The VFX industry is an increasingly competitive space. A lot of studios are fighting for the same projects and, even though demand has never been higher — let’s omit the writers' strike for now —, it’s still difficult to be seen and known. This is especially true if you’re a small fish in a big pond filled with major studios and their large-scale marketing budgets.
There are lots of reasons why a VFX studio should promote its work. Whether you’re trying to generate new business, recruit the best talent, or cross-sell different services to existing clients, implementing the right marketing strategy is absolutely key to success. In this article, we give some advice on how to get the best results.
Find your voice
Think about what makes you unique as a business. Define exactly what your edge is and ensure this unique selling proposition is weaved into all of your messaging.
Know your audience
Think about who you want to reach. VFX Supervisors working for OTT platforms? Film directors? Reflect on who they are, their interests and, more importantly, where they go and what they read. Once you know everything you possibly can about your target audience, use it to your advantage.
Explore your marketing channels
Leverage your owned, earned, paid and shared channels. As the name suggests, your owned channels are the ones you control — your website, social platforms, and newsletters. Tailor them to your audience, showing how you can solve their pain points, and support them to meet their goals.
Never underestimate the power of referrals, as this is where a lot of your business will come from. This is what we call shared channels, and they are mostly sustained through word of mouth.
However, your own and shared channels have limited reach. To expand your audience horizons, you’ll need to focus on earned media. Building relationships with journalists, influencers, and partners will get more eyeballs on your content, and potentially generate lucrative new leads.
To effectively measure success when building your marketing plan, you should set SMART targets — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Following these guidelines will guarantee your strategy is grounded and help you build your plan.
Having a plan in place is particularly important when it comes to sourcing approvals. This process can be lengthy — the higher the project profile, the longer it takes to get through multiple levels of approval. And you don’t want to burn any bridges with key clients. Keep track of release dates and piggyback the buzz around the project where possible.
For every project you work on, gather stills and clips before the materials are archived, and interview artists and stakeholders when the work is still fresh in their minds. If you wait, they might already be focused on another project, and their input won’t be as rich.
Show your team
Showcase your talent to attract more talent. Don’t be afraid to give visibility to the artists that make your VFX work so unique. If you foster a supportive, healthy environment and company culture, they won’t want to leave, while promoting them will raise your brand awareness and inspire other artists to join your ranks.
Don’t just toot your own horn. Being blunt, no one really cares! What your audience wants from you is your expertise and insights, gained as a result of your experience. Any content you share with the world has to provide value for your audience.
Network, network, network
Join industry events and immerse yourself in conversations with like-minded individuals, build connections and don’t be shy. Even though it might take some effort, nothing beats in-person interactions. Submit applications to speak at events and get in front of your target audience. These are great for raising awareness and meeting new leads. Online platforms such as ProductionHUB are also a great place to start, whether you want to hire or get hired.
Don’t only focus your efforts on existing or potential clients. Relationships with partners can also be precious — by nurturing these connections, you can tap into their marketing budgets, reach, and visibility.
Measure key metrics, analyse them, and report regularly. Monitoring key data will enable you to identify areas where there are opportunities for improvement and iterate successful campaigns.
These steps will help you build a strong marketing plan to raise your profile, generate new leads, and help your business thrive. As a VFX studio, you play a crucial role in making movie magic — you just have to make sure everyone else knows about it!