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How to Market a Film Festival: From A to VOD

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5 low-budget marketing resources for film festivals

Damian Bartolomucci
Damian Bartolomucci
 • 
May 18, 2022
 • 
3 minute read
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Feeling the squeeze of a tight budget and limited resources? Luckily, there are easy solutions to market your festival that won’t break the bank.

Here are five suggestions to get you started.

Enable word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM)

Community-generated content is increasingly perceived as more genuine and trustworthy among social media users. Recommendations from a friend or favourite influencer have significant sway and are more effective at persuading audiences than traditional marketing tactics alone. Word-of-mouth marketing can help you reach new audiences - and it’s budget-friendly.

Enable others to promote your festival by:

  • Giving your filmmakers branded content to share with followers
  • Engaging your followers with digital challenges, contests, polls etc.
  • Sharing festival related content posted by audience members, filmmakers, reviewers, news channels etc.

The more unique, fun, and exciting content you give audiences to engage with, the more they're inclined to share it with others.

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools

We live in a data-rich age with a treasure trove of information available at your fingertips to craft the most effective marketing campaign for your audience. All it takes is the right tools to manage that data.

And the best tool is a CRM, which allows you to segment your audience, track and organise your information, and helps you read in between the lines to tell the bigger story of your festival.

There are many excellent and cost-effective CRM tools on the market, such as Hubspot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Adobe Marketo, and Zendesk.
All of these CRM tools offer tiered products in line with almost every budget.

Engage digital niche communities

Simply posting into the social media void and hoping your message reaches an interested audience doesn’t cut it. Establish your presence in existing niche communities and get in touch with those who self-identify as film enthusiasts. These are the audiences most eager to attend your festival and share your content on social media.

In addition to longer-standing communities on platforms such as Reddit and Facebook, new sites are popping up all the time. Letterboxd, a community for cinephiles, is one such example, as are the communities in Discord Servers.

Many platforms allow you to run targeted ads within specific communities, letting you reach hardcore film buffs and concentrate your ad-spend efforts. Don’t see an existing community that suits your needs? Create one!

Podcasts

Consumption of podcasts is on the rise. Appearing as a guest on podcasts that align with your mission, curation, audience, affiliations, etc. puts you in contact with new, highly engaged audiences with a predisposition for your programming. Many podcasts are eager for guests to fill their content pipelines and are happy to get a bump from your brand’s following as well.

Or create your own! After the initial investment in equipment, it costs only your time and has the potential to build a new following for your brand. With low overhead and flexibility, podcasting can be a great option to get the word out and establish your festival as a household name.

Video on demand (VOD)

Demand for online content will only grow, which means eventually, your festival will need a VOD platform to stay competitive in the business.

This is great news for your marketing team! The data insights, sponsorship opportunities, ad placements, and visibility inherent to VOD makes the platform a marketing tool unto itself. VOD enables you to own your own data, track trending content, understand your customer behaviours, interests and attention spans, create sales opportunities, and support the communications across the full customer journey by attaching their digital data  journey to their in-person experience.

Ready for a simple future?

Let’s get started!

5 low-budget marketing resources for film festivals

Feeling the squeeze of a tight budget and limited resources? Luckily, there are easy solutions to market your festival that won’t break the bank.

Feeling the squeeze of a tight budget and limited resources? Luckily, there are easy solutions to market your festival that won’t break the bank.

Here are five suggestions to get you started.

Enable word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM)

Community-generated content is increasingly perceived as more genuine and trustworthy among social media users. Recommendations from a friend or favourite influencer have significant sway and are more effective at persuading audiences than traditional marketing tactics alone. Word-of-mouth marketing can help you reach new audiences - and it’s budget-friendly.

Enable others to promote your festival by:

  • Giving your filmmakers branded content to share with followers
  • Engaging your followers with digital challenges, contests, polls etc.
  • Sharing festival related content posted by audience members, filmmakers, reviewers, news channels etc.

The more unique, fun, and exciting content you give audiences to engage with, the more they're inclined to share it with others.

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools

We live in a data-rich age with a treasure trove of information available at your fingertips to craft the most effective marketing campaign for your audience. All it takes is the right tools to manage that data.

And the best tool is a CRM, which allows you to segment your audience, track and organise your information, and helps you read in between the lines to tell the bigger story of your festival.

There are many excellent and cost-effective CRM tools on the market, such as Hubspot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Adobe Marketo, and Zendesk.
All of these CRM tools offer tiered products in line with almost every budget.

Engage digital niche communities

Simply posting into the social media void and hoping your message reaches an interested audience doesn’t cut it. Establish your presence in existing niche communities and get in touch with those who self-identify as film enthusiasts. These are the audiences most eager to attend your festival and share your content on social media.

In addition to longer-standing communities on platforms such as Reddit and Facebook, new sites are popping up all the time. Letterboxd, a community for cinephiles, is one such example, as are the communities in Discord Servers.

Many platforms allow you to run targeted ads within specific communities, letting you reach hardcore film buffs and concentrate your ad-spend efforts. Don’t see an existing community that suits your needs? Create one!

Podcasts

Consumption of podcasts is on the rise. Appearing as a guest on podcasts that align with your mission, curation, audience, affiliations, etc. puts you in contact with new, highly engaged audiences with a predisposition for your programming. Many podcasts are eager for guests to fill their content pipelines and are happy to get a bump from your brand’s following as well.

Or create your own! After the initial investment in equipment, it costs only your time and has the potential to build a new following for your brand. With low overhead and flexibility, podcasting can be a great option to get the word out and establish your festival as a household name.

Video on demand (VOD)

Demand for online content will only grow, which means eventually, your festival will need a VOD platform to stay competitive in the business.

This is great news for your marketing team! The data insights, sponsorship opportunities, ad placements, and visibility inherent to VOD makes the platform a marketing tool unto itself. VOD enables you to own your own data, track trending content, understand your customer behaviours, interests and attention spans, create sales opportunities, and support the communications across the full customer journey by attaching their digital data  journey to their in-person experience.

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Enter your details:

DOWNLOAD OUR EBOOK

How to Market a Film Festival: From A to VOD

See how leading regional film festivals like Toronto International (TIFF), South by Southwest (SXSW), Melbourne International (MIFF) and more expanded their reach to a previously unreachable audience.