Kinepolis is an international player in the cinema sector. The Group is quoted on the stock market and owns 11 movie megaplexes in Belgium, as well as its business in France, Spain, Switzerland and Poland.
For Kinepolis, the customer is at the heart of everything it does. That translates into an extremely personalized marketing strategy, in which Selligent Interactive Marketing plays a prime role.
An interview with Stefaan Claes, International CRM & Digital Marketing Director of the Kinepolis Group.
"Go the extra mile in the move from a 'permission-based' to a 'preference-driven' marketing approach." That, in a nutshell, is the Kinepolis strategy. The company has opted for a long-term vision in which experience and customer satisfaction are sacrosanct. "The role of marketing is not just to fill the movie theaters but also to protect the customer from any negative experience," states Claes. To understand customer preferences better and better - and leverage them - is a priority goal. That is primarily why the MyKinepolis program (both an individual profile and a preference center) was designed, based on a central questionnaire. It is managed via a Selligent Interactive Marketing form.
Powerful personalization and satisfaction scores
The customer preferences are the result of an intensive data collection process, before being compiled and used in all marketing messages. For instance, people owning an iPhone or an iPad and using the Kinepolis application are advised about films in a sequence that is adapted to their profiles. An Android version of this function will soon be available, too. MyKinepolis, the one-to-one email program driven by Selligent, is also totally based on customer preferences; the recipients only receive information on the movies most likely to interest them.
The Kinepolis customer orientation is further developed thanks to questionnaires that are used intelligently. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) system, a kind of index showing how likely people are to recommend - or not - this or that product to other people, is the standard measurement.
Claes explains: "for years, Kinepolis has put the customer experience at the heart of its approach with what we call internally the CSI or Customer Satisfaction Index. I've added the NPS. At first, it referred exclusively to the Kinepolis brand. Then it was extended to the movies themselves, and finally specifically to the 3D quality of 3D movies. We want to know exactly the level of customer satisfaction for every aspect of our company and our products. That's the key standard."
Questionnaires that meet communications preferences
For the CSI, Kinepolis uses two questionnaires completely driven by Selligent Interactive Marketing. Customers receive a very detailed questionnaire that digs into all aspects - from seat comfort to the cinema's sound quality. This is done through a triggered email.
If, during a single month, customers come to see a second film, they receive a short questionnaire covering only their satisfaction with the film. In 2011, around 300,000 such questionnaires were filled out. If more than a month goes by between two visits, the customer receives the long version. Claes explains the functioning and the importance of this system: "we want to avoid being too demanding and contain the risk of 'over-exposure'. But we have discovered that customers are actually eager to give their opinion. They see it as a form of appreciation. Even the long questionnaire is appreciated - it is filled out completely by around 30% of the customers, even though it demands a certain effort on their part. So far, this approach has not raised a single complaint. Managing marketing pressure is not an easy discipline, but the frequency and the quality of the mail shots, as well as their targeting, are decisive elements."
Segmentation increases satisfaction
Targeting and segmentation are clearly crucial in the Kinepolis approach, and this selection exercise goes really far. Last year, the company sent 30 million emails, yet they were rarely large-scale campaigns. Some emails are maybe sent to only 100 or so addresses. Extreme personalization also contributes to a positive customer experience.
Customer feedback is also closely monitored on social networks such as Twitter. And Kinepolis has its own Facebook page in each country (two for Belgium). Kinepolis also has a generic Facebook application that enables it to launch competitions on the company's Facebook pages in different countries. This is linked to Selligent Interactive Marketing such that, from this environment, the company can react in real time to participation in the competitions. Finally, there is even a closed Facebook community comprising beta-testers selected at random to test each new online application before it goes live. Again, satisfaction is the central element.
That, in fact, is the reason why Kinepolis uses the NPS system. Claes gives some examples: "thanks to NPS, we know exactly what the customer thinks of the product, that is, the film. It is much more powerful than general opinions. For instance, the movie 'Fast And Furious 5' was publicly slammed, but achieved the highest NPS score from spectators who saw it in our theaters. In contrast, 'The Tree of Life', starring Brad Pitt, got a poor NPS score. It's true the film was not typical of Brad Pitt's career and the Pitt fans didn't get what they expected. Thanks to NPS, we can avoid this kind of disappointment and give customers clear guidance on what they can expect from the film."
Looking ahead: automating marketing in the real-time era
Claes sees plenty of other opportunities for the future. The Kinepolis movie complexes are 100% digital, which enables them to offer still more contents, especially for niche audiences. For instance, Kinepolis has notched up a solid success with the retransmission of operas direct from the New York Metropolitan.
But Kinepolis also wants to go further with its customer satisfaction and engagement. For instance, the Group's new website will expand its mechanisms for reviews and offer each registered customer a personalized home page.
Selligent Interactive Marketing will play an important role in this meticulously orchestrated program.
"In a real-time marketing environment, it is crucial to have an automated marketing solution that offers extensive triggering and personalization capabilities," Claes explains.
Selligent Interactive Marketing omnipresent at Kinepolis
Claes stresses that Selligent Interactive Marketing is involved one way or another in a lot of Kinepolis activities. The scenarios and automation are fully leveraged, with the 'resource' benefits that that obviously implies. "For instance, we are carrying out a birthday campaign in three countries. People can sign up to receive a free cinema ticket for their birthday. A week before their birthday, the participants receive an email containing their ticket. Processing is fully automated via Selligent Interactive Marketing without the least human intervention. Later, the recipients are sent a questionnaire asking if they used their ticket or not and why. In function of their choice of movie, they will automatically receive suggestions for other films."
Surveys of specific audiences are also carried out with the help of Selligent Interactive Marketing as part of programs such as Kids@TheMovies, Ladies@TheMovies and others.
"In fact," jokes Claes, "there's little we do here that does NOT involve Selligent Interactive Marketing one way or another."