DEG partnered with a national movie theater chain to use a simple email receipt to create a better customer experience.

Nobody wants to watch a movie and know exactly what’s going to happen next. Spoiler alert—if you knew Bruce Willis was dead the entire time, or Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club was also Tyler Durden, what fun would that be?

Marketers, on the other hand, prefer a predictive storyline when it comes to their customers, and want to know the exact moment when moviegoers are going to engage with them. One national movie theater chain has found the script and is using its knowledge to create a better guest experience.

The Ask

Order confirmation emails are common practice for B2C brands. Like a traditional confirmation email, the movie theater chain’s email receipt confirmed guests’ purchases, but its power expanded well beyond transactional details. While the receipt confirmed a guest’s upcoming movie purchase, it also allowed the company to know exactly when and where a customer would be visiting them next.

The Answer

The brand has made creating the best in-theatre experience a priority: the big screen, surround sound, popcorn, and comfy recliner seats. After DEG spent time researching the guest experience first-hand, it identified the email receipt as a promising opportunity to maintain that experience and allow the brand to better market to guests in the moment before they’re about to have their next theater experience.

The dad who takes his kids to watch the latest animated movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon and the couple who spends their date night with a thriller are both engaging with the brand, but the context surrounding the moment of their engagement is disparate—and as such, their context warrants separate and relevant messaging.

Instead of inserting a piece of dynamic content into the triggered email, DEG developed a template where every element of the receipt could be personalized based on the guest’s location, age, loyalty status, time of day, and other behavioral data compiled from past experiences—all while driving guests to prepare for the theatre experience either online or once they arrive.

DEG and the brand used the data gathered from the purchase and identified the context and behavior of each guests’ visit to offer the right content for their experience.

After its launch, the brand and DEG applied learnings from the receipt toward a new pre-show email trigger campaign. This new trigger sends an email two hours before a show’s start time—after the guest has received the email receipt—and contains even more personalized content.

Adult guests on their way to a romantic comedy may receive an offer for a themed drink at the in-theatre bar and lounge, while teenagers viewing the newest superhero movie may get a discount on Coke and popcorn. Again, DEG and the brand used the data gathered from the purchase and identified the context and behavior of each guests’ visit to offer the right content for their experience. Just by ordering a ticket, guests now have all the options necessary to make the most of their movie-going experience.

The Results

Within the first three months of launching the revamped email receipt, two trends became clear. The new version not only drove more engagement, but the tailored message also appealed enough to guests for the moviegoers to act on the offers. The new email receipt drew a 12-percent increase in open rate from the first quarter year over year, while transactions (60 percent), revenue (68 percent), and ecommerce conversion rate (35 percent) all saw dramatic increases.

The brand and DEG’s ability to use receipt data and past behavior to target relevant content and ultimately change guests’ behavior and influence their next engagement proves that knowing what will happen next may make for a boring movie plot, but also makes for a smart marketing strategy.

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