What you can learn from Hollywood

What you can learn from Hollywood

Southern California isn’t the only place that’s burning. A big chunk of Hollywood box office is in ashes, too. Sunday’s New York Times examines the cause of several of this fall’s big-name box office disasters.

“Gone Baby Gone” tanked, despite star Ben Affleck appearing on virtually every talk show except “Wall Street Week.” The heavily-promoted “Rendition” also went into the crapper, despite its cheerful theme of torture. “Things We Lost in the Fire” starring Benicio Del Toro and Halle Berry also sank with barely a bubble.

The culprit in all these big name failures: lack of focus. They’re not targeted at any particular audience. As the Times put it:

“That doesn’t mean they’re bad pictures. It means they have no obvious appeal to any of the four big demographic groups at which Hollywood has typically aimed its wares: males 17 to 24 years old, males 25 to 49, females 17 to 24 and females 25 to 49.

What has this Hollywood stuff got to do with small business marketing and attracting more customers? Everything. Your small business needs to do exactly what these movies didn’t do. You need to focus on entertaining — uh, I mean serving — a narrow niche audience.

The headline of the Times piece says it all. It’s “How to Find an Audience? Try a Zoom Lens.” link

The quickest way to failure is to try to be all things to all people. If you stand for everything, you’re remembered for nothing. If you don’t create your marketing message for a tightly-designed market, you’re doomed to fail — whether you’re a CPA or a Hollywood producer.

“… if the movie business is to keep making these smart little dramas in which ambitious actors and prize-hungry filmmakers take their annual shot at the (Oscars), it will have to start doing what car makers and packaged-goods companies have always done: sharpen the message and narrow the targets.

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