Entertainment Marketing Wars 2020: The Fight For Fans

With an evolving and increasingly crowded entertainment landscape, where new players emerge with libraries of beloved legacy IP and existing players house an impressive inventory, a battle for audiences is underway. 

How can leading entertainment players bolster their marketing plans to establish long-term fan passion?

Though binge-watching behaviors have shifted viewing habits from a weekly “must-see” event to temporal cultural conversations existing within a single season, the ultimate goal of inspiring long-term fandom remains. Transforming viewers into evangelists isn't just the goal for greenlighting season renewals; it’s also a cornerstone of any entertainment-marketing plan.

But how do you catch the attention of potential fans already bombarded with constant advertising and visual content?

  • Subvert Expectations: In a time when Beyonce is launching entire albums silently overnight, the unexpected has become the standard starting point. Lean into the ideas that seem scary because of lack of precedent and discover how to be unapologetic about your story. Those campaigns are the ones that rise to the top and connect with people on a personal level.

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    World-Building is King: Rethink marketing not only as a way to promote an IP, but as an opportunity to extend the fan’s journey and experience with the brand. To spark long-term fan dedication, enabling immersion into the world of the story is essential.  Extreme detail, accuracy and often irreverent humor are key. Successful world-building fosters deeper engagement, while providing opportunities for fans to find and strengthen their emotional connection to the IP.

  • Find Your Tribe: Determine what platforms your target audience is engaging with content and understand how. Your messaging, creative and engagement goals should be calibrated not just to the demographic you’re seeking, but also their native behavior on each platform. A good campaign reaches an audience, a great one invites people into the conversation and enables them to take your brand directly into their social ecosystems. 

  • It's a Campaign. Be Prepared to Pivot: In traditional entertainment marketing, painstaking effort is put into crafting the perfect trailer and media plan, testing high-budget launches and tweaking them after receiving audience insights. But with the rapid feedback cycle that social media provides, this evaluation process is slow and suboptimal, and results in one-way broadcasting. Instead, studios and entertainment brands should approach their campaigns as two-way conversations, launching with a myriad of tactics, leveraging A/B testing. Listening to your audience on a real-time basis allows a brand to pivot the approach to maximize results.

With all the new streaming platforms on the brink of launch, reframing success for an entertainment marketing campaign is key to stay competitive with multiscreen audiences. Being bold is no longer a risk worth taking, it’s the new requirement in order to break through the noise and stay relevant.

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