#FeemMarketing101: If We Were To Market A Movie Called "The Heart Song"


Good day folks and welcome to another piece in the #FeemMarketing101 series, where we offer insights and lessons on Film Marketing within the Nigerian movie industry. In our last article, we did a case study of three movies with regards to how film marketing should and shouldn’t be done. We rounded up the article by briefly touching on Marketing Timelines and Stages of promoting a movie.

Hakkande, Banana Island Ghost, Alter Ego Nollywood Movies

In this article, we will be taking it a step further by creating a hypothetical movie with its cast and mini production schedules. We will then give a sample breakdown of how the marketing of the movie could go.

It’s important to note that this article concentrates on Cinema releases so most of the discussions will concentrate on this area.  In future articles, we will explore other alternatives and profitable channels of distributing your films.

Please feel free to drop a comment. Let’s get the conversation going and if you have any ideas or suggestions or would like to make any inquiries, kindly send an email to info@sodasandpopcorn.com

Virtual Movie Title: The Heart Song

Synopsis: Nkiru Okija, an advertising executive in her late 20s has always been successful in every area of her life except relationships. She is almost giving up on love but decides to give it one  last chance. Her gamble pays off…but a bit too much. She ends up finding 3 great guys who fall in love with her. Having difficulty choosing Mr. Right, she decides to give them a test, hoping just one of them will scale through.

Major Cast:

Adesua Etomi – Nkiru Okija.

Alex Ekubo – John Okonkwo.

Ramsey Nouah – Steve Adebanjo.

Joseph Benjamin – Kunle Coker.

Production Timelines:

The Heart Song film marketing timeline.

With the breakdown, we see how every phase of the production for “The Heart Song” should go.

Before we get into the Marketing Plan for the Movie, here are a few things that need to be noted.

Synergy between Production Team and Marketing Team            

While the production team is working hard to make sure that everyone sticks to the schedule, the film marketing team should be carried along the entire way. There should be synergy between both teams. During every phase of production, there should be marketing activities planned out. This means the audience at every point in time knows what is happening with the project.

Treat Your Movie As A Business And Have Structured Budgeting

One major challenge we have in Nollywood is that, for the most part, the Industry isn’t yet treated as a business. Filmmakers pretty much concentrate on the art and ignore the business end of things. If you take a cue from the Filmmakers that have understood the fact that the movie business is a fusion of Art and Business, then you will see why they keep making box-office successes, movie after movie.

In a typical and well-structured business setting, it’s easy to decide what percentage of operating cost should be assigned to various units of the business. But in Nollywood, it’s not so easy because of the lack of structure. Marketing budgets typically, should be around 20% – 30% operating cost of the business. Not a fact, just best practice. But how do you know what the 20% of operating cost is when you raise funds for your movie in batches? You run out of funds and then seek funds for another phase.

But then, you can’t blame the filmmakers. Inaccessibility to funds makes it a challenge for the producer to create a cut-through budget that covers every phase of making the film. Marketing is therefore treated as secondary and isn’t much of a priority because they are more concerned about shooting the movie.  This is where the  importance of Data Gathering and Archiving and Analytics  comes in.

Importance of Data and Analytics

One thing that could help reduce the stress involved in seeking funds is data gathering and analysis. What data did you gather from your last project?

If you take a look at producers such as Mo Abudu, Kunle Afolayan, Ayo Makun and Omoni Oboli, one thing they all have in common is consistency in raising funds for their movies, actively marketing their movies and producing box office hits.

Why do you think this is the case?

This is because they treat their projects as a business. There are figures and data to show potential investors and convince investors to bring in their funds into their projects. Once an investor sees a proven track record and smart projections, they will buy into the project.

After Budget Comes Audience Analysis and Sales Projections

After much analysis, the producers of The Heart Song have budgeted N7,000,000 as the cost for shooting the movie and distribution. This includes

  • Cast and crew’s fees
  • Cost of pre-production to post production
  • Cost of Distribution.

Then comes the cost of Marketing.

It’s important to note that there is a profit sharing formula between the distributors and other quarters and the Producers. The filmmaker typically walks away with 30% of revenue generated.

Since the movie costs 7million naira to produce, at an average cost of N1,000 per ticket, we will need to sell 23,400 tickets to break even on production. That’s because 30% of the revenue comes to us.

But how much profit do we want to make? Let’s say N10,000,000. This means we need to sell 10,000 extra tickets.

In total, you are looking at selling 33,400 tickets to make desired profit.

So how do you get over 33,400 people to go watch your movie in cinemas? This is where your marketing strategy comes in. Your marketing team will be required to commit a good amount of time in this.

  • Analyzing the target audience for the movie
  • Knowing where the target audience can be found
  • Understanding what appeals to the target audience and how you can use that to market to them
  • Marketing techniques that will best appeal to the target audience
  • Executing the marketing strategy effectively for desired results

That said, let’s now take a look at a sample Marketing Plan with Timelines.

The Heart Song film marketing timeline.

So, there you have it. This isn’t cast in stone ; they are only guides. If by any chance you didn’t read all 1000 words of this article and somehow found yourself at this point of the article, the basic takeaway is this: treat Your Movie Like a Business! Commit time and resources into ensuring you have a structured business and you will definitely be glad you did.

In our next article, we will be discussing something which I am very passionate about, which is the “Importance of Data Gathering, Archiving and Analytics”. The reason I am very passionate about this is because this is the key to Nollywood becoming one of the most viable industries in Nigeria. Nollywood has massive potentials but until we can perfect our art of gathering Data, Archiving such data and analyzing the data to help in generating meaningful information, we can’t really go far as an industry.

Till next time, please feel free to drop comments below and lets get the conversation going.