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Online Movie Tickets Pose A Problem For Product Managers

When you go to the movies, how do you buy your tickets? I’m willing to bet that your answer was not “online”. Yeah, sure, sometimes if the movie is going to be really popular or if it is critically important that you get your hands on a ticket, then you might go online and buy your ticket there. However, most of the time you probably get it the old fashioned way – you stand in line and buy it at the window. If you were the product manager working at one of the companies that sell movie tickets online, this would indicate that there is a real problem with your product development definition.

What’s The Problem With Online Movie Ticket Sales?

If you and I are not automatically thinking “I should buy that movie ticket online”, then clearly something has gone wrong here. What’s up with that? Once upon a time in the U.S. there was only one set of product managers who had to worry about online movie ticket sales and they worked for Fandango. Online movie ticket sales have been around for roughly 15 years. However, currently only 13% of the 1.3 billion movie tickets that were purchased in the U.S. last year were bought online. That’s nothing to put on your product manager resume.

What makes this small number so very interesting is that we really don’t have any problems purchasing tickets online anymore. In fact, when it comes to concerts and other live events (think sports), going online and buying our tickets there feels very natural. If these product managers can convince more people to purchase their tickets online, then they stand to make a lot of money. Online tickets generally come with an additional convenience fee of between US $1 and US $1.50. In all honesty, it’s this extra fee that turns me off from buying my movie tickets online.

There is a lot of value in selling movie tickets online. Online sales better help the movie studios manage what films are being shown where and when. Additionally, when someone buys a ticket online, the studios have a chance to determine the characteristics of the person who is buying a ticket to see this movie and they can also tell how often this person buys tickets. This opens up a world of direct marketing opportunities that have never been available to the people who make movies before.

How Can This Problem Be Fixed?

Based on the numbers that are available, not enough people are currently choosing to purchase their tickets online. The product managers know that something has to be done about this. Part of the reason for this industry’s slow growth has been the simple fact that there has only been one player: Fandango.

The good news for everyone involved is that this is starting to change. Fandango has had exclusive agreements with the major theater operators to sell tickets to the movies being shown in their theaters for many years. The theater owners are now starting to sign up other firms to sell their tickets in addition to Fandango. It turns out that Fandango is not all that upset about losing their exclusive relationship. It was costing them a lot of money in terms of fees paid to the theaters to maintain that relationship. Now that it’s ending, they can keep more of the service fee that gets paid for every ticket bought.

How theaters are organized is also starting to change. More and more theaters are starting to have “reserved seating”. These tickets can only be purchased online. When a popular film is released, there is the very real chance that a given showing is going to be sold out. By purchasing their tickets online, moviegoers can ensure that they’ll get the tickets that they want. Product managers also have to realize that their product has a real appeal to parents who are already overloaded. There is a need for their product, they just need to find out how to get more people to need it.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers who are responsible for services that sell movie tickets online have a real challenge on their hands. Their service has been around for over 15 years and yet they currently only have 13% of the movie ticket markets. Something is going to have to change with their product manager job description.

The market for online ticket sales has been owned by one company for a long time: Fandango. Their exclusive agreements with theater operators has shut the door to other firms. However, this is changing. New companies are showing up and Fandango is OK with this because they want to earn more from each sale. The product does serve a purpose for hard to get tickets and customers who want less hassle. The product managers just need this product more popular.

The good news for these product managers is that most of us are already used to buying tickets online – that’s how we fly. However, we still don’t see buying movie tickets this way. With a little luck, they’ll be able to convince us that it’s actually easier to buy tickets online than at the theater. If they can do this, then they will own the market!

Sales Techniques – Online Marketing

When it comes to ‘quitting jobs’ and making truckloads of money online, there are but two main areas you should focus a majority of your time on: Traffic! Generating consistent and targeted traffic to your offers.

Conversions! Persuading prospects who visit your offers to rip out their credit cards and buy-buy-buy…

If you plan out your day, you should be planning most of that “productive” time on sending more and more targeted traffic and/or testing, tweaking and improving your conversions. If you have 10 hours a week to spend on your online marketing business, 6+ hours should be spent on Traffic & Conversions.

The rest of the puzzle for making big bucks online is almost irrelevant. Yes, creating quality products is important and designing sales processes, coming up with ideas, technical necessities and all that other jazz is needed, but not as important. For example, how many PLR books do folks out there own? I’d guess many. Or, how much time is spent on forums, Facebook, learning how to set up the world’s greatest blog and so on?

People tend to distract the heck out of themselves all of the time and that’s a natural human thing to do -especially if this Internet Marketing gig is a part-time hobby and not a full-time-put-food-on-the table-career.

…Because if putting food on the table and paying your bills depends on making money online, you’ll have to focus on generating traffic and converting that traffic, most likely. So, the faster you can master Traffic & Conversions, the faster you’ll achieve your goals and dreams! In this article we are going to really hit on some deep psychological triggers and why people buy things. If you think about this, you’ll also see why people even do the things they do.

Persuading prospects to buy your stuff has a lot more to do with psychology than most people out there think. There are psychological needs and desires that provoke people to rip out their credit cards and buy. If you can tap into those triggers and effectively influence prospects to buy your stuff, you’ll have an incredible edge on the rest of your competition.

In fact, as you dive deep into psychology and human nature, you’ll be able to read between the lines and actually see persuasion in action right before your very eyes. What I mean by that is, as you pay close attention to people and their actions and attempts to persuade you, you’ll be able to identify many of these triggers and understand better why humans do the things they do.

I don’t know about you, but that is incredibly powerful to know. What you’ll notice is everyone is always, in some way or another, constantly trying to persuade each other. Even infants negotiate and persuade parents to feed them, hold them, read to them, etc. That’s all fine and dandy, but how can we use these psychological triggers to make a bunch of cash?

Well, let’s look at the reasons people buy.

People will buy to gain more security. It is human nature for people to seek security and protection. Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, anti-lock breaks, investments, download protection, lawyers, doctors, insurance and the list goes on forever. (By the way, most people buy on emotion rather than logic. In this newsletter, you’ll see why emotions are so critical to persuasion.)

People buy to save time. If there is one thing we all want more of, it’s time. In today’s society, time is precious. We are zipping around all over the place in breakneck speeds. We have everything in our lives being sped up, faster-faster and faster! I can now access the Internet anywhere at anytime with my iPhone. It’s all about speed.

If you can save people time, you can make money. Therefore, on your salesletters and advertising, be sure and hit on the fact you can save customers time.

Another reason people buy is to reduce or eliminate effort. Give me more time and save me from putting in a bunch of work and effort and I’m buying!

Who wants to work hard? Many don’t. In fact, I’d go as far to say most humans are somewhat lazy and enjoy not having to work for much. We always say, “There’s got to be an easier way of doing this”. People buy to save money and make money. Money makes the world go round and if your product saves people money, they are interested. And, if your product makes people money, they are game.

Make sure and hit on both of those triggers.

People buy to gain more comfort. Forking over $3,000 for a new couch is a simple desire to gain more comfort. Getting that new leather in the sports car is to gain more comfort (amongst other triggers). Living the Internet Lifestyle is yet another way to gain more comfort. I mean, after all, who wants to battle rush hour every single day or report to some boss, or hit the snooze button at 5am Monday through Friday?

People will buy to gain popularity, recognition or my favorite word for this emotion, VANITY. Yes indeed, people buy things so they can gain vanity. Sports cars, dresses, flashy suits, Rolex watches, jewelry, paintings, etc.

This is a big one because if you can tap into that desire of vanity (which is one of the 7 deadly sins I hear) then you are really getting deep into the psyche. How can you tap into that? Hit on how their friends will react when they have your product in their hands.

For example: Your friends will freak when they find out you quit your job and are making five times the income they are, from the comfort of your own home (and in your pajamas to boot)…

That’s appealing to vanity…

Alright now, we’re really getting into it now… what are some other reasons people buy?

People will buy fast and with a frenzy to escape pain (especially physical or emotional pain). Humans hate pain. To avoid pain is a very strong emotional desire. If you’ve ever had a kidney stone or severe back pain, or given birth (I have not had that one), then you know exactly what I am talking about. You will rip out a credit card and max that baby out in order to get rid of severe pain. If the doctor says to you,”on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being unbearable pain, what would your rank your pain level right now” and you respond with an eleven, you know what I’m talking about.

Well, you can tap into all sorts of various types of pain with your advertising and copywriting. It is unlimited. People experience all sorts of pain and you need to hit on it fast in your letters. In fact, you can even hit on itin your headlines.

Hit on the ‘pain’ and drive it home. Then, relieve that pain with your product offer. That’s money in the bank.

People will buy to emulate others. Yes, this is one of our favorite pastimes. You see, even as kids we

emulated others. I used to fly around the house as superman (cape and all). We tend to emulate brothers, sisters, parents, aunts and uncles, best friends, celebrities, people we admire, teachers, coaches and so on. It’s a basic human emotion and you can tap right on into it.

For example, Dan Marino the famous retired football player lost 50 pounds with Nutrisystem, and so can YOU!

Another reason people rip out their credit cards and buy is to take advantage of opportunities. That’s a big one in our IM industry. However, I want to put a spin on this one for a second.

Not only will people buy to take advantage of opportunities, but they will also buy faster than you can believe to not miss out on opportunities. That’s called a “take-away” Let me explain this a bit more.. This technique,”the take-away” can be used on most of these triggers in this newsletter. Instead of presenting your offer as,”Take advantage of this opportunity” present it as,”You will kick yourself if you miss out on this opportunity – you might just regret it for a long-long time!”

Or,”You may not be secure without this smoke alarm” as an example. We can go on and on with examples, but the key here is sometimes it is much more powerful and compelling to present it as a take-away. People hate not having something. People often want what they cannot have too.

All in all, people will buy just to take advantage of an opportunity.

To avoid trouble is another reason people buy. I guess this is why defense ‘criminal’ attorneys are so rich. People will borrow money; sell off everything they own and more to avoid trouble. For example, “The IRS will levy your bank account and drain it in an hour if they want. We can stop them!”

That’ll get the blood boiling huh?

People buy to satisfy curiosity. This is another emotional, impulse buying trigger. Sometimes people just have to know. They will buy just to satisfy their curious nature. You can surely use this in your marketing. Marketers do this often by emailing out to their list explaining that something big is about to happen, but they cant quite tell them yet.

That’s teasing them, building anticipation and creating curiosity. Then, everyone runs to the forums to speculate. I have used,”Plus, you’ll get a very special secret bonus I can share on this letter, it’s a surprise and for paying members only!”

Afterwards, I had several people say they bought just to know what the special secret bonus was. People are curious cats.

The last one for today is this one: People buy to increase enjoyment. If you really think hard about this one, you’ll see that it stretches out all across the spectrum of products purchased.

I mean, people will buy movie tickets to increase enjoyment or some will even shop and buy anything to increase enjoyment. Just buying something is enjoyable for most. In fact, here is a very small list:

Movies, plays, sporting games, concerts, festivals, carnivals, gambling

HDTV’s, iPhones, surround sound, massage chairs, Play Station, etc

MP3′s, ebooks, membership sites, bikes, four wheelers and beach houses…

Pool tables, swimming pools, sports cars, new computers and five starhotel rooms…I could go on forever right? I mean, if you can tap into the enjoyment factor, you’ve got it rolling in the right direction. If I just say the word,”hand bag” to my wife, or “new shoes”… I’ve got her attention and she’s automatically happy.

People enjoy buying so much and so often, they’ll get rid of perfectly functional stuff just to buy seemingly better replacements.

I think it’s important to hit on again that people tend to buy on emotions. Some people hit the malls or the online malls when they feel depressed. People buy when they feel great too. People just buy-buy and buy often and always.

What you need to do is create empathy within your prospects.

Empathy is the capacity to recognize or understand another’s state of mind or emotion. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes” or to in some way, experience the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself. It may be described metaphorically as an emotional kind of resonance or mirroring. – from Wikipedia.com

If you go to the movies and the movie makes you feel sad or teary eyed, that’s the movie creating empathy in you. The actors, the music and the scenery (and build up) creates empathy. Or, if the movie inspires you and you feel empowered, that’s empathy.

If you can put yourself in your prospects shoes, and get them to feel certain emotions you want them to feel, then you are persuading and influencing their buying behavior. Influence can be a very powerful thing. However, there are two types of influence, positive and negative. Negative influence will get you in trouble. Positive influence can make you rich and happy. We all influence each other all of the time. It’s a human nature thing. However, some are better at it than others and those who are aware of it and good at it, tend to get much more of what they want, than the rest do.

Here’s one of the biggest insights into persuasion… People resist others’ attempts to persuade them. However, they do not resist persuasive attempts when they don’t recognize them as persuasive attempts.

This is why some of the best salespeople on the planet don’t even seem like they are selling anything at all. It looks like the prospect is the one who decided to buy and that it was his/her idea in the first place.

Sometimes, the best sales messages are the ones most never realize are actually sales messages. The example that comes to mind is the radio icon, Paul Harvey. You know, the guy who says,”The rest of the story”.

Well, he is actually selling something on those radio spots. He ties the sales message carefully into his news story. He tells stories and subtly slips in a sales message. The listener then thinks it’s his or her idea to pursue the product mentioned on the advertorial. Again, people resist attempts to sell them, but will not resist if they have no idea they are being persuaded.

Sure, this can be used in a negative manner and some out there do. But, they always end up in some kind of trouble. If you use these insights for positive gain, such as to sell your products, you’re in good shape and its just good salesmanship.

Conversions are one of the big TWO for making truckloads of money online. If you can steadily increase your knowledge of how to convert better, you’ll realize where the money is to be found.

While everyone else out there is focusing on all the barrage of distractions life has to offer, focus your time on generating targeted prospects to your offers, and constantly increasing conversions.

Finally, I do have one last thing on my mind to hit on. It does not really have a lot to do with conversions, but it does have a lot to do with success.

You see, one of the major differences between those who achieve massive success online and those who don’t can be narrowed down to the way folks treat this Internet Marketing opportunity.

Most out there treat ‘making money online’ as a series of projects. I hear it all the time from tons of folks actually,”I have a lot of projects on my table to complete” and so forth.

Well, I really think that if you can change that word “project” to “business” you’ll see a different result. I mean, instead of saying,”I have a new project to complete” say “I am building this new business.”

Projects tend to be temporary and short lived. Businesses are a long term growth thing. You start a business and grow it over time. You improve it every day. A project tends to be temporary. We see projects all the time in this industry because marketers toss something online and then move on to a new project to promote. It’s ever changing.

But – a business… now that’s something long term. A business is not short lived, and done. It’s evergreen. It’s ongoing. And your mindset and the way you treat this Internet Marketing Avenue for riches is quite paramount in my book.

Start today on building a business – not a project… and you’ll see immediate differences in the entire way you approach your production and just about everything you do in this business.

It’ll make a grand difference, I assure you.

Redundancy in Legacy Distribution Channels Vs Online Distributors

The success of online retailers like Amazon and Cabela’s is readily acknowledged by consumers on a yearly basis. The retail giants provide well known products at competitive prices. In many cases they are able to sell merchandise at prices far below those of local electronics and sporting goods retailers.

While these are 2 of the more well known online retailers, there are literally millions of web based merchants selling their products online today. These companies can offer many of the same benefits in pricing, which can directly be attributed to their lack of exposure to the salaries and expenses of sales staff, retail space, and in some cases warehouse space.

In many cases the biggest benefit can be found in little known companies which market little known but oft use products. I will use Stretch Wrap as an example. Stretch Wrap or Stretch Film is a product that will almost certainly be used or impact the distribution and sale of all other products during their production and sales life cycle. For example, a manufacturer builds widgets for Wal-Mart:

1. He first unpacks his raw materials from pallets wrapped in stretch film.
2. The manufacturer completes the end product and secures his merchandise on pallets with pallet wrap for delivery to the designated Wal-Mart distribution Center.
3. The Wal-Mart distribution center breaks apart the pallets as needed and repacks for delivery to retail centers as needed.

Here we see a product that is used extensively in the manufacturing and distribution process of nearly all products. One would assume that it is a well known product that could be purchased directly much like the well known electronics available from Amazon.com, but this is not the typical type of procurement for such key product.

Products like Stretch Wrap still tend to be procured via legacy sales channels that include a great number of redundancies, overhead, and markup. While there are online retailers willing and able to provide the same merchandise factory direct, most are not willing to leave their relationship with a salesman and or established wholesaler. Let’s take a look at the typical life cycle for a Stretch Wrap product.

1. A master distributor identifies inventory need for upcoming or anticipated sales.
2. The manufacturer receives an order for 20 pallets of Stretch Film for a Master Distributor
3. The manufacturer completes the order and deliver to the Master Distributor
4. The Master Distributor receives orders from smaller distributors or those with retail outlets
5. The smaller distributors and retail channels fill customer orders directly from their available stock of product.

Let’s assume that a standard profit margin for each step of the process is a minimum of 20% and the manufacturer original price is $25. By the time you place your order the retail price is $36 not including any additional charges related to redundant shipping and carrying costs which could have been provided factory direct.

Much like my comparison between Cabela’s and your local sporting goods outlets, salesman and retail distributors of Stretch Films can provide a certain level of service, and customer support that is often hard to accomplish via the web or phone. However, once you’ve identified the right product to fill your needs, it’s the same product over and over again. Why pay more?

Yet another pitfall to avoid in the online procurement of Stretch Wrap products can clearly be identified in price. Many online retailers are already receiving their product far along in the “Legacy” distribution lifecycle I portrayed above. Companies like Grainger, Office Max, Office Depot, etc. will all sell these products on their respective sites at a significant mark up. This is likely due to their lack of direct engagement with the manufacturer and inability to ship factory direct.