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The 7 Ps of Film Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Your Movie.
The 7 Ps of Film Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Your Movie.
The 7 Ps of Film Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Your Movie.

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.

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.

Product: in film, the product will be the film however the nature of the film will be the determinant. The film is defined through its themes. So any filmmaker should be able to identify the theme in the story they’re telling. Is it about love, family drama, horror, adventure, sci-fi, historical, biopic, high school classic, musical, or sport? This different theme will be fundamental in helping the marketing team identify the target audience and how to package/brand the film.

Price: after identifying the target audience, it is important to analyze the pricing theory that will be most viable in achieving the financial goal of the film. The distribution plan will also be considered for example how much will theater ticket cost, how much will the DVD cost, and how much should be expected from the SVOD, VOD, and probably the pay TV.

Promotion: this is the process of creating awareness of the product within the target audience. This is a lengthy and demanding process that will require the use of ABOVE THE LINE, THROUGH THE LINE, and BELOW THE LINE marketing strategies.

People: this is the most important utility in the distribution chain. People are the target audience, the reason why possible you’re making the film. It is therefore crucial to identify the right audience and understand their interests as a move to create a film family that will guarantee a market for your film.

Packaging: we have already discussed branding your film. Packaging is the look and feel of any product. The film will also require a good package. This will be achieved through identifying the themes and giving the film a look that says everything about the themes within. When we package, you will create a brand identity that your film family will religiously want to associate with. This in turn will enable the creation of a film franchise. Symbolism is also very key in this element.

Process: this now answers the question of how everything is going to be achieved. Yes, you have developed an amazing marketing and distribution plan but how will it be achieved? This will include strategizing and drawing time frames as well as achieving target dates.

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 the 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.

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