Single woman sitting lonely in an empty cinema or theatre

Did you know that Canadians were responsible for the Java programming language, life-saving insulin injections, and even the humble egg carton?

I bet you didn’t, because one thing Canadians suck at is marketing and promotion. And that’s a shame, because it means we’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

I live in a small city, and recently, a major movie theatre chain built a new facility on the edge of town. It’s a great venue with, in theory, a great location. But, while the theatre is located in a high-traffic shopping area, its owners aren’t capitalizing on that. When you drive by, you can’t see what movies are playing. The marquee is too small and too far away from the road, and there isn’t a big sign closer to the parking lot entrance.

This is a classic example of a failure to take advantage of an opportunity to boost brand and visibility.

When I emailed the movie theatre company about this, a representative told me that the company wanted people to visit the theatre website or use their mobile app.

This rep’s single statement carries so many assumptions that it’s hard to know where to start. First, it assumes that patrons will automatically know the URL for the theatre’s website. The company does have a pretty straightforward web address, but even so, there are dozens of ways for a potential customer to get it wrong.

Second, it assumes that the theatre’s customer base either has web access or smart phone technology, will know about the app, will have the right OS to use the app, and will have the app installed.

To be fair, these aren’t completely unreasonable assumptions to make in 2013 about the demographic likely to most frequently use the theatre: teens and young adults. But how much revenue is the company losing by failing to optimize its signage to take advantage of all of that drive-by traffic and encourage impulse buys or top-of-mind presence?

The movie theatre company is also assuming the potential customer will remember to look up what’s playing at the theatre when making entertainment choices. Given how much competition there is for our recreational dollars (the local cocktail bar, the bowling alley, DVD rental, Xbox, iTunes, and so on), this is a big mistake.

This signage snafu can be looked at as a metaphor for the Canadian approach to marketing: we rarely take the opportunity to promote ourselves. It may be a cliché to accuse Canadians of failing to toot their own horn, but it happens all too often.

Read The 4 New Steps to Effective Marketing

Another small town near mine is the birthplace of a famous Canadian author, whose works are taught in English literature courses around the world. But you would never know it. The author’s former home sits unmarked on an anonymous side street. There’s no museum or

  • 1
  • 2
Loading comments, please wait.