August 9, 2016
Disclaimer: I have not seen ‘Suicide Squad,’ but I plan to watch it in theaters. So while I do not know if my personal take on the film is good or bad, I know what the critics thought and how well it performed over the weekend at the box office in spite of the harsh criticism.
Is it a rousing success for DC and Warner Bros.? Or will it follow its ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ predecessor and drop substantially (to the tune of over 65%) by the time the second weekend arrives? That remains to be completely seen, but there are certain business principles adopted by Warner Bros.—and most other movie studios—that B2B enterprises should avoid.
Volume is Not the Answer
‘Suicide Squad’ reportedly cost $175 million to make and earned roughly $135 million of that back in one weekend in the U.S. On paper, this seems like a bonafide success. It almost earned the budget back and has only been out for 5 days.
Yet, when factoring in marketing and advertising budgets, that $175 million actually looks a lot bigger. Combine that with the aforementioned drop in ticket sales in the coming weekends and the final results look a little bleaker.
In essence, box office numbers mask profitability with promises of volume.
B2B enterprises must avoid this trap. Too many companies take a one-price-fits-all approach that can irreparably damage profitability. Unlike the film studios, which have little to no control over how movie theaters price tickets, a B2B organization has control and must take it in order to succeed.
Optimized target prices that are segmented by product, customer, industry, or region ensure each price is finely tuned to the customer for maximum profitability. By segmenting prices, businesses run the risk of sacrificing minimal volume percentages, but open their bottom line to the possibility of accruing significant margin and revenue percentage points.
Know Your Brand
The (post-)production process for ‘Suicide Squad’ was a verified mess. After the strong backlash to ‘Batman v. Superman’ there were reshoots and new edits that changed the film and left it—as many critics felt—disjointed, as if two films were sewn together and pushed out to meet a deadline. Quality was sacrificed to meet perceived expectations and reach the lofty bar set by their competition.
The moral of the story? Trust in your brand and data.
Warner Bros. has source material and millions of fans drumming up excitement for their DC films. It’s impossible to say for certain, but if they had left things as they were, perhaps the result would have been met with less derision from the non-devotee fanbase, increasing their chances of reaching a wider audience and selling more tickets.
For a B2B enterprise to remain profitable, there must be confidence and transparency in decision-making. Corporate leadership must trust in the data that the final choice is the right one, without any need for tinkering to meet expectations.
Internal, historical transaction data is vital to better understand how products and prices have performed in the past. Further, external market and competitive data provide insights into how products are perceived. It is important to satisfy your customer’s needs, but don’t assume your alterations fit the desires of the majority. Use your data to glean insights that prove your value; the profit opportunities will follow.
Don’t Fall Into the Same Trap
I can trust in the data to safely assume ‘Suicide Squad’ will slide into the “what could have been” category. It won’t be a financially damaging hit to the studios, but the lack of faith in the first edition of the final product scarred its reputation.
B2B enterprises can avoid the same fate by shifting their focus away from volume for the sake of volume to a more optimized, targeted approach. With this strategy, organizations won’t have to hope for an outside savior—like the international box office—to be profitable.