We often say “distribution is marketing and marketing is distribution.” You cannot do one without the other. You cannot execute one without total integration with the other. The two go hand-in-hand. Common sense, right? You’d think so, but we all know how often distribution and marketing are running at different speeds, in different lanes, on different tracks.
Here are our 10 ways to improve your distribution:
- Distribution, and more specifically your release date, really is the START of your campaign. Yes, you’ve started much earlier, but too many see the release date as the finish line and not the half-way marker in the marathon.
- Distribution is a MARATHON. Not a sprint. Not a weekend jog. You are in this for the long-haul and you need a distribution plan that considers the next three years, not just the next three months.
- Distribution requires DATA. You cannot manage what you cannot measure, a friend says. You need to deploy every imaginable tool, tracker, pixel, email capture, and analytics to understand what is working, why, where, and with whom. Otherwise, you are wasting money and time, and most importantly, missing your true potential.
- Distribution is not cut-and-paste or an assembly line. Technologies, platforms, aggregators, specs, delivery, files, apps, and so on are in a constant state of CHANGE. Just because something was one way last year or last month doesn’t mean it is the same today. As a result, there are bound to be glitches — most easy to remedy. It’s one reason you need a distribution team even if you’re releasing independently or with a modified DIY model.
- Distribution is about EVENTIZING. Your audience is not everyone. Even your target audience is not going to universally respond to your content. Every window of your distribution must compress and intensify your audience’s awareness and action. Releases make your content available. Events make your content irresistible. It cuts through the clutter. It compels a decision. It mobilizes partners. And eventizing makes actions simple for a busy, distracted, and overwhelmed audience.
- Distribution is MARKETING. Worth repeating, yes. The way you distribute — when and how you release — says a lot to an audience. Theaters or home? Wide or platform? Same weekend as a big studio or on a holiday? On streaming or with a direct-to-consumer platform? Marketing and distribution must be connected and coordinated from day one.
- Distribution should be TRANSPARENT. Astonishing to us how many filmmakers and content-producers describe how they were a) cut out of the decision-making process, b) unable to get accurate and timely financial reports, c) received no communication on plans, strategies, results, or next steps. We say it over and over: the best asset we have as distributors is the person or the team that made the content.
- Distribution is LOGISTICS. Few understand the level of detail required to deliver content to any platform, exhibitor, buyer, or service. From art specs to file QC to metadata, distribution requires a team that is focused entirely on the details, the fine print, the smallest of issues that can lead to frustration, even failure.
- Distribution should be ALIGNED with the content producers. Alignment between makers and distributors is essential. Too often the relationship is adversarial, not relational. Our belief is that the most successful agreement is one that aligns interests. For us, that means a partnership where both share in the champagne and the aspirin — both celebrate when we win, and feel the pain when we lose.
- Distribution is MAKING CONTENT AVAILABLE, but marketing is making CONTENT KNOWN. Your content can get on many popular platforms, but without a clear, compelling, consistent marketing and publicity campaign no one will know it is there. Another reason audience development and activation must begin as early as possible. And why distribution is so closely tied to marketing.
(c) Aspiration Entertainment, 2020