay more for, quite a valuable benefit. Look at this Stanford study.


In 2017, Stanford Professor Navdeep S. Sahni published “Do Targeted Discount Offers Serve as Advertising?” Using evidence from 70 field experiments, he found that while price reductions do matter, and lead to increased sales, they also serve as a form of advertising. Professor Sahni noted that even the week after promotions ended, companies saw an increased spend of $1.55 and sales in other product categories not covered by the promotion increased.




2. The second step is to protect your margins. 

Carefully examine your margins to assess the right offer for your specific situation.

A study  conducted by the Chicago Booth School of Business to determine the effectiveness of mobile marketing strategies.(Competitive Price Targeting with Smartphone Coupons) They found that targeted cell phone promotions gave a significant boost in sales, increasing business and incremental profits. But, promotions must be executed the right way or you may find yourself in a price war that nobody wins. We recommend using promotions for concession items.

Position these parameters to stay within your profit margin:

  • Segment - Depending on the goal of your campaign, choose slow movie days to discount or offer discounts only for first-time customers. Don’t sabotage your profits by discounting sales you would have made anyway.
  • Upsell - Train your concession team to upsell and cross-sell at the concession stand. Conduct contests to see which employee completes the most upsells.
  • Cap the number of offers then disable the coupon when that number is reached.
  • Cap the number of times each user can redeem an offer. Profitability drops when customers use multiple coupons.



shut it down

3. Third, choose which deal or discount will work best

Don’t cannibalize your own success by offering coupons on days that your theatre is already selling out. Use discounts to bring life to unprofitable days or unprofitable concessions.


Here are 6 discount types and when to use them:
  • Bundle Discounts

Instead of discounting 1 item, bundle 2 items together and discount them. This can be used strategically in many ways. First, it is a way to get customers to try different products, expanding their interest in your products. Secondly, if you have a hidden gem product that just isn’t selling, pair it with a popular item and sell them as a set bundle. Leverage the popularity of the best seller to help move the other inventory.

  • Prepayment Discount

Solidify a commitment from a fickle customer by offering a prepayment discount. Offer special concession deals to those patrons who buy tickets online before the weekend. Lock in the sale.


 lock it up

  • Buy one get one

This deal comes in regularly as number one or number two in our surveys. Consumers love to get anything free.


A study in the Journal of Marketing revealed that most deal shoppers prefer to get items for free, rather than at a discount. The reason may surprise you. They found that shoppers sometimes had difficulty in figuring percentages off, but the word “free” is easily understood. Another survey backs up the same sentiment. 93-percent of shoppers admit to have taken advantage of “buy one, get one free” deals, but only 79-percent had used discounts. 


how to train your dragon


  • Theme Discounts

Themed packages can increase sales by 15%. The “How to Train your Dragon” cup, toy and popcorn that cost them $1.50 was sold at $7.95. Both kids and  adults purchased the popular feature’s memorabilia.


When customers make the decision to visit a cinema, they’re looking for more than just a great movie. They want an experience, an excursion, an event. Theme deals and discounts help make the magic happen

  • Kids' Deals 

Child discounts are profitable because children usually don’t go anywhere alone. So, offering freebies to kids creates an opportunity to sell to mom or dad or both.



Hey mom, get your own!


Most parents will come to the concession to take advantage of a free childs’ popcorn, and luring patrons to the concession is half the battle.


  • Volume Discount

Motivate moviegoers to purchase more tickets and concession items by offering volume or group discounts.


I'm ready


So, if you want to increase sales, carefully examine your profit margins, determine which discounts will work best and you are ready to go. If you need help, call us at SurveyMe. Or, just click on the image below.

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Topics: Business & Marketing, Movies, Sales

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