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How Kinepolis engages every customer individually

The world of cinema exploitation is very competitive. Learn how Marketing Automation makes the difference for Kinepolis. Engage the many, connect to the individual. Advanced use of hyper personalisation and product recommendation makes the difference between Kinepolis and its competitors.

Joz Van Acker -

Who is Kinepolis?

Kinepolis is an international cinema operator that opened the first ‘multiplex’ cinema in Brussels in 1988 and now operates 97 cinemas across 8 countries: Belgium, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada and Poland. One of the missions of Kinepolis is to be the best marketeer and bring tailored experiences to its millions of customers.

The Kinepolis Group is a Belgian cinema chain formed as a result of the merger of two family cinema groups, Bert and Claeys, and has been listed on the stock exchange since 1998.

Where it all started?

The traditional way of mass communicating your message, commonly referred to as marketing 1.0, is often seen as pushy, even annoying. This is certainly true if you flood your customer’s mailbox with messages. The solution to this is ‘relevance’. Only provide customers with information that is helpful to them at that moment in time. This is the whole philosophy behind the marketing automation program of Kinepolis. They call it ‘Marketing as a Service’.

Built in Selligent

So how do you do this on such a large scale? That is where marketing automation enters into the picture. Kinepolis has been using Selligent as their main CRM platform for over eight years now. In that period a lot of channels and touchpoints have been set up to communicate with customers.

So how do you achieve this on such a large scale? That is where marketing automation enters into the picture. Kinepolis has been using Selligent as their main CRM platform for over eight years now. In that period a lot of channels and touchpoints have been set up to communicate with customers.

The basic rules

  • Only send communication that is relevant to a specific person
  • Make the communication as personal as possible

This is why, when Kinepolis wants to promote a movie using e-mail, they only send to a fraction of their customer database. Additionally, when they show a movie top 5 on one of their digital channels, they don’t just show the top 5 that marketing wants to push, they show your personal top 5.

Kinepolis empowers their customers

Kinepolis believes that everyone has a specific movie taste. Promoting a ‘dumb’ action movie to someone who only loves cult classics might work counteractive and solidifies the (false) idea that Kinepolis only caters to blockbuster audiences.

Develop a fortune teller

To ‘predict’ the movies each individual moviegoer wants to see, you need two things: data and algorithms. The data Kinepolis uses to feed its custom-made movie algorithm comes from three sources:

  • The declared profile of a customer: the genres, actors, directors, … that a customer prefers. Kinepolis uses an extensive preference center for this.
  • The purchases someone has made over the years. This information is obtained from an external ticketing system and is imported and linked to the customer.
  • The movie data that is available from external systems and maintained by Kinepolis.

Using the acquired knowledge in omni-channel communication.

When you mix that data in a smart way you can predict the movies people like, not only by taking into account what they indicate as their preference but also by looking at their actual behaviour. This results in a personalised top 5 that you can incorporate in all channels and messages. Kinepolis uses this top 5 in their weekly newsletters and ticket confirmation mails but also on the homepage of their website and the starting page of the mobile app. As long as they can identify you, they present you with a personalised experience.

Selligent: the central hub for omnichannel engagement

So how does Selligent fit into this? Well, at Kinepolis, Selligent is the central hub for all customer information. Kinepolis keeps a 360° view of their customers and uses Selligent to distribute this data across channels. Often this information will be used within Selligent itself but this data is also ‘exposed’ to other business units inside Kinepolis using webservices and API’s. This way, business units like customer service have all this information at hand to help out customers quickly and communicate with them in an efficient way.

Your database is very precious, use it carefully: be relevant and personal.

You might ask: does all this personalising and segmenting actually work? There’s no doubt that sending a promotional e-mail to one million customers will bring in more money in the short term than sending the same e-mail to a couple of thousand customers. But in the long term this will hurt your database. People will unsubscribe and become indifferent to your non-relevant communication. Tests have shown over and over that you get better results if you personalise your communication and limit your audience to people who you suspect will be interested in your message.

The relevance of data ages quickly

Of course, just relying on data from years ago doesn’t guarantee you’ll hit your mark today. This is why Kinepolis regularly asks customers to update their profile, add movies to their movie history, fill out surveys and indicate if they liked a movie or e-mail. That’s right, Kinepolis lets customers evaluate every commercial mail sent out and tries to learn from the hits and misses.

It is all about respect

In the end, what it all comes down to is respect for your customer. What GDPR forced some companies to get right in 2018, Kinepolis has been doing for almost a decade. And it pays off. Not only that, using the scalability of Selligent, the small Kinepolis CRM team can easily add cinemas, countries and languages to their marketing automation setup while still keeping everything personalised. An amazing feat if you ask us.

The inspiration

We want to mention the great inspirer of this strategy, Stefaan Claes and the developer, Peter Devos, now business consultant at DMI Belgium

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Joz Van Acker
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DMI Belgium