Why you should think about your B2B marketing like a Hollywood Blockbuster Promo Campaign

By Paul Harker, Outsmart Agency

Take any mainstream Hollywood Blockbuster. The script comes in. It has promise and goes into Development Hell. It’s rewritten 18 times by 6 different writers. Then finally, it’s ready.

They get a headline star or two on board. The latest bit of beefcake, the newest hot-to-trot piece of fluff. A big director is hired to deliver the vision. The studio gets excited. The project gets the green light.

The shooting budget goes into the tens of millions. Post production goes into the hundreds of millions. CGI ain’t cheap. So, does the marketing budget add a zero?

Not quite. Today, most Blockbusters spend about half the production cost on their marketing campaign.If you’re impressed by numbers, the motion picture industry invested $3.15 billion on blockbuster marketing campaigns in 2014 (Nielsen).

The stakes are high. The movie HAS to succeed. Over to the marketing department. Depending on the size of the turkey, they’ve got a big job to do. Now they need YOU to see the damn thing at your local multiplex. The key opening weekend sales are directly linked to how much buzz has been generated by marketing. It’s not uncommon for Blockbusterss to make 40 percent of their gross in the first week of release.

So, why should you be thinking about your B2B marketing in similar terms as The Hobbit, Fifty Shades of Grey and Shaun the Sheep (The Movie)?

Most B2B operations aren’t as exciting or as glamourous as a Hollywood film, but we at Outsmart believe that thinking about marketing your product or service in the same way can deliver outstanding results. Plus, as experts in making seemingly mundane brands stand out, we believe every B2B business deserves their very own 15 minutes of fame!

So, in order to see a movie, three aspects of it are carefully defined allowing you to make an easy decision.

The first question is: what is the movie about? What’s the genre? Horror? Rom-com? Sci-Fi? Give me an idea of the type of film I’m going to see (as most people only like a certain set of movie types).

In B2B, this is the proposition. What service do you deliver? What product do you make? A recent release is Jupiter Ascending, starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and the latest hot potato Eddie Redmayne. It’s directed by the Wachowskis who did The Matrix. Tick, tick, tick. This is defined as THE PRODUCT.

In many ways, the stars are your ‘content marketing’ element. A B2B inbound strategy is only as good as the quality of the content. With a line-up of well-known names, it’s gotta be good…right?

Okay. We’ve all seen plenty of Sci-Fi’s. What’s Jupiter Ascending’s hook? The twist? The angle?

It’s big attraction is that it’s MORE SPECTACULAR than anything you’ve EVER SEEN BEFORE. This is THE USP. According to the reviews, it’s a fun popcorn flick, if not a classic. But that’s okay. Not every sci-fi can be 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In B2B terms, whatever you’re selling needs a USP, an angle! It can be price, added features, attached incentives, service levels or sheer quality of the product/service.

So…let’s think how you get to hear about the film. Did you see a print ad in a newspaper? A billboard poster? Or an ad online? Did you get an email from your local cinema, featuring the latest releases? Did you watch a trailer on TV – or online – or better still at the cinema? Maybe you watch Film 2015 with Claudia Winkleman? Have you read a review? By a pro? Or better still, by a punter? Mark Kermode has given the film 3 stars out of 5 and calls it ‘Absolute nonsense!’


According to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), here’s how its member studios decided to allocate their marketing budget back in 2007: Newspapers: 10 percent. Network TV: 21 percent. Spot TV Ads: 14 percent. Internet: 5 percent. Cinema trailers: 4 percent. Other media (includes cable TV, radio, magazines, billboards): 24 percent. Other non-media (market research, promotion/publicity, creative services): 22 percent.

Chances are in 2015, the mix will focus more online, especially given that movies like The Blair Witch Project (grossing $250 million (Adweek) and Paranormal Activity (grossing $194 million (Adweek) were pioneers of online and viral marketing. For everyone chasing the magic formula, both were very cheap to make and innovative and original because of that fact, both were horror flicks and both basically very good movies.

Regarding Jupiter Ascending. in the last week, personally, I’ve: seen the billboard poster 6 times, been sent an email from my local cinema and watched Film 2015 with Claudia Winkleman. Not bad. I’ve had eight exposures in three different media chanels.

There’s a critical mass to the campaign – it appears on lots of different media channels in order get enough exposure to it’s audience.

So the question is, if your business has a product that’s new on the market, if you want to market it as a film, ask yourself the following: What is your PROPOSITION, PRODUCT, USP and MEDIA MIX – if customers need 3 or 4 campaign touch points for it to register and consider buying a cinema ticket, how do you get your product into peoples’ minds?

At Outsmart, our opinion is that the campaign media mix is one of the easiest things to get wrong in B2B marketing. You send an email out. No response. Put an ad in a trade magazine. The phone is silent. Put a news item on your website. No-one reads it. The conclusion is marketing is rubbish!

But think Hollywood film. A B2B campaign needs to link in the same way and the media needs to work together. If your product is newsworthy, do some PR. Can you write a blog piece to promote and build a buzz? Is it featured clearly on your website? Have you done a sustained email campaign? Have you sent out a brochure, a leaflet? Is there an interesting infographic you can work up and use on social media?

Have you got it in front of prospective customers enough? Can you ask for a review from a customer – testimonials are as good as it gets – word of mouth being the best marketing channel there is.

Most B2B operations often fall down by not banging the drum often enough, consistently enough, hard enough, in an interesting way. There’s no critical mass. The campaign isn’t joined up.

It’s enough to turn a potential hit into a flop. And unlike the movie business, there’s no chance of it going to DVD and becoming a cult classic.

Popcorn, anyone?

Outsmart Agency is owned and run by Managing Director Andy Taylor and Creative Director Paul Harker. Outsmart are B2B marketing specialists, based in Leeds. Outsmart work with clients to deliver ‘more’ – more traffic, more customers, more leads, more business and more return on your marketing investment.


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