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The PLACE of Movies:
A Marketing Attitude for Digital Cinema (Part 3 of 4)

A marketing attitude tickles the creative genius in many a digital entertainment entrepreneur! Where and how do your prospects find (and use) your movie products? That's marketing "place."

It's about making one's products and services available to prospective buyers when, where and how they want them. Direct marketing to your end customer and filling the distribution channel in between. Marketing strategies mix and match indirect channels such as wholesale and exhibitor channels. Single or multiple channels. Long supply chains or short. Domestic and/or global. Urban, suburban, rural.

With the ever-inventive entrepreneurial energy in the entertainment whorl, people find venues for entertainment sales not only through traditional theaters and broadcast, but on street corners, in homes, over the Internet, over phones, through clubs, by ship, plane and with leaps over tall buildings!

Options for delivery of intellectual property are exploding: movies, games, music, news, and educational content. Distribution takes place through theaters, rental stores, sell-through stores, catalogs, non-theatrical groups, the Internet, even cell phones and the latest new media gadget.

Just a few of the technologies that have provided platforms for creative sales of digital media include broadband, cellular phones, hard disk miniaturization, WYSIWIG interfaces, database tools, simulators, and the growing options in integrated home theater systems.

Technologies that were invented for delivery mechanisms become the entertainment themselves. There hasn't been such a cross fertilization of place and function since the Italian Renaissance shook the communications world with the mixture of art, music, literature and political ideas in the 1400s.

Is today's digital renaissance any different? We have digital entertainment, education and news tapping the political and military fronts. Digital delivery of information affects business, education, government and family communities.

The half-life of platforms, strategies and formats are shorter than ever. Affiliate programs on the Internet saw their peak. Now we have RSS feeds, blogs, vblogs, audio blogs and mobile computing. Many families no longer lease a land-based phone line--relying strictly on their cellular phones, instant messaging and e-mail for personal communications.

Through all these mobility and technological changes, the human factor remains constant. People like people. They like meeting places and a reason to get together. The campfire might be digital, but it hasn't lost its glow. That's where marketing shines.

What does the technical digi-master need to know about the marketing realities of place? Think Zip drive. Floppies. Analog. Radio. Local television. Books. Stone tablets. The frustration felt by today's consumers about upgrading, lost data, boat anchors and mice is real. A marketing 'tude about technology is really about availability of personal and business photos and recordings and letters and records -- not to mention collections of music, games and movies.

Place is about availability -- not just sales availability, but usability. Ability is the heart of a marketing attitude. Backward compatibility, cross-platform compatibility, global standards. Successful technologists think about people as they contort bits and bites into new opportunities.

To put a human face on this process of change, remember how parents struggle to rear their children who, in their teen years, hit their stride. Technology links these cutting edge communicators with family, friends, advisors, teachers and coworkers in the home, the car, the office, and the back pocket. It's about place. Availability. Community. Sharing the joy, the opportunity and the content of the message.

Design for sharing and for varying levels of technological compatibility, adaptability and speed of adoption are powerfully tantalizing and profitable elements of a successful marketing mix.

Options for "place" today are different than twenty years ago. In 1985 Ronald Reagan took office as President. The first laser printers were added to the desktop publishing revolution. The Apple Macintosh and the IBM PC AT home computers had just been released. Microsoft releases its first version of Windows. The first CD-Rom drive for personal computers was released sporting a whopping "1X" speed. Is it any wonder people are reeling from the speed of technological change?

Today, the "place" of entertainment distribution is mind boggling. Producers and distributors must pick and choose their distribution avenues, but also manage their presence in all of the key market distribution channels. When technologists work closely with marketing strategists, they can keep pace with groundswell market shifts created by competitors, collaborators and global shifts in economic, political and social changes.

"Place" is the grassroots of a marketing attitude. There's still no place like home turf.

MARKETING TO DO

Create your in-house list of family, friends, supporters, and industry members, vendors and media

Research the distribution chain in the general movie industry and hint, hint, at least THREE niche markets related to the subject matter of your products

Refine your market niche and develop a library of movies with a cohesive core so that you can develop fans -- people who look for the next movie you produce because it touches their interests: genre, subject, ensemble cast, etc.

Get to know your distributors. They are people. They love movies just like you. They see a lot, hear a lot, and think a lot about how to bring quality to their market niches.

For a basic look at product marketing strategies, take a look at the Cliff Allen's marketing content website: Allen.com Marketing Articles

For a technology timeline, visit the past at: digitpress.com

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