As a strategic consultant, Sarah Mosses talked about the ways in which she and her organisation use data and analytics to more successfully put out projects such as campaigns or screenings.
Sarah argued that it is important to devise strategies that include distribution and revenue targets in line with the campaign’s impact strategies when thinking about how to put out a project. She went through one case study, which was a film project that Together Films not only consulted with, but also distributed. The film was Unrest, a documentary film about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) by Jennifer Brea, who suffers from it. The project was initially Kickstarted, but it found its way to Together Films as part of the Sundance Creative Distribution Funding Scheme. After Together Films got involved, they began devising marketing strategies to best put out this film to its appropriate audience.
Targeting appropriate audiences and collecting data were two key points in how to market the campaign successfully. Sarah discussed how Jennifer wanted to also do a VR experience alongside the film, which many exhibitors were really keen on, where others weren’t. By gathering data on who would be interested in pursuing their VR experience, they were able to market it differently for each exhibitor and distributor they got in contact with. They also collected data on a large part of the target audience that would not be able to actually go to the cinema to see the film – sufferers from CFS or similar illnesses that had them bedridden, and unable to leave the house for the screening. So they devised a virtual screening plan to send a feed of the actual cinema screening simultaneously to an online stream, which they could buy an online ticket for. All of this made it a more successful project in terms of understanding who they were marketing the film to and making sure that its main audience would have actual access to the film.
Beyond targeting audiences, Sarah also described how important it is to collect data in order to keep track of organisations and partners to work with in the future, by keeping a spreadsheet of detailed information on how they have worked together. She also explained that within any organisation, it’s imperative that this data be easily accessible to everyone who is involved in planning, programming and organising projects.
Sarah emphasised the importance of setting achievable goals but also to keep striving to beat these goals once they have been reached. For any exhibitor or distributor putting out a project, all this data collection, targeting audiences and strategizing needs to be met with goals that are realistic for where the organisation is at that given moment, and grow from there. And deadlines were also a key element of this. Sarah spoke on how it is important to plan ahead and accordingly to how you want your project to be released, and also within the timelines of your partners.
Finally, Sarah spoke on how different platforms are equally important in managing the marketing and targets of projects. Press data as well as industry papers and audience responses are all good ways of gathering information, and social media as well as more analogue forms of marketing all serve their own purpose depending on who you are trying to engage with your project. She gave examples of apps to use to track social media reach, like Buffer and social press kits, as well as Facebook Pixel and Facebook analytics as a way to further understand who you are reaching and how to reach who you want to. Always striving to understand what you are marketing and how the audience you want to market it to will engage with it is the one of the most important points to consider when thinking of collecting data and the impact your project can have.