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July 24, 2006
Mark Cuban and idea shopping
Maybe it's because we're in the middle of summer movie season, but our mini-flurry of movie-industry posts continues: If you have a new and unique way to help market the movies Mark Cuban is involved with, he wants to know.
If he likes the idea, he'll "come up with a job for you to make that idea happen."
He lists everything they've tried: affiliate programs, social networks, buzz marketing, teaser videos, movie forums, ads, etc. Already, some of the responses to his post are "make better movies." That's probably not an idea, Einstein. Everything he lists, though, seems to fall into a specific time bucket: after the movie is done.
What seems to be missing from his gameplan is marketing well before the movie is complete, like:
1. A greater level of public transparency into the movie-making process while films are being made (like Peter Jackson did with LOTR and "King Kong" and Zach Braff did with his "Garden State" blog. A good deal of movie-making is opaque until after the fact, but those films built core audiences during their production.
2. A greater involvement of "lead users," the people that Eric Von Hippel says empirically drive their own innovation of products. "Snakes on a Plane" did it accidentally, but a group of fanatic, lead-user stakeholders who participate in structured review processes during production can provide tremendous value. (We're doing it with the writing of our book, and I think it has already made the work 2x better.)
The making and marketing of movies seems to be one of those subjects that inspires impassioned right-way and wrong-way discussions, but I think the answer is: There's no right way. So if Cuban wants to build the audience for a film, he might consider working with directors who will open the doors of collaboration a bit wider to let the light of collective knowledge and ideas squeeze in.
Here's to him unearthing at least one cool idea that gets someone a job. I hope he keeps us updated on progress.
Now pass the popcorn.
Other blogs that reference Mark Cuban and idea shopping:
» Mark Cuban's Marketing Question from New Persuasion
I love Mark Cuban - he always has good ideas. Now he's asking his blog readers to send him ideas for movie marketing and getting people back into movie theaters:Come up with a great idea that I want to use [Read More]
I've been closely following Mark Cuban's challenge and today's response from Om Malik was not only the smartest but also suggested VIRAL-BUZZ-MARKETING as the solution!
Here's the link: http://gigaom.com/2006/07/27/mark-cubans-challenge-my-answerbuzz/.
Mario -- Thanks for the pointer to Om's post. I'm a big fan of Om, but I think his idea, while interesting, is not a word-of-mouth idea and largely unworkable for at least four reasons:
1. It turns a ticket stub into a coupon. Sure, it's a coupon that becomes more valuable with time, but a coupon is a coupon is a coupon. Their redemption rates hover at around 2 percent and never improve much beyond a few tenths of a point.
2. People aren't driven by financial incentives to see movies. They're driven by strong word of mouth. Good WOM isn't monetarily incentivized.
3. Getting all of the various theater owners to redeem these coupons would be a logistical nightmare. They can't even agree on standard projection technologies, so the chances of this happening are less than 1 percent.
4. There are too many movies these days in circulation to keep ones in the theater for very long. A more valuable coupon over time is irrelevant. There's too much supply.
As the author of that piece on GigaOM, I'm glad to hear that you liked my concept.
And Ben, I appreciate your skepticism as well. But you might be interested to know that I've been contacted by several movie industry execs who were quite excited by the idea. And based on those conversations, I actually believe there's a reasonable chance that some of studios will actually test the concept.
Robert -- Forgive me for not seeing that it was you instead of Om who'd come up with the idea. I think that's one of the challenges of a multi-writer blog. Jackie and I run into that issue ourselves.
That's cool to hear there's industry interest in trying out the idea. Should be interesting, to say the least! If you can get at least a 12.5% redepemtion rate for more than 3 months (beating the standard coupon redemption rate by 10 points), I'll buy you a case of Chicago's Goose Island beer.