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What Movies Can Teach Us on Returning Website Clients

October 25, 2021

By Lesley Vos


We all know about a marketing funnel, right? A customer journey from the awareness to purchase stage is the Holy Grail for every specialist in sales: Marketers see how visitors turn into clients and, unfortunately, how they leave our website with no desired action we expect from them.

Why does the target audience leave us with no conversion? How to understand the reason and retarget them accordingly so they would "jump" in the next stage of the marketing funnel? How to catch a client and return them to the website for further engagement?

It's like trying to restore lost happiness. Customer retargeting reminds stories from romantic movies when we want protagonists to live "happily ever after." Equating a marketing case with a corresponding movie, we can spy a strategy to use.

Let's divide them by a marketing funnel's stages:

50 First Dates: Awareness

The plot: A girl has short-term memory loss and forgets her guy the very next day. He has to introduce himself repeatedly, making her fall in love with him every day, and prove they were a couple. Still and all, we see their two kids and happy smiles in the end.

The first stage of a marketing funnel is our potential lead examining several websites, deciding whom to choose. Here a person gets tons of information, and the risk is that they won't choose or even recognize you among others. Or, they won't even remember where they saw suitable products or services.

At this stage, retargeting works for brand awareness and growing an associative flow. The marketing strategy to use here is direct advertising: Use powerful messages, demonstrating attractive features and benefits of your product and/or service.

Case in point:

  • Niche: interior design
  • Problem: 3,000 loyal visitors a day, but no conversion

Visitors don't get enough information to make a final decision. They come to a website, but they can't identify the brand and can't remember where they saw it.

The marketing team used retargeting by placing animated banners with interior images and describing their company's benefits.

Result: 8.8 times more returned visitors and 17 percent more orders

Seeta and Geeta: Interest and Evaluation

The plot: Identical twins get separated at birth and grow up with different characters. One day, they suddenly meet and swap places. Their partners can't understand what happened to their fiancees' temperaments.

Website visitors choose between several products. They draw analogies, read reviews, and compare other customers' feedback to make a final choice. Eventually, they get into a mess, don't remember all bids they saw on your website and can miss the best offer.

That's when the time comes to demonstrate all the benefits of your product and explain what makes it different from other "twins" on the market.

At this stage, subsection advertising matters. Customer segmentation and extreme personalization are strategies to practice here, transmitting relevant messages to the target audience.

Case in point:

  • Niche: home appliances
  • Problem: visitors use the service of goods comparison but don't order any of them as a result.

The team used a retargeting algorithm with the variable transmitting of those goods to a visitor, describing the advantages of each item separately.

Result: 20 percent higher return rate and a 37 percent higher conversion rate

Forrest Gump: Commitment

The plot: A man inspires people with his optimism and achievements like becoming a football star, captaining a boat, fighting in Vietnam, and spending three years in a cross-country marathon.

So, a website visitor decides to buy your product and adds it to a cart. You think you've finally caught him, but it's just the start of your new marathon. Run, Forrest, run! The risk here is that a target customer won't come back to complete the order.

The number one instrument here is an argumentative reminder. Let customers know they've left items in a cart and encourage them to complete the transaction. You can stimulate them by offering a discount.

Case in point:

  • Niche: online retailer
  • Problem: 4,000 visitors a day, most of them add items to carts and leave the website

What helped was dynamic retargeting by demonstrating items from their carts and offering a discount.

Result: 20 percent more orders from returned visitors and a 27 percent higher conversion rate

Runaway Bride: Sale

The plot: Maggie has already left three grooms at the altar and got the label of "the runaway bride." Journalist Ike comes to her town to investigate the reasons, falls in love, and decides to prevent Maggie's runaway from their upcoming wedding.

And here's the situation:

A website visitor decides to buy and starts placing the order but suddenly leaves you "at the altar." As well as the running bride, customers don't tell you why they do that, and you can't predict when and why something frightens them away, and the order process will interrupt.

A special offer can solve the problem.

Case in point:

  • Niche: accessories
  • Problem: visitors start placing the order but drop transactions when choosing the payment method

Managers used retargeting by demonstrating images announcing "a closed sale." It led visitors to the landing page with an optimized lead form.

Result: The conversion rate of that landing page exceeded the main one by 12 times.

P.S. I Love You: Post-Purchase Follow-Ups

The plot: A young widow discovers that passed away husband has left messages to her, intended to help her ease pain and start a new life. His love and care stayed with her for all that.

How does it relate to the marketing world?

Maintain relations with clients even after they've been officially finished. The risk is a one-time collaboration, but cross-selling is the strategy to help here.

Case in point:

  • Niche: smartphones
  • Problem: a regular customer buys something bi-yearly. To narrow transaction intervals, marketers used retargeting.

A while after purchasing smartphones, customers were offered discounts for mobile accessories.

Result: At a relatively low CTR, the number of returned clients increased by 60 percent.


Romantic movies are far from real life, but they make us believe in happy ends. Marketers struggle for clients, and there are no magic pills, fairies, or unicorns to help them. However, they act up to promise and make customers happy.

Proper retargeting is an efficient instrument that can up average check, improves brand awareness, and turns visitors into customers, motivating them to tell friends about your business. Follow your prospects' needs, help them solve problems — and they'll get back to you.

Lesley Vos is a freelance copyrighter, guest blogger, and content strategist.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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