Within the next five years, connected consumers will have access to every piece of media ever made, anytime, anywhere, at the click of a button. New content won’t just be competing with its contemporaries, but also with everything from the past as well. So how do you compete and not get lost in the rush? By effectively and efficiently match content with the perfect audience member? As Producer of Marketing, that’s where Martingale comes in….
According to Adi Shankar, writing in Forbes Magazine 4 years ago, the P&A spend (the dollar amount spent on marketing, or ‘Prints & Advertising’) on an average movie was around 70% of the production budget of that film. In other words, if ‘Die Hard 16’ had a budget of $100 million, then the marketing expenditure would be in around $70 million. However, marketing expenditures have skyrocketed in recent years, and 70% is something of a low-ball. These days, major releases routinely have production costs that are a mere fraction of their marketing budgets. The recent trend of low-budget horror and thriller films are a great example: The Purge, Insidious 1 & 2, Dark Skies, Sinister, Skyline, You’re Next – all of them had production budgets under $5 million dollars, and marketing budgets over $20 million.In spite of this, in South Africa – and indeed in most countries around the world – film marketing is mostly an after-thought for filmmakers. Perhaps because of the sheer difficulty of raising production funding, concerns about what will happen with the film once is complete is often seen as “someone else’s problem.” Even the powers-that-be encourage this backward way of thinking. The DTI and the IDC do not, for instance, include marketing spend as part of the calculation of Qualifying South African expenditure. And even though most funding regimes do insist on proper consideration of a film’s “audience”, there’s not really much thought expected of how a film will actually reach that audience. As a result, too many filmmakers still think that the quality of their work will be enough to break through the competitive “noise” and get the audience into the cinemas or at least downloading legally online.
My job is to help filmmakers cut through the “noise”. I look critically at a film – ideally early in the scripting stage – and craft a marketing and distribution plan around it that directly targets various audiences and draws them into a relationship with the film and the filmmaker. This includes constructing and managing traditional marketing tools such as EPKs, but it increasingly looks at exploding the film’s ideas and concepts across a range of complementing transmedia extensions. Working closely with the creative team, we basically work out the best ways to get the movie funded, the best way to get the movie made, and the best ways to get it out into the marketplace and to reach multiple target audiences.The overall aim is to deliver combine traditional marketing with blogging, social media, transmedia and digital promotion — to replicate the marketing reach of a much wealthier film.