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Marketing automation enhances the movie-going experience – and drives significant incremental revenue

The Challenge

With streaming services like Netflix on the rise, keeping people at home to watch movies, Cineplex Entertainment faced a serious threat to its theatre revenues. Key to its response was a business diversification strategy that focused on enhanced entertainment experiences and new revenue streams that were less dependent on ticket sales and the quality of content coming out of Hollywood.


Boosting concession sales was part of this strategy. Cineplex theatres now have an attractive range of food, drink, and merchandise offerings, including VIP lounges and in-seat service.


The problem was, concession sales were largely driven by onsite signage and pre-show trailers, viewed when customers were already settled into their seats. How could Cineplex get customers to think about food, beverage, and merchandise earlier in their journey?

The Solution

The answer would lie in timely, relevant messaging, enabled through email marketing automation. Cineplex worked with Conversion Digital to build triggered email “journeys,” contacting each customer at the best possible moment to motivate them to “swing by” and pick up some food or merchandise. This meant reaching them by email one to two hours before the show: early enough to plan for a trip to the concession store, but not so early that they might forget.


The target audience was all customers who purchased advance tickets online, for any show in any theatre across the country. VIP ticket purchasers received customized messaging reflective of their purchase habits.

The Results

Cineplex saw an immediate jump in concession purchases (more than a 200% increase) as soon as the journey was implemented – and that lift has been sustained since program inception. The projected ROI was 3,300% in the first year alone. And since the journey is automated, it can continue to run and drive incremental revenue indefinitely.


What’s more, no special incentives were used in the messaging – this was a successful test of the power of timeliness and relevance.


Since this program first went live, Cineplex and Conversion Digital have added more journeys to the marketing mix to meet other marketing needs – such as driving visits to The Rec Room properties near certain theatres. Automation is proving to be a powerful tool to deliver both personalized experiences to valued customers and bottom-line results.

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