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How Cinemark Leverages Promotions to Energize Its Loyalty Program Members – featuring Andrew Sonnichsen

Cinemark officials never stop focusing on their loyal customers. 

Consumer expectations have heightened since the start of the pandemic and Cinemark regularly checks in with its loyalty program members to identify their needs and desires. 

Cinemark leverages promotions to engage and interact with its loyalty program members to energize them and celebrate what they love about the experience of seeing a film on the big screen. 

On the loyalty side, Cinemark Movie Rewards comprises two tiers: Movie Fan (free) and Movie Club ($9.99 per month). Offering a free loyalty program and a premium loyalty tier gives your members the best of both worlds because they complement each other and encompass retention and brand advocacy. 

Cinemark has 521 theatres and 5,849 screens in the U.S. and Latin America as of June 30, 2022. 

We caught up with Andrew Sonnichsen, VP, Loyalty Program Management, at Cinemark, to learn more about the company’s keen approach to promotions and how it connects to loyalty program members.


Jim Tierney:Do you leverage promotions throughout the year and tie them to your loyalty program to increase membership and elevate brand advocacy?  

Andrew Sonnichsen: At Cinemark, we pride ourselves on offering exceptional entertainment experiences that not only showcase our studio partners’ incredible new films, but also celebrate what movie fans love most about the moviegoing experience. 

While we provide an entertaining escape for all moviegoers, there is no doubt that our Cinemark Movie Rewards loyalty members are able to make the most of each visit by earning points and having the chance to participate in members-only promotions.  

Throughout the year we have compelling promotions just for our loyalty members that range from concessions and ticket discounts to exclusive screenings and movie cast Q&As. 

Beyond offering discounts and special events, we also have occasional sweepstakes for our members, where they can try their luck to win movie-specific merchandise, trips, and even free popcorn for a year. 

Our Cinemark Movie Rewards membership continues to grow, underscoring the value that our members see in our programs and promotions.  


Jim: Can you talk about your high-level approach to the use of promotions to increase customer engagement, brand awareness, and loyalty? 

Andrew: We use a targeted approach with promotions across multiple key channels, including our website and app, social media, personalized emails, and in-theatre promotions. 

We want to ensure our loyalty members always are informed about the fun and unique activities that are available to them, and we strive to meet them exactly where they are in the way they prefer. Our emails, in particular, go through an extensive personalization process so each member is receiving information exactly tailored to meet their preferences and interests.   

Leveraging the data we collect through our loyalty program, multiple versions of promotional offers are tested to understand by member segment which offers provide the highest levels of incremental activity in engagement, purchases, and ROI.  

Additionally, website and app updates have removed the friction from the Cinemark purchase process, increasing personalization and return visits. This increases overall engagement and helps ensure that any promotions are being seen by movie fans who will enjoy them most. 

We constantly listen to our members to ascertain what perks and offerings they value the most, to ensure they are getting the Cinemark moviegoing experience they want, which in turn helps build brand affinity. We are proud to have a satisfaction score consistently above 90% for Movie Club, our premium loyalty monthly membership program, and hope through various promotions and rewards we continually keep members happy about their decision to join. 


Jim: How do promotions help Cinemark be “in the moment” with your customers?  

Andrew: Consumer preferences are changing rapidly, and we regularly check in with our loyalty members to ascertain their wants and needs, which then informs what type of promotions we devise to ensure we are keeping with current trends. 

Our core offering, moviegoing, is a very social and communal activity – with movie lovers typically engaging with other people at multiple points in their viewing journey; first excitedly discussing upcoming releases and making viewing plans, to actually seeing the film alongside family and friends, and finally discussing their thoughts with other viewers afterward. 

Movies have been, and remain, a key cornerstone of pop culture and our promotions help drive customers to the theatre so they can be a part of the larger societal conversation happening in that moment. 


Jim: What kinds of promotions do you use and what drives those decisions?  

Andrew: We leverage a wide variety of promotions, from exciting sweepstakes such as the chance to win popcorn for an entire year, to free tickets and special discounts on concessions and bonus points opportunities that loyalty members can take advantage of when seeing a certain film in the theatre. 

We work closely alongside our studio partners to come up with engaging promotions for specific films, to build anticipation and increase awareness of the film’s release amongst moviegoers. This includes activations such as special advance screenings available to our loyalty members, to exclusive NFTs and other collectibles that can be won or redeemed to help fans commemorate a film’s release. 

Our promotional tactics are a cross-functional effort alongside both external and internal partners, to ensure we are reaching our end goal while also receiving high engagement and satisfaction from customers. We constantly test and adjust depending on the feedback we gather. 


Jim: What are your over-arching goals for promotions you use?  

Andrew: Our goal when interacting with our loyalty members through promotions is to energize the audience and celebrate what they love about the Cinemark experience and seeing a film on the big screen, while also providing incentives to drive movie visitation.  

In exchange, we receive valuable information to help further grow and optimize our loyalty program. Our goal as marketers is to make the customer journey frictionless from the initial search for a movie ticket all the way to the end credits.  

We want to take the work out of having fun, and let moviegoers just enjoy the experience of seeing a film on the big screen without any hassle. Promotions are a key part of this information dissemination, and let members know about upcoming content, as well as upgrades and amenities available to them such as our XD auditorium, which is our largest and most immersive screen in the building. 

In return, responses from customers to promotional activations or purchase opportunities lets us gauge how our members are feeling in real-time, so we can continue to adjust strategy and offerings if needed. 


Jim: How much research do you do with customers about promotions they are attracted to? 

Andrew: We regularly solicit feedback from our loyalty members on rewards program components, including exclusive offers and activations, to always ensure we are providing them with what they seek in a membership program.  

We also deploy test activations to see what our customers respond to and engage with the most. This includes using tactics such as gamification as well as very targeted offerings and A/B message testing to measure response and interest. This helps us continue to personalize promotions and encourage engagement.  


Jim: According to our 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study we released earlier this year, 17% of consumers say they post about their favorite brands using their hashtags/handles. This stat shows there’s a big opportunity for brands in this area. How do you motivate customers to engage with your brand on social media?  

Andrew: Fully agree that is a big opportunity for brands. We are always encouraging our moviegoers to interact with us through social media, by serving as a one-stop shop for everything about the movies.  

Through major platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, movie fans can come to our profile to catch the newest thrilling trailer, be notified when tickets are on sale for must-see films, and view exclusive behind-the-scenes content. 

We want them to share their love of movies and the moviegoing experience with us and other movie fans and strive to provide an online community that supports that. To fuel this effort, we often repost user-generated social content which amplifies the messages from our members. 

One trend we have noticed in the past year is members’ excitement about our Movie Club Platinum program. Platinum is a premium earned tier within Movie Club which members achieve by visiting our theatres 25 times or purchasing 60 tickets within a calendar year.  

Since its launch last September, we have seen a huge outpouring of positive sentiment from members posting about Platinum on their social accounts. Typically, this is bragging to their friends that they have achieved Platinum status to certify their moviegoing prowess! 

Honestly, it was really fun to see the wave of excitement as it surged through our member base on this new program tier as the positive reaction outsized our initial optimistic projections. 


Jim: What types of data do you collect from promotions? 

Andrew: We have dedicated resources to ensure we are getting to know our moviegoers on the deepest level possible, to allow us to personalize our communications based on information such as day and time preferences, location, and film genre. 

Through promotions, we are also able to see what type of content and activity moviegoers interact with the most, which helps to drive future strategy and execution across not only marketing but the entire brand experience. We serve as advocates for our customers and use the information we gather through promotions and subsequent purchasing to work cross-departmentally and provide a truly exceptional brand experience. 


Jim: What’s the most important ingredient in a promotion to engage consumers? 

Andrew: Relevance. 

The most important part of a promotion, especially in today’s atmosphere where consumers are constantly bombarded with different messaging, is that the value exchange they receive is truly meaningful and impactful to them personally. 

Of course, this differs by consumer, so we leverage our data from past promotional activities and other available data sources to provide the most relevant promotion possible to each loyalty member. 

Whether it is just viewing a piece of content they find enjoyable or redeeming a loyalty reward, we always want them to have a positive net takeaway when choosing to interact with the Cinemark brand. Through invaluable offers and a simple, uniquely targeted experience, we can ascertain higher guest engagement and, in turn, more visits to our theatres and purchases on our website and app. 


Engage Your Loyalty Program Members With Relevant Promotions 

As Andrew explained, Cinemark uses promotions regularly throughout the year to engage its loyal customers. 

Beyond offering discounts and special events, he noted Cinemark occasionally offers sweepstakes for members, where they can try their luck to win movie-specific merchandise, trips, and even free popcorn for a year. 

Andrew added that Cinemark’s overall Movie Rewards membership continues to grow, underscoring the value members see in its programs and promotions.  

Today when gaining consumer attention is at a premium, Andrew said that relevance is the most important element of any successful promotion. If you make your promotions relevant, you will see more participation and engagement. 

If leveraging promotions to enhance your loyalty program is on your list of priorities, reach out to chat with our customer engagement and loyalty experts any time. 


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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