Two images should guide every conversation with distributors, marketing agencies, publicists, staff, and partners: champagne and aspirin.
Here’s why: you want everyone around you, as much as possible, to share in the celebrations and the heartbreak. The ups-and-downs. Believe us, marketing agencies are all champagne. They win no matter what. Your film tanks, they still get a fee. Your film soars, they take the credit.
Until that misalignment is fixed (such as giving marketing agencies a lower fee, but participation in the up-side), here are ten ways you can increase results from your marketing and publicity agency.
- Require weekly reports. Read them. Ask questions. We’ve read reports that included names and outlets that were shuttered years ago. Don’t assume anything.
- Agencies work for you. You don’t work for them.
- Overproduce assets, images, clips, production notes, endorsements, and other materials — the more you provide an agency, the better.
- Start building your audience as early as possible — even when you are in pre-production and certainly before you bring on a distributor.
- There’s no silver bullet in marketing, but two things come close: a good story and grit. Agencies cannot fix a bad film, but when a good film is in their hands, well, success comes through a lot of hard work.
- Remember these five “C” words for your campaign: comprehensive, coordinated, compelling, consistent, and creative.
- Put your audience first. Not the industry. Not prestige. Not awards.
- Build-in incentives for your agency. Find every possible way to make sure they have “skin in the game.”
- Always have a big idea or a big theme that ties everything together — from creative to social to web to ads to publicity — everything needs to work under a big idea.
- Be unconventional. It’s risky not to be. Most will push back because “it’s not been done before” or “that won’t work.” Exactly. The risk for you is being exactly like every other film that gets lost in the clutter and cannot reach an audience. Be bold. Take risks. Dare to be different.
(c) Aspiration Entertainment, 2020