5 Marketing Secrets From Hollywood - Custom Marketing
David Hutchin: 5 Marketing Secrets from Hollywood

5 Marketing Secrets From Hollywood

Ever take a moment to wonder why Hollywood marketing gets your attention and how marketing from Tinsel Town is remarkably consistent?  That's because Studios are using a marketing formula that works!  With a combined four decades of launching Home Entertainment products for Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, we thought we'd share our Top 5 Marketing Concepts that consistently flow through Hollywood's Best in Class Marketing efforts.  The applications to your business will be immediate.  But benefits of using this model consistently will be long lasting.

1.  Target. Know who you're selling to. KNOW THEM. 

There's a saying that "no wind is the right wind without a port in mind." This is especially true in marketing.  Unfortunately, even our best ideas are not worth anything to our business if not designed to appeal to the right Target Audience.  Compounding the error still is when the target is not clarified, and our hard earned money is spent putting our messages on the wrong marketing and media channels.  Getting to know your target audience intimately is done in a variety of ways to include low or no cost exploratory research via social media and other centers of community.  That being said, the most actionable insights come to Hollywood marketers from research designed to better understand what the target thinks of their specific product from concept through final execution.  Your research may not be global, might not be as extensive, but the benefits and strategic applications will be.  Believe that.  

2.  Objective, Strategy.  Spend time here. 

This is hard work and let's be honest that while critical, it's an unsexy part of marketing.  Set clear Objectives of what you want to accomplish with your campaign and make sure it is measurable.  Otherwise, how will you know if it was a success?  "Making Money" is not a Marketing Objective but rather a result that you will have after hitting your Objectives.  Put a finer point on your marketing Objectives that will help you achieve a good result.  Let’s use as an example the Home Entertainment launch of a Star Wars Trilogy,

  • The Objective might be:  Sell 2 million units globally in Q4.  
  • A Marketing Strategy to support this would be:  Use PR Media Events to Raise Awareness for Launch.  
  • A corresponding tactic would be to turn the BT Tower in London into a Light Sabre (see Tactic section below).

Additional Marketing Strategies are then outlined to specifically support each Objective.  Check out this graphic and then the Tactics section below.  -And no, Facebook is not a strategy, it's a tactic used to support the strategy you have already outlined.  To keep this post straightforward we shared a simple 3 step example for readers, however we will point out that campaigns can have different layers of objectives and strategies as desired.

The Support Group:  Tactics support Strategies.  Strategies support Objectives.

3.  Tactics 

This is where Hollywood gets creative and can really shine.  A fun example is the lighting-up London's iconic BT Tower skyscraper like a Light Sabre to launch a Home Ent release of Star Wars.  Pretty cool!  This tactical stunt had a clear strategy behind it to raise awareness at launch, which did just that by generating coverage in the national press.  Small business tactics don't need to cost money. Just get creative as great ideas cost you nothing and can come from anyone!  –Get creative and make certain that your Tactics directly support your Strategies.  If not, you’ll have lots of good creative tactical ideas with no business results to show for it.


Photo:  Daily Mail UK

4.  Research:  Gut instinct only takes you so far. 

When millions of dollars are about to be spent on a media campaign, Studios want to make sure they get everything right from the right jokes to the favorite characters to the right target audience.  Research will do all of these things for you.  As a small business, marketing campaign dollars might be smaller but the spend as a percentage of available capital is sure to be greater:  Why leave any marketing expenditure to chance? Big Studios don't.  With excellent free tools like Google Analytics and paid services like Surveymonkey.com and Pickfu.com research is less costly than one might think and if well directed, is an investment in all future marketing decisions.  Believe that. 

5.  Planning:  Coordinate all the moving parts for maximum impact.

Dates for launch are chosen often years in advance based on historical performance data, assumed competitive offerings and relative window of opportunity.  This long term planning is then supplemented with a launch plan broken out into Pre-Launch, Launch, and Sustain phases.  The Marketing Plan for launch is approved by the highest levels of management and is used to guide the execution of marketing efforts.  All functional groups contribute to this plan from Finance to Publicity to Brand Management.  - Even if you are a small business person wearing many or ALL of these functional hats, the advantage of having a Marketing Plan is the same for you as a major Hollywood Studio:  Your plan is well thought out and ready to execute with measurable spend and expected return on that investment on paper.  Advantages to small business are multiple to include clarity of thought and execution (Are you ever paralyzed with marketing indecision when times get tough and roadblocks occur?) as well as accountability for the measurable goals you've set for yourself.

Go ahead, take a few pages from the Hollywood Marketing Machine playbook and have a great 2018!  Good luck.

About the Author David Hutchin

David is an experienced marketing executive and partner at Custom Marketing. He's run marketing campaigns in the US and across the world, living over 10 years in both Europe and Latin America. His decades of experience building marketing plans and campaigns for companies such as Warner Bros and FOX, allow him to work quickly with clients to get them real results. David has a BA in International Relations from UCSB, an MBA from Boston University and is fluent in Spanish. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, 2 kids, and his pug Luna.

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