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The consumer is constantly moving the cheese for the movie makers

Movie producers are now in a constant state of dilemma as to how they should go-to-market with the movies they produce. Even though the number of options they have to reach their targeted audience has increased, yet it has become so much more difficult to earn that audience’s attention and engage with them. What used to be a drawn out movie marketing “funnel,” where the movie producer’s marketing team uses their brand, hires an agency who would provide the marketing services, who would in turn hire a supplier of advertising inventory to reach the consumer, etc., has collapsed. The traditional marketing value-chain, that had a linear flow with well defined roles and a series of predictable touch-points with the consumer, has changed significantly. With the advent of the tech-driven marketing ecosystem, the movie consumer has assumed center stage and dictates where he/she can be found and how he/she wants to receive messages and information from brands and what kind of movie he/she wants to see. In today’s complex marketing ecosystem, every participant on the value-chain is one step away from the movie consumer. Not having that consumer insight in choosing the movie to make, how to make it, and how to go to market with it effectively, can no longer be the excuse.

Clear strategies have to be developed not only for each movie you make, but for your brand and how you would go-to-market with it. Start by having a good grasp of what kind of consumer experience would you want for your consumer in going for your movie? Which targeted consumer segment would you want to make your movie for? Which consumer needs can your movie address? Given your brand, overall value proposition, and strategy, what kind of consumer experience should the movie create? What kind of capabilities do you need, not only make a movie that delivers that consumer experience, but also for how you can go-to-market with it? How can your operating model be re-designed to create, deliver and capture value from such movies? How would your organization be structured and the culture shifted in order to deliver such consumer experience with your movies? What kind of partnerships will be optimum to fill the gap in capabilities you might have to make such movies and go-to-market with it effectively?

Experiment and innovate constantly with new story ideas: Don’t expect your targeted consumers to know what they want to see in their movies. They will just intuitively flock to it, when they see it or hear about it. Who can resist wanting to watch “La La Land” after watching Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s, 32 second dance clip beside a bench at night. If you are a good film-maker, you ought to know what will emotionally connect with your targeted audience, even before they know. As a successful film-maker you should continually innovate and experiment with well informed judgment calls as to what to present, at what time and in what way, as you refine your acumen by repeatedly innovating with every movie you make. If you are able strengthen your brand with repeated success with your experiments and innovations, you will enhance your targeted consumer’s loyalty.

Deepen your target audience insight: Leaders in the motion picture industry already know how important it is to have access to critical target consumer insight in various decisions across the movie-making value chain. Not just for picking the right story or writing the greatest script for it, but also in how to produce it and go-to-market with it. These companies are beginning to build their own in-house capabilities around consumer analytics. Short of which, they seek out data from a variety of external sources including, real-time-interactions on targeted websites, e-commerce sites, social media, internet-of-things, and online communities like consumer advocacy councils. Deepen your understanding of your targeted consumer segment with each movie launch, and embed the voice-of-the-consumer effectively into every decision you make at every step of the value-chain.

Strengthen your brand: Develop that unique value proposition for your target consumers that no competitor can match. To deliver on this promise to your target consumer segment, you should have developed and deployed a group of interrelated and distinct capabilities in innovative ways. All the movies you make should have a voice common to each of them that is distinctly yours. This combination of value proposition, capabilities, and offerings, when they all fit together in a coherent way, gives the company its identity – your brand. The company’s target consumer experience can be thought of as the visible edge of that identity: the way in which people interact with the company and learn to appreciate it. Strengthen your brand identity and don’t be tempted to calibrate yourself with what movies your rivals produce. Instead, base your brand identity with what you only can produce with your distinctive capabilities and culture, that you have honed into. Bring your entire organization to rally together behind that common identity.

Target those consumer segments where your movies will succeed: When you start, you don’t need to win in every market that exists for your movie. Focus only on those targeted audiences with whom you might have a reasonable level of confidence for success. The promise that you have in your value proposition in the movies that you produce, should consistently appeal to this target audience, whom you are able to serve profitably. You can and should grow your reach into other market segments. But you should be able to deliver value to those new markets with the capabilities that gave you the edge with the base consumer segment. You may not be good at everything, but you should be able to uniquely corner the markets that you reach with your unique value proposition and capabilities.

Your earned trust with the audience is an asset that needs to be protected and nurtured: As you consistently deliver unique value through through the movies to your audiences, you earn their trust with your brand of movies. Take time to nurture that trust with your consumers, in your brand. This earned trust with your audience should be treated as an asset. When you have this asset in your consumer-relationship, you should also have accountability for it. Take necessary steps to have joint-partnerships with sample target consumers to refine the value proposition of each movie you make and problem-solve the issues raised through each movie produced in the past. Shift your culture to that of partnership and problem-solve with your target consumer segment.

Enhance the omni-channel touch-points with your consumers: Connect using a consistent omni-channel experience for your audience: A consistent look and feel with every movie you make at the theaters, websites, mobile apps, DVD/Blu-ray disks, digital, etc. at every consumer touch point, is important. The consumers expect to have the same experience about the movie from your company, as they hop from channel to channel to finally see the movie in whichever format, on whatever screen, anywhere at anytime. This will raise the bar on every part of your organization – from script development to partnerships you develop to produce the movie, and in the marketing efforts.

Make your organization consumer-centric: With full awareness of your target consumer segment, your brand identity, and your aligned capabilities, you should align your organizational elements with the target consumers at the center. You have to rethink decision rights, structure, roles/responsibilities, incentives, norms, and practices, with your promise (value proposition) to the target consumer and insights about them, always on mind. With these shifts you might need to attract additional talent around delivering to the target consumers and technology.

Align the culture to the target consumer strategy: Just as earning the trust of the targeted audience segment is an asset, the culture of your company is also an asset that has to be aligned with your strategic imperatives. Even though it is claimed to be the biggest barrier to becoming consumer-centric, many companies knowingly or unknowingly ignore the value that culture as an asset could bring to them. It takes time and diligence in shaping the culture of an organization, but can’t and should not be left for chance. Identify a few behaviors in the company that clearly moves the needle forward, and model those behaviors across the organization, in part by explaining why adopting these behaviors matter.

As you adjust the practices of your movie making venture, have a clear focus on your brand identity and the target consumer trust you have earned in the movies that you make. Whatever movies you make and how you take it to market should be coherent with strengthening that brand voice of your company, and then, your movie business will thrive.

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