Film Marketing: Techniques & Technologies for the Digital Age

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film marketing

Hundreds of feature films are released into theaters around the world each year. Add in direct-to-video and short films produced for festivals. Now you have thousands of films being produced and release every year.

Of course, there’s only so much audience to go around. A large number of people never go to film festivals, and some say they never see a movie in theater. Many movie lovers no doubt choose to re-watch their favorites on Netflix instead of taking a risk.

Good film marketing could change their minds. The movie poster is still central, but marketing your film in the digital age has changed. If you want to know how to market your film, look no further than this guide.

Think about Branding

Perhaps the most successful film marketing technique available today is strong branding. This may be useful for a series, or even for productions from a particular company. For example, people go to see Star Wars films because they love what the franchise offers.

By contrast, Pixar movies are very different from each other. Still, people know the name Pixar means they can expect a certain type of story in the movie. It’s a brand they trust.

Branding can be more difficult if your company distributes or produces hundreds of films. You may also feel challenged to create a brand for a stand-alone title.

It’s still possible to create a strong brand. Better yet, you don’t need to have a multi-million-dollar marketing budget to do it. There are many cost-effective tools you can use to help spread the brand message.

First, though, you need to create that brand message. Chances are you’ve already created a logo, a tagline, and even visuals associated with the film. You should think about what kind of film it is, and what you want to communicate to audiences about it.

If the film’s supposed to be funny, then your branding should reflect its humorous side. If you’re all about action, then think about how your brand logo and messaging communicates that idea.

Marketing to Extend the Movie World

Building a brand for an individual title can work alongside another technique. Instead of seeing marketing as a chance to talk about the film, use it as an opportunity to build the story or world.

Visuals are important here. They can communicate many messages about the movie’s setting or story instantly.

A horror film might showcase images of creepy mansions or swampy landscapes. An epic fantasy might show mystical landscapes with dragons or other fantastical creatures.

You can also create short videos or written content that build on the world or the story. An easy example might be an interactive map showing the different locations in the film. Users could follow the route of the car chase in the third act using Google Street View.

Again, you don’t need a huge budget to design some great content that extends the world of the movie. This creates more immersion for your audience.

Publicity stunts and more can fit in here too. Think about the giant dragon’s skull the Game of Thrones team erected on a beach in the UK. How can you bring the world of your film to life for your audience?

The Crossroads of Film Marketing and Reality

At the other end of the spectrum for film marketing techniques is bringing the movie into the real world. People like to know their entertainment is doing good in the world.

You might focus on connecting with the real-world issues that concern audience members. If your film is about a dog, you might connect with a local humane society to highlight pets they have for adoption. Maybe you donate a part of proceeds to an animal welfare organization.

What about a film aimed at kids? Your audience might not like school, but their teachers and parents will appreciate efforts to connect with educators. Maybe you provide resources for parents or donate to schools, libraries, or children’s aid.

All right, now for a tougher one. What about a film about a hero who travels through time and ends up in the Middle Ages? There’s no time travelers’ association you can donate to.

You’ll need to get a little bit creative for this kind of film. If you can’t think of an issue that makes sense immediately, this approach may be best left on the cutting room floor. It’s better to use other techniques than to have your audience scratching their heads over your campaign.

Taking to Social Media

Now that we’ve looked at some of the techniques you might want to try for marketing a film, it’s time to think about technologies.

The first film marketing technology to look at is social media. This includes platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Social media is incredibly important in marketing films in the digital era. With it, you can reach audiences who may or may not already be aware of the film.

Most social media platforms offer ad programs, which can be helpful. Advertising a film and getting the ad in front of your target audience is key. The ad may encourage them to visit your website or watch the trailer on YouTube.

Get People Talking

You can also look beyond ads on social media. In fact, organic posts are a great way to get people interacting and talking about the film.

Take a look at what happened when the Cats movie trailer was released. The movie bombed, but Cats became a cultural flashpoint thanks to social media. People were talking about it for days.

There are plenty of examples of a successful film using social media. Big franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe get people talking almost instantly.

Made-for-TV movies on the Hallmark Channel offer another example. In 2017, the Hallmark Channel released a movie called A Christmas Prince. Viewers quickly took to social media to chat about how the movie was so bad, it was good.

From this discussion, many more people became viewers. Some viewers watched the movie many times, and Buzzfeed reported on the film too. With all this attention, it should come as no surprise that a sequel was released in 2018, and a third film in 2019.

Some viewers even now identify “Hallmark Channel Christmas movies” as their guilty pleasure. That’s successful branding in action, and largely thanks to the power of social media.

Get the Ball Rolling

Social media can craft a narrative around any film, but it’s often up to you to start the conversation. Post about the movie and share trailers. Keep the audience informed.

You can also use social media to interact with your audience. Hold a Q&A session with one of the actors or post as a character from the movie. Ask users to post reaction pictures if your film has a big plot twist or a lot of jump-scares.

The possibilities are almost endless.

Leveraging New Film Marketing Technologies

There’s another set of technologies you’ll want to consider. They’re designed to help you cut down on the administrative side of your marketing.

Suppose you’re running a social media campaign. You want to know what posts your audience sees and interacts with.

Each platform offers their own metrics its own metrics. You may be running marketing activities on Facebook and Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo, as well as Instagram and Snapchat.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that could pool all those metrics and help you see the bigger picture? There is.

There are also tools that can help with other marketing tasks. There are tools that can pull together long-tail metadata for your entire catalog. Other tools offer you ways to automate comp lists.

Some tools give you all these functions rolled up in one neat little package. Other marketing automation tools can help too. With them, you can create smarter campaigns and free up your time.

Getting Creative with Other Technology

Of course, technology isn’t just able to help you measure your film marketing success. Some of it might be aimed at helping you reach audiences in new ways.

Consider the case of augmented and virtual reality. Depending on your film, it could be easy to integrate one of these technologies into your marketing campaign.

How about creating a game? That was what The Hunger Games did to create social buzz around the movies. There are even apps that are designed to get audiences interacting with new films, allowing them to discover new favorites.

Now Showing: Great Marketing

Marketing a film isn’t easy. Today, though, you have more choices and opportunities for film marketing than ever before.

Want to learn more about how technology can help you spread the word about your film? Get in touch with us and discover what new technology can do for you.

Filed Under: Insights