3 Marketing Lessons you can Take from the Movies

Think of everything you do to prepare yourself for a movie. You scan the listings, maybe you check Rotten Tomatoes, maybe you scan through hashtagged Twitter conversation around the film or survey your friends on Facebook for their reviews. You make the call on where and when (Finding Dory in 2-D? 3-D?) and finally you show up, ready to absorb a great story. After the credits have rolled, you share your opinion—sometimes to the lucky person who was your movie date, sometimes to your social media followers.

That’s your personal movie-going cycle. Turns out, movie studios have paid close attention to this cycle and developed one of their own—one that marketers would do well to pay attention to, and apply to their own releases and campaigns. Here are three tips taken directly from our Smart Social Report: Volume 5.

1. Capitalize on the Window of Interest

For a movie, the window of interest, or time in which a social audience is captivated by and chatting about a film, is very short. The vast majority of conversation that is going to happen around a film happens in the two weeks surrounding its release. This is not huge news to marketers: Consumer attention spans are dwindling and passions are fleeting.

How to apply the lesson: Whether you are planning a product release or campaign, consider the timing and density of your messaging just as much as you do what that messaging will be. Examine your own data and capitalize on the times you know your audience is most tuned in. When the window has passed, slow messaging and devote resources to the next campaign.

2. Expect more conversation from a “franchise” product

A well-known fact of the movie biz is also an actionable takeaway for marketers—franchises simply produce more volume than new movies, and by far. Don’t believe us? In our study we found that for every Tweet about a new film, there were 5.4 about a franchise film. We hear you: But what about Star Wars? Doesn’t that behemoth franchise skew the dataset? Even when Star Wars is excluded, there are still 2.5 Tweets per franchise film compared to new films.

How to apply the lesson: Be sure to set appropriate benchmarks for engagement and audience metrics. If you’re working toward a product launch, keep in mind whether you’re entering (or creating) a new market or expanding on an existing one. The hard truth is the numbers will very likely be less impressive if you’re starting from scratch—so level set ahead of time with the stakeholders who matter.

3. Adjust the timing of conversation as needed

Movie studios respond to the well-known fact of the franchise bump not only by changing their own expectations (think: box office goals for Independence Day 2 are bound to be loftier than an original summer blockbuster) but also by changing when they start and how they maintain conversation around a film. Franchise films start chatting a bunch before release; original films publish the most content after the release phase—once the audience knows them.

How to apply the lesson: Again, consider the timing of your message with as much weight as you do its content. Movie studios release teaser clips, behind-the-scenes Q&As, links to press coverage: Once you have released a product, get similarly creative on ways to continue the conversation around it, and you’ll extend the life of your product release.

Lessons from the blockbuster pros can provide marketers seriously salient advice this season—but there’s more where this came from. Spredfast’s Smart Social Report: Volume 5 has the entire movie chapter, plus 4 other distinct chapters, each diving into a point of data you can put to use in your business strategy. Chris Kerns, Spredfast’s VP of Research and Insights, explains: “Social data can help drive business strategies and quickly change course when needed. However, with so much data, it can be difficult for marketers to be able to garner actionable insights over time. With this report, we hope we can help you work smarter, not harder.”

Download it now, for free.

Jaime Netzer's picture

Jaime Netzer

Jaime Netzer is Content Marketing Strategist, leading content operations in marketing at Spredfast. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly.