I am making a brief detour from my normal sports/social media topics to discuss a surprisingly fantastic consumer experience I recently had.

It had been too long since my wife Krista and I got out on a date alone, so we decided to kickoff the weekend at Ted’s Montana Grill followed by a movie at the Landmark Theaters. I always enjoy Ted’s, but this post is about our new experience at the Landmark Theaters. I assure you we will be going back soon. Landmark Theaters is part of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban. I now know that Mark Cuban can do more than just build a NBA Championship team and be a lightning rod for the NBA!

Landmark Theater empty seats

Landmark Theaters executes one strategy flawlessly: Provide value and excellent consumer experience to the point that price becomes irrelevant. I am currently reading Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki. Let’s look at how the Landmark achieves enchantment (and this one video illustrates all the points described below):

    1. Ambiance – As soon as you walk into the theater, you realize there is something different going on! All of the furnishings are upgraded over what you see in standard movie theaters, there is a fully stocked bar, you can see easily accessible concessions on the back wall, and you can look up at huge TV screens to take one last peek at the football score before going to see that romantic comedy with your lady love (or handsome guy, ladies).
    2. “Freebies” – You just paid a premium for your tickets, but now you get presented with the freebies like buttered popcorn and soft drinks in a well-appointed self-service area. Honestly, I tend to skip the concessions at movie theaters because I always feel like I’ve been robbed, but now I get them “for free” because I paid that premium ticket price. It’s all in the perception, my friends, because I paid more than I normally would…and I felt like I got away with something!
    3. Amenities – We set foot in the theater and noticed the blue lighting in the aisles. It’s a small thing, but it was different enough from other theaters and seemed to bring more of an elegance. We then got comfortable in our larger-than-normal leatherette seating.
    4. Superior Quality – In addition to the superior quality of the seating, it is still expected that the movie itself would be the best digital quality available. Landmark did not disappoint.
    5. VIP Treatment – From the optional Valet parking out front, to a section of VIP seats in the auditorium, Landmark knows how to enchant the consumer. VIP seats can be purchased in advance, and even though they are yet another $3/more per ticket…they generally sell out. The seating takes up the two “prime rows” in the theater, provides plenty of extra elbow room, and the staff will bring you concessions and fill your drink/food requests from the bar right up to showtime.
    6. Location, Location, Location – The Landmark Theaters are conveniently located right off of I-25 between Belleview and Orchard in the Denver Tech Center. They are also part of an overall Landmark experience (Village Shops at the Landmark as well as the Landmark and Meridian Towers for luxury high-rise living). Those 1-bedroom to penthouse apartments range from $300k – $1M! Uh, we think we will stick with the occasional movie and night out at a nice restaurant, but I do find this “community” captivating and well-designed for consumption and appreciation.

I feel the Landmark experience enchanted my wife and I as consumers to the point we forgot that we paid $2 more/ticket than for a normal movie theater. Sure, $12/ticket is a lot more than when I paid $1.00/ticket after walking uphill in the snow both ways to the movie theater when I was a kid (actually there wasn’t snow because I lived in South Texas)! But for that $2/ticket premium from normal movie rates my wife and I felt spoiled. And yes, they have matinee pricing!

When is the last time a retailer, restaurant or entertainment venue enchanted you?