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Why the Spray and Pray Theatrical Marketing Strategy Needs to Evolve

Greg Buell on August 28th, 2018

For many years, and in many different industries, there have been attempts to understand how different groups react to a product — or, in the entertainment space, a story. Quite often, as it happens in many different industries, these techniques have not always proven to offer a real-world snapshot of the end audience. Marketers and industry experts are still scratching their heads about who gets interested in a certain movies and what tactics are actually effective at creating that interest. This has led to an evolution of research in many of these spaces.

Correlation, correlation, correlation

Current research strategy relies on multiple techniques that are intended to reveal user biases, intent and buying habits. Some of these, such as survey data and focus groups, are standardized, while others, like social media listening, are non-standardized. The tests are often performed by multiple vendors with different agendas and various methods for pulling the same data (i.e. Volume). They can also be much too reliant on one component of the total Marketing Campaign, such as social media, when determining how successful a film is at garnering interest. The bigger question is does that data paint a picture or deliver a signal that can correlate to an objective, such as box office success? If the answer is zero, or low correlation, then perhaps it’s time to review your data source. After all, you wouldn’t open your weather app to the forecast for Shanghai if you lived in New York.

Predictive Analytics to the rescue

That's exactly where predictive analytics comes in. Gone are the days of guessing and second guessing your marketing efforts. The "Spray and Pray" method was a method that served a purpose in its time. It allowed marketers to distribute creatives such as trailers across multiple channels and hope and pray that it would work. By pushing creative across enough channels and platforms, with enough ad budget, hopefully it would hit an audience. But the secret is: that doesn’t work. Nor should you have to keep trying!

Here are just a few of the ways that predictive analytics can up your marketing game and save you from the wasted time, energy and money of the "Spray and Pray" game.

Strategy efficiency

Predictive analytics can help you reach untapped audience. Understanding early what elements in the story attracts and detracts audiences in each quadrant is crucial to informing strategy, not to mention ad spend. This reduces the need for costly focus groups and chasing trended conversations on social media. How? Because predictive analytics takes a "proactive" approach, learning from massive data sets against years of historical data before releasing creative vs. surveys, social media listening and focus groups "reactive" approach, of looking at how consumers respond to a story in a closed vacuum after the fact.

Fine-Tune Campaigns

If you are doing marketing right, you are spending a fair amount of money and time on your campaigns. Predictive analytics can help make sure that you are funneling money into video content that is working and holding back on wasting cash creative that is falling flat. Analytics can help you determine if a campaign can be performing better and whether or not you are missing out on further opportunities. The data can offer you educated predictions on what to expect next. It can look at data from specific campaigns and provide insight into what is working and what is not to increase your chances of best optimizing your campaign and box office.

Dazzle Your Audience

One of the very best ways that predictive analytics will make you stand out above your competitors is in your targeting. It will do all the behind the scenes work for you to help you create a better picture of your audience and what they need from you. Predictive analytics is taking marketing to a whole new level. It can help reduce the amount of money you're spending on inefficient and ineffective campaigns and reduce the risks you are taking when it comes to your business. The predictions are educated and driven by data and they offer meaningful and relevant insights that will help your film breakout new levels of success. Give up the Spray and Pray method and start putting predictive analytics to work today.