Moviegoers still exist. Movie marketing methods need revamping. Most big studios have a tendency to use the same marketing methods they have used since the advent of sound; and they generally market to audiences of the same gender, ethnicity and age range. Nothing new. No risks taken. No new audiences reached. Minimal to no profits made. People stay away, watch other screens—television, computers, or mobiles—and enjoy more creative stories in new formats from webisodes to YouTube.
A world of potential moviegoers is out there waiting to be reached. How? Engage them. Ask them what they want to see. Listen. Be creative in producing culturally diverse, untold stories. Finally, using the outlets they turn to for entertainment, insight, and information—invite them to go see the movie.
A few individual writers, producers, and studios are using new methods. They are the ones succeeding in a down market. Tyler Perry is one. He makes movies for women—primarily African American women. Not a new audience, but one relatively untapped by the large studios. He engages his audiences long before he has a movie ready. He has “stay in touch” conversations with them through his blog. The moviegoers, Tyler Perry, and especially Lionsgate reap the benefits.
Paranormal Activity is the low budget movie currently setting records as a winner among moviegoers. New marketing started by running the movie trailer on YouTube, the video site embraced by the target audience. Then potential moviegoers were asked to demand that the movie be shown in theaters and to spread the word about it. The risk-taking marketing methods are delivering big PR results and huge profits.
Disney is doing a different movie with the upcoming release of The Princess and the Frog. Disney needs to do different marketing. They need to do the unthinkable by also marketing to slightly older moviegoers: grandparents. Grandparents have grandkids, money, friends and blogs. Start early conversations with grandmothers and ask them to consider taking their grandkids to the movie. While audiences are watching the movie, Disney will be watching the profits roll in from the new segment outreach.
People are busy or broke. They no longer trust traditional movie critics. They prefer recommendations from friends, family and followers on Twitter. But a good movie that speaks to them still gets them into a theater seat. Focus on more creative and cross-cultural marketing also helps.