Jo attended Opening our Doors: Inclusive Cinema in Glasgow 2019 to run a workshop on marketing diverse titles for audiences.

“One of things I enjoy most about working on grassroots and outreach marketing on film projects is the sheer diversity of campaigns you can be involved with as well as the creative freedom you can exercise on the below the line activity associated with these projects.

“As cinemas, community cinemas or festivals its imperative you treat grassroots/outreach marketing as an integral part of your audience development programme – you’ll need to nurture and cultivate these relationships over time.

“Look at your programme at a whole and find the common links between films  – look at I, Daniel Blake and Nae Pasaran! for instance, there is definitely a crossover in terms of the politics or looking at young empowered female led films like Patti Cake$ and Skate Kitchen. Be as strategic as you can with your programming.

“Organisations and individuals you engage with will become your ambassadors and champions so its important you keep the conversations with them going even during your quieter periods or between events.

“Also as local organisations you’re a unique position to understand the sensitivities and culture of your community, this is a massive advantage – think of all the knowledge you have and how it can be best used!”

Top 10 Tips

  1. Start with a SWOT – identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your upcoming film programme and events.
  1. Positioning – think about how are you positioning your films and events, does it ‘speak’ to your audience?
  1. Identify your audience – customers are only loyal to brands up to a certain point, don’t make the assumption they will come to your venue, engage, engage, engage!
  1. Assets – distributors spend budget on creating sharable assets for social, make sure to keep in touch with them to get up to date content to keep your messaging to audiences fresh!
  1. Data – depending on your CRM/Box Office system can you analyse your audiences by what they watch? If so, do you have permission to contact them (GDPR!) or do you have specific mailing lists e.g.; opera/ballet or kids season.
  1. Outreach – film releases can be so singular but try to identify common themes in your programme line up well ahead of time, e.g. youth audiences, political audiences and build a relationship with these audiences – how do they ‘consume’ their news?
  1. Partnerships – look at recent release of Nae Pasaran!, this film had a ton of support from local union branches, which created audiences (and demand!) for the film ahead of its release.
  1. Research – find out who your audience are with exit polls, not only is it an opportunity to get some key demographics on them but also to find out how they interact with your brand plus get them signed up to your mailing lists. (TIP: Have chocolates on hand for gentle coercion!)
  1. Eventise – not everyone likes Q&A panels, Patti Cake$ had battle raps and spoken word sessions on its opening night.
  1. Think outside the box – creativity sparks ideas, could you run a ‘strategy hack’ with all staff and your youth reps? Could the distributor provide financial support for some one off activity – Tyneside Cinema had a fire-eater for the release of The Girl Who Played with Fire.