Effectively Marketing Entertainment Projects

I am glad to be sharing a perspective on effectively marketing entertainment projects.

I recently presented at the iMedia Entertainment Marketing Summit in Beverly Hills and represented the team at Rare Method on our approach to successfully market a Television show.  Some of the methodology used in developing that pitch (Which won the Agency Pitch off with judges from Disney, Showtime and the Hallmark Channel) are contained in this blog post. Hope you enjoy!

A little background on where things are today… According to eMarketer studios will be spending slightly more than $16 billion on ads in 2009, and by 2013 that number will grow to $18.6 billion. In 2009 it is also anticipated that $1.2 billion will be spent in the digital sector, and by 2013 this number will grow to $2.7 billion. More specifically across the board studios will change marketing budgets from the current average of 6.3% of the entire spend to upwards of 14% in the next 5 years. With this amount of money being spent on programs I believe it is imperative that studio & agency relationships are solidified. More importantly, agencies need to be held responsible for how they implement these programs and work with all the digital tools at their fingertips, and work with the offline elements that need to be interwoven with their online counterparts.

Given the current economic times the public is looking to maximize the value they get for their entertainment dollars. As demonstrated in past economic downturns, the expenditure in large ticket items are reduced however the entertainment industry usually experiences significant growth as the demand for entertainment and distraction grows during these periods.

Technologies such as the new evolution of 3D bring a new excitement to the industry and will increase the amount of people watching movies in theatres. Building relationships with the audience and creating excitement around these projects will drive box office sales as less people download movies online and they see the value of spending more to see these 3D movies, specifically in theatres.

Similar to a traditional media conversion funnel, TouchPoint analysis and mapping offers a distinct and insightful view of media tactics. The X-axis describes ‘Performance’ – a measure of effort and spend while the Y-axis describes ‘Talk-Value’ – the relative value of the tactic as it relates to customer conversation and social interactions. Ideally, what should emerge is a cloud of media tactics trending ‘up and to the right’ – spending time and dollars on tactics that yield a proportionately higher number of brand conversation cycles.

Based on the online competitive analysis John Hutching and I completed of mainstream media entertainment, it revealed some interesting trends. In addition to Television and traditional Public Relations efforts to promote an entertainment product (e.g. movie, TV), organizations invest significantly in promotional websites as well as on-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. With notable exceptions however, Social Web and PR 2.0 efforts are largely ignored. As a consequence, once an entertainment product is launched (theatrical debut or other), the Social Web and its associated User-Generated Content significantly increases the signal to noise ratio. In other words, the promotional website gets lost in the frenzy of Social Web activity – SEO rapidly degrades.

Rather than fight against this User-Generated Content tide, adaptive marketers are embracing this trend by creating destinations for Social Web interactions. By using Social Network applications such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as employing off-site SEO (linking) strategies to blogs and other media, marketers have an opportunity to concentrate and monitor online brand building.

These are the first pieces of the puzzle we look at along with traditional research and audience persona creation before we get into coming up with the “Big Ideas” that need to cross all realms of the program.

Human Capital is one of the greatest assets studios and networks need to consider when choosing the right agency to work with, and where the great strategy and creative begins.

Please email me if you have any questions.

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About Kent Speakman

Kent Speakman is a producer & entrepreneur who is experienced on both sides of the camera, for the big screen, small screen and the second screen. Examiner.com has called him one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry and has won the iMedia Entertainment Marketing Award for best digital campaign. He writes for trade publications, speaks at conferences and film festivals as well sharing knowledge through media interviews.
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