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Integrated Marketing 2010 to 2020 why the movie business knows it has to change their marketing approach now!

Why the USA Movie Business knows it has to change their Marketing now!

Insights kindly shared by Stradella Road and with their research Moviegoers 2010

Recently I was totally enamoured with a latest release from our friends across the Pacific puddle in the USA. It was for the movie Avatar. Right now I think it would be highly unlikely that there are many people in Australia that have not seen or heard about Avatar.

Well, what I really found interesting about this movie was how much of it I became aware of, read and learned online. Which pretty much made me want to go and see Avatar six months before it was released. On the day of release my we went at our local beautifully air conditioned IMAX and saw Avatar in all its 3D glory. Also, we very gladly escaped the summer heat.

The whole experience was outstanding. But what was really interesting was the buzz building online in blogs, Twitter and email after email from friends and colleagues talking about the movie months before it was even out. Now I know that Avatar is not a standard Hollywood film – it is of course in the tradition of a great action love story that the Yank’s do so well!

But it also showed a shift in movie marketing strategy and a far more integrated piece of marketing work than I had ever seen before – it was brilliantly crafted.

Well, I also recently was able to receive some research from Stradella Road in the USA which was a piece of research that demonstrates the importance of integrated marketing and the effective use of Social Networks to build great positive word of mouth.

Why, well because the USA movie industry have known for some time that the movie going audience has changed as technology has but they had unanswered questions.

Stradella Road, namely Gordon Paddison and Linda S. Middleton, had some research questions which they really did a deep dive into and broke the mould of what to research about North Americans movie watching ‘buyers journey’ or movie going audience viewing patterns.

Such as;

Where do moviegoers really spend their time?
What are the social dynamics of the decision-making process?
How do we synthesize the sea changes taking place with digital technologies in order to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time in the right place?

Simple sounding questions but questions which I think Stradella Road have come back with some very insightful and relevant answers for any business regardless of size, shape or age and to a point country.

To give you some old media background, I knew that the TV show MASH was popular in the 1980’s, but I did not know that in 1983, 106 million people tuned in and watched the last show, a staggering 60% of USA households. Audience sizes like this I would imagine are very rare indeed in the USA today and the same would pretty much apply here in Australia as well. We have so many other options and things we can do all because of the Internet.

What was very interesting was also the honesty that the team at Stradella Road and their partners with the research including the USA movie industry. They knew they had ‘lost touch’ with their customers.

Effectively, the movie business has not changed as fast as the new technologies and consumer behaviour – their customer. We hear this all the time… but really not as honest as this! The North American movie industry still pretty much run Mass Market marketing campaign model and “dabble in a bit of Internet marketing”. And they pretty much have the old movie marketing planning system nailed, why change? Particularly when the Studios have marketing plans and strategies that from one movie to the next changes very little! It still works right?

Well like a lot of change, it actually happens over time and the marketing of movies in this case becomes less and less relevant and effective.

So, the fact that they have not changed their planning process means that a lot of the marketing plans and advertising created is not taking into account what their customers want or where they can be found.

This is the oldest and most important rule in marketing, if you do not talk too, listen to and move with your customers, you will lose them bit by bit and a lot over time.

Hence they asked questions like this;

Where do moviegoers really spend their time?

What are the social dynamics of the decision-making process?

How do we synthesize the sea changes taking place with digital technologies in order to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time in the right place?

* So what did they find out about North Americans when they asked them? Let’s have a look.
* Digital media is mainstream (watch movies on an iPod, Media Player etc.)
* Mobile phone penetration in the USA has reached 90% with over 32% no longer having a home phone/landline
* 52% of moviegoers have Digital Video Records (DVR) 71% regularly skip the TV ads altogether!
* This is the killer stat – only 17% regularly watch Free to Air TV. But they still watch TV… less and less though!
* 90% of Moviegoers are online in the USA
* Importantly, virtually all interviewed are heavy Internet users

*All data and statistics from Stradella Research in the USA, Moviegoers 2010.

So we can start to see that from the shifts in technology and with the change in availability being pretty much on-demand I can watch when and where I please that the change is here now. I am sure this is pretty close to the Australian situation as well.

This also affects how other businesses need to look at their own marketing and customer interaction programmes in Australia today. Australians follow the American trends more closely than ever before; we even have now have bigger new house per square meter now than they do! There houses used to be bigger but no we sport suburbs of Mc Mansions!

We have Tivo, DVR’s and high rates of broadband and Internet users along with falling landline connections. All this means where businesses in the USA are choosing to engage (advertise, communicate, relate) with their customers in the future will be highly relevant as to where we are here today in Australia.

So, where do your customers spend their time?

Has your business asked this question, do you know?

In Marketing and Sales there is a pretty well known phrase the “Sales Funnel” effectively what you try to do is fill the funnel with lots of people that you ‘suspect’ are going to be ‘prospects’ for your product or service. The funny thing about this funnel is that it is either leaky or overflows – but basically the analogy is that not all prospects get to the bottom of the funnel – some effectively choose not to buy! But the ones who do are your customers at the end of the sales funnel.

So, importantly the guy’s and gal’s from Stradella Road asked this question “What are the social dynamics of the decision-making process?” in other words how do I, turn people who like to go to the movies, come to see my movie and then at the bottom of the ‘funnel’, buy a ticket.

Answer: you need to know in a mass market where the eyeballs are.

So where are the people?

Well here is where the shift from earlier starts to demonstrate the change. Old media like Newspapers and Billboards are declining in relevance the USA for Moviegoers.

Whilst the Internet is at (44%) and Word of Mouth at (46%) this is where most USA moviegoers hear about a movie for the 1st time. And of course over 83% of the moviegoers interviewed had seen the trailer at a theatre before going to the movie, but interestingly 45% viewed it online as well! I wonder how many own an Apple TV with the trailer watching feature.

And once you hear about something and you like it, you go and find out more. Today people find out more by going online and in a big way. They research the plot, the characters, the actors and the stars, scenes – “is it child friendly” for instance. All of this can be done in a few clicks and at high speed via dedicated review sites, fan sites, blogs, and newspapers… but newspapers more for the 50+ audience. The demographic for print has shifted.

So over 52% of moviegoers now learn about movies they are interested in online. In marketing terms these people have moved down the ‘funnel’ from prospects to active in-market potential buyers as they have researched the movie of interest. In other words the more information they find the greater the potential for these ‘active searchers’ to go on and see/buy the ticket to the movie.

So, we know they are searching online to find out more, linking in to online communities and even I guess tapping into what was once only local niche’s but are now ‘global mass niches’ of people with similar interests that they can share information about the movie of interest. So for marketers the game is shifting. We used to be able to send a mass communication (TV ads) and get pretty good attention, even if it was an interruption to your evening if front of TV.

So, does your business interrupt your prospective customers today about your businesses products and services?

Answer: You don’t have to today, you should but you may not be.  But little by little if you do not, and have not by 2020 will your business still viable?

Why, because of a well named term called “Group Think” online communities get together and create user-generated media– they write, film, edit, mash-up stuff from things online (music, art, films, Meme) which they then share. It is highly creative and very very fast.

The production of ‘stuff’ on the web now is huge and it is growing exponentially see here. This is important as it means sites which are positive/negative can appear overnight about your product/service or in this case a movie.

The terms of engagement with our approach to customers have radically changed – there is no longer the clean ‘send and receive’ model of old media communications. It is now about peer distribution, through cliques and tribes, who re-synthesise what they like.

Ok, in other words, they choose when they read it, what they read it on and what it will look like if they choose to re-seed it back to the web.

Effectively, traditional Mass Media is no longer a tradition. It is over.

Marketing has to adopt a more transparent approach which allows for the message to be changed – even if we do not it still will! So the more honest and the more open the better.

Lastly, how do we get to the right people at the right time?

Well, it is not simple, the old rules of segmentation and classifying customers still applies – but they expect you to know them and to communicate to them accordingly. It is expected you will be on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube etc.

At the end of the day regardless of your business, you have to take a new view of how you market and retain customers.

All businesses need to become like the old corner store, where we know you by name and know that you always buy full fat milk and a bottle of diet coke on the way home

Importantly, the future is all about the knower.

Knowing your customers will match you with the competition soon, what will differentiate you is what you do with the information compared to your competition.

So, can you reach the right audience with the right message at the right time in the right place?

I think from what I have seen with the campaign for Avatar, the movie business get it!

I have a copy of the research here for those of you that have made it this far (pleasee fell free to download). I think it is a great piece of work and of course you should check out the Stradella Road site here. Thank you to Gordon for letting Integrati Marketing publish the Moviegoers 2010 on the Integrati Marketing Blog.

I hope this has post has given you some insight and some thoughts about how you work with your customers today.

Until next time, happy Marketing from the Integrati team.

*All data and statistics from Stradella Research in the USA, Moviegoers 2010. Please note content is the property fo the respective copyright holders.

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