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Getting The Most From Technology For The Least Money

Gordon Paddison knows how to entice customers to New Line Cinema's movie theaters. What's more, he's done it without touching one red cent of his division's budget. Truth be told, Paddison says he doesn't have any money specifically set aside for customer-relationship management initiatives.

So what's his secret? As senior VP of worldwide interactive marketing and business development, Paddison says he takes advantage of any new technology that might put backsides in New Line theater seats. He uses the technology--often from young companies--to create targeted, localized marketing campaigns. By partnering with the young, hungry firms, Paddison is able to avoid paying to promote New Line's use of the new technology just yet.

Most recently, he partnered with PlanetHopper Inc. to deliver "wireless coupons" to consumers in New York. The coupons are just special messages sent to people's wireless devices.

PlanetHopper employees spent a couple of hours a day handing out fliers in front of three New Line theaters. The fliers directed New Yorkers to the PlanetHopper site where they could sign up to get wireless coupons. PlanetHopper signed up over a thousand people in a week's time. PlanetHopper reps gave free "Blow" movie posters to those who showed up with the coupons. The promotion was supposed to run April 6 to 8, but all of the posters were gone on the first day. Paddison also recently advertised on Web TV using streaming-video movie ads that can connect to moviephone.com where consumers can buy movie tickets.

"We do everything by the skin of out teeth," says Paddison. He adds that the company hasn't determined how much sales have increased because of the promotions. "Until there's a proven, locked-and-loaded value chain, we won't allocate funds to these types of promotions. I don't get paid to do cool concepts, I get paid to get consumers to go to the theaters."

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