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Film Marketing Content Manifesto

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Repost of our CEO Adam’s blog post earlier this week  setting out his manifesto for marketing film content .

When – Content should be delivered in line with strategy, targeted segmentation and specific marketing channels. The phasing of content should be established early on answering questions like, how much content is too much content, and how do we drive intent to view. At present, the biggest missed opportunity is on set when all the creative principles and cast members are together, often with time on their hands. The content that is created on set is for traditional channels (Unit photography for print outlets and EPK for TV). There is a need for strategy to be delivered at production stage with a view to driving the overall content strategy. This way you can create relevant content for relevant platforms such as social or digital content.

Why – Well we all know that content is King but effective placement, amplification and echo is Queen. It is better to have content you don’t need too early than not enough content you need too late. It is also important to use research and insight to drive the right kinds of content. I am NOT a fan of putting 10 people in a room, feeding them and presenting them with 10 different poster comps. If that had happened 40 years ago, we would never have had this:

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Judgement by committee, never mind a committee who have just been fed and who aren’t marketing experts is not the way to get the best answer. Its also the wrong question. It doesn’t matter what people ‘like’. It matters what drives a sale. And research groups can’t look at things through those eyes. I prefer to get the content out there, understand the impact its having and then change accordingly. I also believe in targeted segmentation and platform specific content. Finding the right content for the right audience, and using platforms in the right way to maximise engagement.

How – By using research and looking at what drives intent to view and what creates a barrier. In today’s world, marketing can be tinkered with quickly and effectively. So getting the right content is incredibly important. But the phasing is key too. How many times have we seen too much too soon. And how many times have we seen not enough too late? Again, this process should be led by insight. But one thing that needs to change is the first point of impact. No longer can it be a poster (static image with no engagement functionality) or a teaser trailer (logo or longer trailer designed for someone sitting in a chair at the cinema). It’s time to start using digital or mobile platforms more effectively to drive awareness in the first instant, and engagement in the next. For instance, digital newsrooming is a way to apply content to the news agenda delivering real time, relevant and effective content in your consumers news feed.

Digital Extension – I have never believed that TV buying should be ignored. It has a purpose (awareness) but the levels of wastage must be acknowledged given the high cost of the medium. What a TV spot can’t do is deliver a 30” or 60” message without any kind of extension. Content on different channels MUST integrate and extend onto other platforms. Why get one hit from a piece of content when you can 3, 4 or 5. Digital extension also allows you to change the story or extend it. That digital extension can’t just be a TV spot on an online platform. What this allows you to do is listen to audience response, engage with your audience and ultimately influence decision, something that expensive TV buying doesn’t offer. The same applies to in cinema advertising or trailering (see my blog post on the National Association Of Theater Owner guidelines).

Evaluation – So how do we evaluate the success of this change in approach? The other approach has lasted for 30 years, why change it now? Here is what else has changed: The market is more competitive, traditional media channels have become proliferated, there is a demand to cut costs due to the macro-economic landscape, there is a greater focus on net profit, product lives or dies in its first weekend. GRP’s, OTS actually mean nothing. They are a marker for who ‘may’ have seen your message but like a large fishing net, the fish you pull out of the sea may not be the fish you are looking for. The key in today’s society is engagement, interaction, conversation, shares and intent. These are meaningful markers that can be related to success or failure. The question I always ask myself is did this content drive intent? The Carrie viral, the Devil’s Due stunt, the Lego Movie ad break, did they drive intent? And this is my point. Awareness is incredibly important and traditional media channels can play that part well. But awareness doesn’t guarantee conversion. The key is to think about content that:

  • Is platform/channel specific
  • Targeted to your different audiences (a 5 year old consumes content differently to a 15 year old)
  • Created for the lifecycle of your product, not just in your theatrical window but for home entertainment and beyond
  • Innovative use of the space its in whether its a TV spot, a standee or a Facebook ad
  • Has a clear call to action
  • Delivers digital extension whether that’s a re-direct to the Facebook page or a way to access different or extended content

But as said at the outset, this must fall in line with your overall strategy delivering against your specific objectives outlined as early as possible before the campaign begins. Never let your campaign lead your strategy.

Written by Adam Rubins
February 13, 2014