Digital Marketing

Cinematic Seconds: Retention Marketing

By Editorial Staff

Retention & Movies

Retention. Retention. Retention.

Attracting a new customer is far more difficult and costly than retaining an old one. Customersthatstick reported that it is 16 times more costly to bring in a new customer than it is to retain one. The value of a returning user is unparalleled, prompting marketers to spend large chunks of their time nurturing existing relationships. Movies allow us to look into the minds of those who do or do not return.

How then do movies translate to retention marketing?

It turns out that they’re both speaking the same language – the human language. In watching a movie, reading a book, and buying a product, our tendencies and habits are just as predictable.

We return for seconds for one reason: desire. People do what they want. But you know that, don’t you? The question is: how do you make them want you?

Cinematic Seconds

The timing

Martha watched Toy Story for the first time when she was 14. 10 years later, she still enjoys watching it. Had she never watched it when she was 14, she may feel differently about it now. In fact, she might not like it at all. What does this tell us? Timing is one of the most important aspects of both movies and marketing.

At a certain point in their life, the movie impacts them more. If a certain person watched Toy Story a few years later rather than on that certain day, the impact would be different. In fact, they might not have enjoyed it at all. However, having already watched it in the proper time, they love it when they return.


There is a time for everything. Some people check their emails after a bowl of cereal and some do so in the wee hours of the morning. Tweens have very different interests and ambitions than people in the later years of their lives. Optimizing your targeting strategies to grab attention at the time when attention is being paid is essential for retention. Who you target is as important as the content or product that you promote. It’s likely that at one point in their day or their life your customer will be baited by your hook, and at another, they will ignore it entirely.

The consistency

People are naturally drawn to that which they have already experienced. Familiarity and nostalgia important roles in our lives, separating the strangers who walk on the street from the friends who know our deepest secrets. The packaging of an item should be just that: a close and familiar friend.

Martha sits down to watch Toy Story again, only to discover that some key elements of the storyline have been altered. You can imagine her dismay.

There’s a good reason why someone read your content or buy your product. If they come back, it’s probably for that same reason. There should be a happy medium between the old and the new. For instance, had Martha been surprised with never-before-seen extras at the end of the film, she would have been delighted.

If you are a blogger, the new content that you just emailed to your readers should be similar to your previous pieces (in style and voice), yet it should offer something new that pikes their interest and keeps them coming back.

The Echo

Watching a movie for the first time is like yelling loudly in a large cavern, the sound echoes throughout, only heard when you watch the movie again. The echo is what ultimately drives someone to do something again. In selling a product, the initial experience must be powerful enough to stand the test of time.

Strong words resonate in the same way that strong movies and products do. The echo is best thought of as a connection between the past, the present, and the future. The past is where you first come into contact with the product. The present holds your responsibility, wherein you should ask yourselves a few questions. Why did they initially consume my product? Do they still need it? If not, how can I alter my product to provide the desired package? Finally, the future is retention, which depends on the present.

Focus your efforts on the first experience. Spend time reaching out to those who already came to you. Make the second experience, the comeback, equally as or more enjoyable than the first. With appropriate timing, consistency, and a powerful echo, retention isn’t as far away as it seems.







This article was written by Editorial Staff

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