How to become indispensable as a film marketer?

Become Indispensable

Let’s brainstorm a list of techniques film marketers (or PMDs, in this instance) can utilize to make themselves more indispensable on film sets and within film crews, more generally.

There’s no rhyme or reason to this list, just a random sketch of things marketers can do to become more integral players in the overall effort of promoting a client’s film to a global audience.

Keeping it fast ‘n loose today…

  1. Don’t wait for solutions to present themselves – propose them yourself: I’m listing this in first position because it’s a huge peeve of mine. Your job as a marketer is to always have ideas at the ready. Your task is to find solutions to intractable problems, even if your initial stab at a solution is imperfect and needs refining, C+ to A+ style. You should have a few ways of attacking a particular issue so that ineffective techniques can be quickly discarded. The idea here, too, is not to become too wedded to a particular approach, and to be willing to jettison things which plainly aren’t working.
  2. Overdeliver and ship like white hot hell: Sure, we read all about this in the business literature, but how often is it really practiced? By overdelivering I mean supplying more of what you’d promised in a way which doesn’t even call attention out to what you’ve done.  Being silent about it. Working thanklessly. Pushing the needle every so slightly forward without needing a weak grab-ass or a hosanna. Achieving a goal, taking a deep breath in gratitude, rewarding yourself privately for hitting the number, and then moving onto the next challenge, like clockwork. Not only the mark of genuine humility, it also engenders client confidence in your ability to do what is asked of you.
  3. Research until you literally see cross-eyed: well, almost. Or whatever gives out first: your sight or your ability to process information. Just kidding, again, I think. Still, I can’t understand the folks who have a desire to become true masters at their craft or chosen field of endeavor (<—lame word, I know, but the best that applies here), yet who aren’t willing to invest the time at knowing everything there is to know. By research, I mean: blogs, books, magazines, films, conferences, networking events, film festivals, podcasts, random conversations, general life experience, down time, weekends, weekdays, holidays – wheel and come again. This must be done daily. There’s is no notion of break, other than for reasons of health and family duties (and even then you make concessions). Bottom line is the entrepreneur’s maxim: “If you’re awake, work.” No compromise on this.
  4. Be unassailably punctual…or else, buddy: When it comes to your job, there’s never an excuse for being late – ever. Your service providers, friends, family members, or even your clients can be tardy, but you can’t be. And, like the Japanese, don’t arrive too early for a meeting. Arrive five minutes early. Like the actor’s maxim: “Early is on time. And on-time is late.” You can show up late, once. If you show up late a second time, you’re fired. This is non-negotiable.
  5. Take initiative and be bold for once in your life already: The marketing field is not for the meek. Connected to #1 above, don’t wait for ideal situations to present themselves (because they rarely will – not never, just rarely), so act and move now. Be like a shark. Bob ‘n weave, bob ‘n weave, and shift, swim, shimmy, dance. Move those feet. Adjust to the new conditions, bob ‘n weave again. Move! The fear of mistakes or the trepidations of decisionmaking failure is what separates the good marketers from the wannabe set. It also separates the higher achievers from the tentative yokels who never manage to hit the mark. Those who have a clear sense of what the marketing technique entails, in other words, versus those tasked with motherlodes of social media responsibility but hard know how to corral customers into the classic marketing funnel. Something I resent is when I observe people who have “on-paper” responsibility for certain aspects of the marketing function, but zero wherewithal to make proper decisions, wracked as they are by fear, doubt, listlessness, and shame. Be bold. Act. Don’t think. Act. Now. Things can always be revised or revisited once you’ve acted. But nothing will be accomplished until you act. Get moving!
  6. Be the go-to gal on issues related to your field: If there are other cooks spoiling your broth, you can do either of two things: 1) you can rise to the top by crunching more, learning more, perfecting and versioning your systems, weeding them out for lapses or shortfalls, and in that way re-assume a leadership position. Or, 2) you can take the other person out. How you do the latter is not something this blog focuses on and is beyond the purview of this discussion. The idea is to become the knowledge worker of last resort in the marketing field. How? By doing everything I’ve been talking about in steps 1 through 5. No questions asked.
  7. ABH | “Always be hustling”: Unless you’re ill, incapacitated, or otherwise indisposed, or if you can’t drag yourself to your laptop, desktop, or that very next meeting, expect to always be working. If you can’t comfortably sit at a desk, work off a tablet or an iPhone. If you can’t type your thoughts, speak them into a mic. If you can’t speak your thoughts because your voice is hoarse, have someone join you at your bedside so you can convey to them your thoughts and intentions via an assortment of facial signals, grunts, and hand gestures. Marketing is a lucrative field, to be sure, and there’s good income for good marketers. But there’s a tremendously steep experience curve and expect to sweating your sweet petunias at the outset, for a few months, at least. That means, occasional sleepless nights, subpar diet, missed appointments with family, rancorous customer service calls, plenty of caffeine to keep you level and awake, and prepare for plenty of crisis management because with that amount of sleep you’re definitely going to be irritable.
  8. Produce A-List content at all times: If you really want to be noticed by decision-makers and clients, write good stuff. Not chintzy, fearful, student-grade stabs at content, but real content with a set of massive jangling balls. The kind of stuff people want to pass around. The sort of material people talk about, remember, laugh out loud on, which wows the living stuffing out of them. If you don’t have the chops for A-List content, think about hiring someone to produce it for you, then slap your name on it, ghost-like.
  9. Be absolutely ubiquitous: There’s no excuse for anyone who calls themselves a marketer not to be on all social media, sharing, and networking sites under the silicon sun. I’m referring to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and their blog. A simple Google search should render all sorts of usable intel and backstory information on your prospective marketing lovecat. You should be able to formulate a relatively intact picture, save for the face-to-face impression, from any and all marketing assets your would-be PMD makes available online. If your marketing person doesn’t have this sort of availability, major alarm bells should be roaring off in your head and I advise to hold off on the hire. I repeat: hold off on the hire because it will cost you more than the amount of money you’ll spend on the contract.
  10. Allow for maximum flexibility in your role: Don’t deliver faits accompli to your client. Don’t disrespectfully warn them you perform a only a rigid series of tasks, while others not. That’s a one-way ticket to getting your ass canned and having your professional reputation besmirched like mangy mutt. Be flexible, but firm, like the saintly holy pine. Don’t make yourself difficult to reach, either. Be flexible. Flexible, I said.

Anything I missed? Let’s keep adding to this list…

UPDATE: And today’s accompanying video…

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