Hollywood Does It Better


When it comes to marketing, Hollywood is king.  Consider the movie The Devil Inside.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I.  National Public Radio recently reported on a story by Planet Money that showed that The Devil Inside was the most profitable movie in the last five years by one important metric.

Elliott Kalan of The Flop House podcast says that The Devil Inside is “super terrible and boring and hateful.”  The Flop House reviews the worst Hollywood films and The Devil Inside qualifies according to Kalan.

The story inside the story is that this movie only cost $1 million to make, which is super-cheap by today’s Hollywood standards.  It grossed $53 million in the United States and another $48 million worldwide.  That makes it the best return on investment movie in the last five years.

How does Hollywood do it?  NPR’s Steve Henn explains, “Big movie studios are marketing and distribution machines. Paramount studios’ marketing department, its publicity department and its media buying department all got behind this film.”

Jason Blum, a producer of low budget horror films points out that every big studio has a big marketing department, publicity department, and media buying department.  “Every one of those departments has a hundred or a couple hundred people.”

You may be it for your online business.  So, what can you learn from Hollywood?  First, Paramount ran trailers in thousands of movie houses for months before the movie’s release.

No one said that you can’t continue to promote a product that you believe in.  I receive emails a few times a week from Luke Lim promoting the same product every time.  I have not removed myself from his email list because his emails are interesting.  If you have good content, you can continue to email your list about the same product over and over again.  As people grow in knowing, liking and trusting you, you will make sales.  Just as Luke Lim.

Second, Paramount spent $4.9 million promoting the film.  That’s nearly five times what it cost to make!  A good product (and The Devil Inside according to the reviews was not a good movie) deserves and will reward strong promotion.  The goal of online marketing is to get back two, three, or more dollars for every dollar spent in advertising.  For an investment of less than $6 million dollars, The Devil Inside grossed $101 million.

Third, Paramount opened the film on more than 2,500 screens across America.  This is the digital marketing equivalent of emailing a huge email list.  If you don’t have that large a list, use solo ads and get your emails in front of thousands of potential buyers.  As long as you can spend one dollar to make two dollars or more, you’re winning and your strategy is working.

By the way, in the first week of release The Devil Inside was the largest grossing film in the United States.  By week two, word had gotten out that this is an awful movie and ticket sales took a huge nosedive.

Fourth, the moral of this story is that you better have a good or great product to sell, because you can’t maintain sales of a bad product long, and your email list will learn to distrust you if even once you sell them something bad.  Offer your list only good to great products and you’ll enjoy and long and profitable relationship with them.


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