Industry Report: Marketing
Interview with Kate Lambert
- Have you seen a difference in the past few years in the way film online marketing is regarded by distributors and producers?
Absolutely! I don't know about producers, but some filmmakers are more online than others and online marketing is definitely appreciated by distributors. One, obviously, online users are increasing, so they know the value of being able to watch the movies online. Two, the budgets are being cut and still online PR and visibility online is cheaper than anywhere else. So yes, we definitely saw budgets increasing for online marketing in the past few years.
The earlier you get involved with a project, the better?
I think it's hard, but when filmmakers are making a film they should also think about how it's going to be marketed. Some filmmakers are more aware of that sort of business, others go into it afterwards. But getting online early just gives us more assets for later.
Basically, what has changed in the past few years?
Social networks are a key one. Exclusive content is valuable but there is a lot more competition nowadays. Recently, in the UK, it is said that online teams have dwindled again because of the recession; that is an economical change. It has become a lot tougher for us because distributors want more for their money. This is why we have to work harder with sites because there are not that many people there anymore. We have to write the feature ourselves. Plus sites are going down therefore we do not have access to them anymore. It has become quite tuff. Offline marketing companies often go online with an offline approach with them. How important is it to have a pure online approach?
I think it's really important because: one, offline agencies will only be looking at one aspect of an online campaign, which is composed of so much more thinks than the traditional PR. We have the video elements, the advertising, the social networks and our filming elements to make it a full campaign. Whereas the offline agencies will just deal with one of those elements until they learn how to do everything else. That's why I don't think they can compete. It depends how small the services budget is. If it is very small, the benefit of them going to an offline PR agency, which does a little bit of PR online makes sense.
Online marketing trends change very quickly. How do you keep in pace with it?
A lot of people in our agency are naturally interested in it, so they'll be coming across all sort of new developments online, all the new social network and sites that are coming up. They'll be aware of it just by their pure nature of being interested, plus we also work very closely with sites so we get informed of things before most people. There are a lot of industries things you can read about, upcoming, things that are happening. The timing is very important, and the difference between an offline and online campaign is that most of the time we work much closer to the release. People want things instantly, and everything goes very quickly online whereas offline can work a bit further out, it's a bit slower, more controlled. Those quick changes tend to make people a bit crazy.
How important is to not let yourself go for the newest online tool?
It depends on the kind of film you are releasing. If the film you are releasing has an audience of young men for example, they will be much more interested in latest technology than an older audience. But if you are dealing with a romantic comedy, there is no need to try out the new social network. It is about appreciating who you audience are and where they are online.
Do you think that the growing Internet audience will help online marketing to grow?
I think so, it has to. It has already happened over the last five to ten years, and the more people there are, the bigger the budget for online campaign is. I think it is just going to keep happening. With the decline of newspapers and magazines, there's no other way.
Which are the things that are going to be even more important in a short term future?
I think social networking will continue. Plus distributors have to be a lot more realistic about things like what sites want. Some sites now are not interested in clips because there is so much content online. So you have to become a lot savvier about what sites want because they can pick and choose. We may have the film but they have a lot of people who have films now, the market is quite saturated. Social networking is still very much there.