The film industry is lucrative and extremely popular. With so much demand, movie makers have to work harder and faster to make more movies. And we know how much time, effort, and passion go into making a movie. But even if your movie is perfect, people can’t love it if they don’t know about it!
While there is a large audience for this type of media, much of it fails spectacularly because so many movies are constantly being produced and not all of them can receive the attention they deserve. That’s why film marketing is becoming increasingly vital.
So, what is film marketing? What are the essential things to know? And which strategies work the best?
Have no fear; we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about marketing a movie to the right audience and creating buzz about it in this article. We’ve also covered several film marketing examples to help you better understand what works and what doesn’t.
Are you ready to dive into the world of film marketing?
The film marketing job description includes creating as much hype about your movie as possible in the short time before it is officially released to bring in as large an audience as you can.
Because film depends entirely on people’s interest in what you’ve created, making as many people aware of and excited about it as possible is often the most critical step of the process. It doesn’t matter how amazing your creation is if no one knows about it.
And what makes everything even more complicated is that more movies are being made each year, with more than 15,800 original screenplays produced in the USA and Canada from 1995 to 2022, 5508 of which were dramas, and the number is only growing.
And competition is fierce.
You’ll be also competing with already established and well-known streaming brands like Netflix, Amazon, and Disney, which alone brought in 25.5% of box office revenue in 2021.
So, a powerful film marketing strategy is not really a luxury anymore; it’s a necessity.
Summary: What is Film Marketing?
Film marketing is the process of creating as much buzz about your film as possible, before its official release, to attract as large an audience as possible to watch your film.
The teaser, one of the most critical steps in your film marketing plan, is a powerful tool. It’s a short compilation of clips used to show off your movie.
However, it’s NOT a trailer!
The main difference between your trailer and your teaser is that your teaser doesn’t really give anything away. In fact, that’s kind of the point.
The teaser’s purpose is to get the word out about your movie without explaining anything. It’s meant to confuse, spark curiosity, entice the audience, and get them talking about your film.
For example, the teaser trailer for the 2023 movie Avatar: The Way of Water, posted on Rotten Tomatoes Trailers, shows off the beautiful imagery and world, creating both hype and nostalgia for fans of the original movie without actually so much as hinting as to what the film will be about.
Next comes the trailer.
Your film’s trailer is meant to build on the hype already created by your teaser and should be published much closer to the film’s release date.
And it should have a bit more meat to it, expounding on the hints of a plot contained in the teaser. Your trailer will now give the audience a good idea of what the movie is about without giving away any plot points or twists.
That way, both the teaser and trailer will work together to create an exciting and enticing framework in the audience’s mind, having the intended effect of getting more and more people to talk about, and want to see, your film.
For example, the hit 2010 movie Inception’s trailer is an excellent example of what a trailer should be posted by BoxOfficeSmashers.
Finally, you’ll need a press kit.
This is usually a document or webpage giving all the details about your film, so anyone who wants to write or talk about it has all the correct information and technical details. Useful right?
So, what does a good film marketing press kit include:
Well, a good rule of thumb is to include the following:
The objective of the press kit is to provide writers, journalists, or content creators with everything they need, in a way that is easy for them to access. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they will be to do it!
Summary: 3 Film Marketing Essentials
Involving fans in the film making or marketing process will be one of the first things you do to market your film, perhaps only behind teasers and posters.
It’s a great strategy because it utilizes word-of-mouth marketing and makes your die-hard fans feel like they are a part of everything.
Involving fans can take various forms, from holding competitions to being an extra in the movie to getting people to dress up like characters in the film and go to specific, movie-related locations.
For example, The Blair Witch Project, which did come out a while ago, had a really great marketing campaign. One of the central components being mock “Missing Person” posters, which had the intended effect of making audiences believe that the film was a factual account of events rather than a fictional one.
While most movies have stunning visuals, their websites, on the other hand… not so much.
An excellent landing page is a really good thing to have, and it should reflect the feelings you’re conveying in your film. You can put images and posters from your marketing campaign on your site and embed your trailer somewhere.
Moreover, this website can contain a page, or pages, with your press kit to make the entire site and marketing campaign more cohesive, with readily available information and resources.
Don’t forget to make sure the website is optimized for mobile, and has a strong SEO strategy (which you can link to your content marketing or social media marketing too).
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is a search engine specifically for film and TV content. It is the ‘go to’ option for information about films, reviews, information about cast and crews, and all sorts of entertaining content related to your film.
And it has the added benefit of your targeted audience already using it, and viewing it as an authoritative source. A listing on IMDB makes you both more accessible, and more trustworthy in the eyes of your potential viewers.
People who are already interested in your genre are looking for new movies to watch; all you have to do is catch their attention, and voila! You’ve gotten yourself another future fan.
An important note about filling in applications to be listed on IMDB: You’ll need to be as accurate and detailed as possible because IMDB shows movies in order of relevance and popularity, and you have a much higher chance of ranking if you have detailed information listed.
Creating a publicity stunt might seem a little extreme, but it’s undeniably effective; if you do it right.
Nothing brings as much attention to a movie as infiltrating the real-world and mainstream media to boot.
Just keep in mind that whatever stunt you plan needs to be heavily related to your film.
And that’s exactly what Independence Day, a movie about an alien invasion, did in 1996. In this classic example of a publicity stunt done right, fake news broadcasts were aired on live TV, on the weekend of July 4th, and soon interrupted by an alien invasion.
This was so effective, in fact, that it struck fear into the hearts of many an American that weekend.
All the footage has been compiled into a single video below, posted by The Video Editing Guy.
You’ve made a movie, right? So, what better way to show it off than with visual content?
Video marketing has so much power, especially because the film is, by nature, already visually based. Plus, this makes your job even easier because you don’t need to convert to a different media form.
These videos will, of course, also take the form of teasers and trailers. However, it doesn’t stop there. You can show off behind-the-scenes cuts, exclusive interviews with cast and crew, and pretty much anything that people might be interested in watching.
Take the below video, for example, posted by JoBlo Superheroes, showing some of the behind-the-scenes footage of the Avengers: Infinity War movie.
Pre-roll ads play before a video, usually on VOD (Video on Demand) platforms like YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. These ads usually have the standard 5-second “no-skip” timeframe built into each platform respectively.
That’s 5 seconds you have to grab their attention and keep them watching. When it comes to film, 5 seconds is a lot of time. So, use it to your advantage, because it’s really very effective.
For example, Netflix does this often, focusing much of its budget on pushing a movie trailer to as many people as possible before its release.
Press junkets are one of the film industry’s most powerful and effective tools when it comes to marketing.
But what actually is a press junket?
A press junket is basically an event taking place over a single day or weekend, where various publications are invited to send reporters to interview the cast and director about the film.
However, as time has passed, the rise of influencers is only growing. Therefore, you should definitely consider inviting relevant influencers and bloggers to your press junket, as they will help provide your film with social proof and spread the word about your movie.
We talked earlier about involving your film’s audience in the film making process, but what if you took it one step further…?
And brought the film’s world to life in the real world.
Well, that’s exactly what The Dark Knight did in 2007, more than a year before the film’s scheduled release.
At Comic-Con San Diego, some of the comics and film fans were handed a dollar bill that was defaced with dark circles around George Washington’s eyes, bright red lips completing the transformation. Finally, the phrase “WHY SO SERIOUS?” was written out on the bottom of the bill.
This began the alternate reality game for the film, also titled “WHY SO SERIOUS?” which created one of the biggest hypes ever recorded in movie history.
Social quizzes are an excellent way to create buzz about your movie, especially if it is an adaptation of already beloved source material or a part of a movie franchise.
Just take the Harry Potter movie franchise, for example. How many people do you know that have, at one point or another, taken a Harry Potter quiz to see which “House” they’re in or which movie character they’d be?
You can think of at least one or two people. That’s because, as simple as it may seem, quizzes are nevertheless very effective marketing tools.
Want to build hype for your movie and make back some of your budget at the same time?
Well, a prop auction will do just that.
You can auction off some of the most iconic and interesting props you’ve used in your movie to make back some of the money you’ve spent on it. Alternatively, you can donate that money to a charity of your choice.
Either way, it’ll bring a lot of publicity to your film.
Just take Jurassic Park, the 1993 blockbuster movie directed by Steven Spielberg, for example. They auctioned off the life-sized animal transport crate for over $100,000, which appears in the opening scene of this iconic movie.
Adding an interactive Facebook Page to your film marketing plan is more helpful than you know.
Your film’s Facebook Page is a place to host contests, run interactive games, foster movie-related conversations, and have a visually appealing release-date count down going.
Basically, you’ll want to keep as many people on the page for as long as possible. The longer they’re there, the more they think about your movie and the more people they’re likely to talk about it too.
Just look at The Hunger Games Facebook Page to see the kinds of things that work really well.
Whether you’re a well-funded Hollywood production or an independent film, you’ll almost certainly have some relationship with various companies through partnerships or unofficial endorsements.
If the latter, contact the marketing directors of these companies and ask if they would be willing to help spread the word about the film on social media. The worst they can say is no, but because it’s in their best interests, they’ll probably say yes.
Moreover, use their web audiences if you have well-known actors or strong business connections as a part of your film.
For example, Coca-Cola has 2 million Twitter followers and 74.5 million Facebook likes, which is 30 times larger than the combined social media followings of the 007 and James Bond profiles. When the three profiles collaborated on the release of Skyfall, they made the most of Coke’s social media following, allowing them to generate a large amount of engagement quickly.
If you want to attract and interact with people who will actually be interested in the movie you’ve made, hitting specific niches is one of the best ways to do so.
And social media has made it easier than ever before to do so.
Marketing on platforms like Reddit is a great way to reach passionate, niche, audiences that are highly engaged. Reddit threads are already divided into niche ‘subreddits’ so now it’s only a matter of finding where you fit in, and interacting with those groups.
Social media sites like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have hashtags that you can use to find your audience, and help them find you. Trending tags in your niche also a good way to see what kind of content is currently popular, which can guide your own marketing efforts.
Social media marketing works best when it is precisely targeted for more engaged audiences. Niche forums and threads are where people are engaging the most with content that is relevant to you, and them.
User-generated content (UGC) is a fast and cheap way to market your movie and make fans feel like they are a part of the process.
You could use memes, a fantastic way to tap into your audience’s imagination and create highly shareable content that quietly promotes your film. Memes have the benefits of being easy to create, widely shared, and adaptable to individual needs. For example, when you type “Breaking Bad memes” into Google, you get nearly 18 million results, which shows how popular they are.
Another related strategy is to use creativity and share the power of your audience’s user-generated content through caption competitions, ironic content, or fan art, like the hit movie Booksmart did.
Google is used by millions of people every day to look for suggestions for movies and TV shows. Therefore, Google Ads, formally Google Adwords, is one of the fastest ways to reach this group of potential viewers. It’s not the most original or cheap way to promote your movie, but it’s something you can do.
For example, if people search for “Oxford cinema flicks” on Google, you might want to run an ad for your movie at that specific theatre. You could also run advertisements for “good action movies,” “recommendations for good action movies,” or whichever genre your film falls into.
15 Successful Film Marketing Strategies
There you have it – everything there is to know about film marketing!
We know how much passion and hard work goes into making a movie, and we also understand that once all that hard work is over, you want your film actually to be seen.
And that’s entirely within reach.
So, follow the guidelines in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to making your movie the next hit.
What are you waiting for?
Get to marketing!
Film marketing refers to the process of generating as much excitement as possible about your movie in the brief period of time leading up to its official release in the hopes of luring in as large of an audience as possible. Read the full guide to learn more about film marketing, see marketing examples, and learn about the best film marketing strategies to use for your film.
Film marketing strategies are the practices of building as much anticipation for your movie as you can using tools like teasers, trailers, celebrity cameos, and user-generated content in the few weeks and months before its scheduled release in order to draw in as many viewers as you can. Read the full guide to learn more about some of best film marketing strategies to use for your film.
A film marketing agency is a company that you’ll hire to handle each aspect of your film marketing plan from beginning to end. That way, you won’t have to worry about taking on all the responsibility of learning a new form of marketing to promote your movie, with the piece of mind that comes alongside working with professionals that have a proven track record. Read the full guide to learn more about film marketing and film marketing examples, to get an idea of what a film marketing agency could do for you.
Statista: Estimated revenue of the motion picture and video production and distribution industry in the United States in 2020 by source
Statista: Market share of leading film studios in the United States and Canada from 2010 to 2021
Investopedia: Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Meaning and Uses in Business
Statista: Number of movies released in the United States and Canada from 1995 to 2022, by the source material