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When does marketing for film start?
When does marketing for film start?
When does marketing for film start?

Marketing as a noun is the activity or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. Therefore film as a form of entertainment can be classified as a service and thereby calls for marketing.

Marketing for Film is the process of getting people interested in your film. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal target audience and their interests. Marketing pertains to all aspects of a business, including product development, distribution methods, sales, and advertising.

When does marketing for film start then? Since marketing isn’t just an invention but a process that takes several stages, marketing film therefore starts immediately after you conceive the idea. Like any other new product or service, when an idea is generated the marketing team starts the market research process to try and identify things like the potential target audience, their interests, the competitors, distribution channels, and any relevant data that will make the product/ service a success.

The market research stage will therefore provide data regarding the 7 P's of marketing. These are Product/ service, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process.

This is therefore referred to as strategic marketing analysis. The main reason and advantage of engaging the marketing agency or company team is to have a risk assessment process and potential return on investment (ROI).

Any filmmaker therefore with an intention of doing a film project as a business should understand the relevance and importance of the marketing team from the very start. One of the things very crucial about any product or service is packaging or the look and feel of your product. This is the process of creating a brand. Through the process of marketing research, the film will get an identity which is the brand. This is a powerful tool that will help you create a passionate brand family. You will develop a culture where people feel attached to the film brand and this will help you in trying to monetize the film beyond screenings and franchises as well.

The film marketing budget will therefore take a good portion of the entire film budget because of the essence of marketing to film. Filmmakers should have a clear marketing and distribution roadmap right from the start as long as the ultimate goal is to achieve a return on investment.

It is therefore very challenging for any producer to achieve financial returns on their film if they only start marketing after production. It is like starting a beef business without knowing the community is vegetarian.

Oftentimes filmmakers are not good at business/ marketing, It is therefore imperative for the writer to consult a distributor or marketing agency about their film idea, where and how it will make economic sense, and what idea can be of help in identifying the target audience. Sharing ideas with the marketing team at the initial stage makes the entire marketing plan/ road map more smooth and seemingly achievable.


All those film projects are commissioned through grants and similar funding where the primary goal is not a return on investment but rather educational and societal awareness. Such projects will require marketing just to inform the audience of the screening schedules and the themes of the film. These are most non-profit making film projects with special and particular audiences.

NOTE: Whether for profit or not, marketing is a very crucial part of filmmaking and the stages of engagement will depend on the audience, purpose, and sources of funding.

By Dialo Ssekidde - Film instructor/ Writer/ Director