5 Marketing Lessons from Hollywood

Marketing is an important source of competitive advantage within the Hollywood film industry. Its main purpose is to create and translate a symbolic meaning around a film and its ancillary products, target key audience segments, influence audience expectations and viewing choices and mitigate a financial risk. Hollywood marketing is also seen as “perhaps the best contemporary example of product promotion”. Excitement for the movie premiere is built strategically. If it is done correctly, it can guarantee the film’s success before it is even released. While the promotion of blockbuster movies requires considerable investment, there are many techniques that should become part of any marketer’s toolkit regardless of the size of the budget.   

Read 5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Hollywood.

1. Attract attention on social media. Most major movie releases have Facebook and Twitter pages or hashtags which provide updates. They let fans know about special screenings, share interviews with movie stars as well as fun photos and information that would interest fans. Similarly, social media sites should be used to market your business. You can use your own hashtag or use the one that has already gathered a lot of followers to run a social media campaign. For example, you can post about promotions that you are running, photos and videos of your employees or happy customers, information that is entertaining and useful as well as quizzes or contests to generate engagement.  

2. Be everywhere. The success of any marketing campaign heavily depends on exposure. The biggest blockbusters attract attention through various marketing materials such as trailers, posters, social media posts or promotional toys. For example, during the release of Star Wars: A Force Awakens, branded drink cups and popcorn holders were sold in cinemas. This level of exposure requires a lot of finances, but the underlying idea is clear: make your product / service visible. Why does it matter? If customers do not know your brand, they will not use your product / service. 

3. Tell stories. Imagine the first few scenes of your favourite movie. Does it start with giving you a list of facts about the main character? The answer is obvious: “No.” The same rule applies to creating marketing content. You should not just provide information about your company and products / services. Instead, help your audience identify with “a problem, potential solutions and the expected returns”. In this context, using case studies is useful as they identify common problems, provide possible solutions – i.e. your company’s products / services – and provide examples of success. 

4. Use the right channels. A Hollywood film campaign takes advantage of any channel it can – be it online trailers, TV commercials, web and print media, posters or more creative channels. This helps ensure that the movie’s release date is on people’s minds. As there are many marketing campaigns that are designed for immediate purchases, there is also the option of using awareness campaigns and remarketing. Facebook Ads and Google Adwords offer remarketing and allow targeting leads that have visited your site and might be interested in your products / services.

5. Reuse content. Hollywood filmmakers know how to (re)use and distribute their content. Following their example, make sure to find ways to publish it as widely as possible. Find outlets to re-blog your content, transform your content into other formats for outlets like SlideShare, create a podcast or even a microsite, to name a few. A microsite full of useful content can help attract the attention of customers and make them crave more, which in turn can drive user engagement on your main site. To please the audience even more, try to mix old content with new. If there is a good follow-up to a piece, use it to build new content or use its angle in a new context.

References:  Katherine Felsburg Wong, repository.upenn.edu | expresscolour.sg | Stephanie Heitman, blog.reachlocal.com | connect-local.co.uk | Maria Pergolino, blog.marketo.com | Matthew Cumin, clickz.com