Andi Jarvis on speaking to your audiences

Andi Jarvis is founder of Eximo Marketing, which helps companies communicate with their audiences and their overall marketing strategies. Founded after years of studying and working in the industry, his agency’s clients have included international brands such as Budweiser and Expedia as well as national companies, like the RAF Reserves and Trust Pilot.

Andi joined us at the This Way Up 2017 in Hull, work-shopping marketing strategies for community cinemas and giving advice to members of the audience. We caught up with Andi to chat about his experience at TWU 2017, his top tips on how film exhibition organisations can improve the way they speak to their audiences, and how his thinking has changed over the past few months.

Could you tell us about your experience at TWU?

In terms of an organizational point of view – I speak at a lot of conferences, usually marketing ones rather than industry specific ones, and I thought it was tremendously organized, the way the sessions were put together and the opportunity for discussion – what you usually get at conferences is somebody driveling on for 20 minutes and then somebody else driveling on for another 40 minutes; where as TWU had built in a platform for discussion and that gave the diverse audience from different companies the time to ask questions and interrogate speakers or add to the debate. So is it a worthwhile addition to the arts sector? Absolutely, I thought it was a tremendous way to put it together. And the opportunity to meet and network outside were obviously pretty good.

And would you mind giving a brief overview of your session?

I’m involved with Film Hub Northern Ireland and we were talking about marketing in community cinemas. We did a presentation on what happened and how that worked and the outcomes, and then opened to the floor for questions. I talked about the theory that we went through and how working with community cinema is different in different parts of the industry – for example working with volunteers. But also, what’s the same: the fundamentals of marketing are all the same, so you’re hopefully giving people a chance to say, “Well I can go home and implement that into my business, or say no, well this is very different because we’re a different sort of organization. Then we took questions for 20-25 minutes, which was probably the most enjoyable part for me, it felt like people were getting real value out of that.

Could you tell us any key lessons that came out of that?

One of the things we talked about was having a mission statement and being clear about that, and I think a lot of people overlook that step because they just wanted to get on with doing stuff. There were a couple of good debates about how you create mission statements: why is that important in marketing, and how do they help shape what you’re trying to do, especially with the backdrop of falling budgets. So that was one of key learning. And the reinforcement of the importance of the planning process I’d say was the second one, rather than just jumping straight into implementation let’s plan, let’s understand why, and then get started.

Could you give us 3 pointers as to how film exhibition organisations can improve the way they speak to their audiences?

1. Don’t make assumptions: there’s a lot of assumptions like old people don’t use Facebook, or, my website doesn’t need to be mobile friendly – things like that. People make those assumptions and it shapes what they do. Don’t. Look at the data and the information that you have to understand it. Because that will inform your decision making instead of your, sometimes, lazy assumptions.

2. Involve a wider group of people: often marketing lands with someone whose job it is to do marketing and actually this is best done when it also involves any who interacts with customers – anyone who takes a ticket or volunteers on the door, all of those people have a really important input in how marketing works, because they hear from the customers first hand what people say.

3. Review everything: The easiest thing to do when you’ve finished something is to say, ‘Thank goodness that’s finished! What are we doing next?’ But spending that time to look at: did this work, what did we spend, how did we get a return on it, did people turn up. All that sort of stuff, spend the time reviewing it because it informs where you go next.

Has your thinking or experience changed at all in the intervening months in regards to storytelling and marketing?

One of the things that came out of the session was that, from the whole conference – obviously I was there for the whole time – was that as an industry we’ve got so many stories to tell and so many stories not being told, and I think part of that is because people don’t know what stories to tell and when and how. There’s almost too much content and so we don’t do enough with it.

I think that the ‘done is better than perfect mantra’ is important. Get the stories, tell the stories, let people hear about it – in line with the marketing and planning– tell the stories get the feedback, tell more stories. I think, if we have stories, let’s tell them, let’s use them!