Great Marketing is Like Making a Great Movie

Here’s an old article I’m reprising because it’s still relevant. I’m hoping this will bring a fresh perspecetive to your enjoyment of the upcoming Academy Awards (and your own marketing)!

                             The Oscars for Academy Awards


The Oscars will be handed out soon, and it’s a perfect time to keep this in mind: If you’re a business owner or manager, it’s wise to think of yourself as a great film director who’s telling a story.

Having directed films, stage, television, and stage productions, I  noticed that the principles of great directing or filmmaking apply exactly to great marketing.

OK, so you don’t need the baseball cap or the megaphone like a film director. But in order to attract the right “audience,” you do need to communicate something critical – the talents and services of your company.

If you really connect with your audience, they’ll appreciate what you have to offer.

Think about it: When you’re positioning your company, you’ll craft an intriguing ‘script’ which you know as ‘promotional messages’.

You’re conveying the fact that you offer something of interest, you do it well, you’ve hired the best talent (even if Morgan Freeman isn’t available) and really connect emotionally with those who need your services.

In great drama, you want to evoke emotions and meaningful reactions in your audience to make them laugh or cry. Director Martin Scorcese (shown in photo) happens to be a master of this evocative “manipulation”, as I think of it.

In great marketing communications, you want your audience to buy. They won’t, if they feel there is no compelling reason . . . just as they won’t cry watching a film if the heroine dies and they simply don’t relate to her — or if they’re emotionally conflicted or confused.



Now consider the last film you absolutely loved. It gripped you, didn’t it? You wanted to tell all your friends about it, because it had such an intriguing affect on you, right?

I felt that way about the recent film, “Hugo”, by Director Martin Scorcese: such a lovely story, a delight for the eyes, an epic-but-not-Spielberg-distracting music score,  just so well directed.

In marketing, it’s all about creating that “buzz” — you want to evoke that reaction in your audience (or target market) through your marketing materials, your print ads, TV commercials, presentations, networking, and of course … by doing great work, which offers lots of value!

In a film, the director carefully builds and develops each character so the audience can get to know him, to laugh with him or feel his pain, and to understand how he acts and reacts. In marketing, it’s all about reaction — you want your audience to grow with you, to feel connected, and to relate to and trust in you. And you especially want them to learn about the enormously useful solutions you offer.

But, first you have to understand your audience. And that requires that you have in-depth knowledge of your existing clientele. In that way, you can attract more clients like the ones you already have and cherish, and enjoy helping.



We recommend a method for truly understanding your clients, and finding out what they value in the work you provide – having a third party interview them, but only one highly experienced in marketing interviews.

When you fully understand what makes your clients tick (and more importantly, what they love or don’t love  about doing business with your company), you can promote those qualities to other potential markets.

In this investigative work many wonderful surprises emerge. Often, we find that your clients need other services you could offer, or that you are undervaluing your services/products and could easily raise your prices (this is actually a very common discovery).

Also, we’ve found that simple things matter: like a change to your invoice system that would make everyone much happier – your “audience” will laugh instead of cry.

Or, we might learn that even though you believe you offer lightning-fast response time, your clients don’t perceive it that way. From this information, you can often make improvements that lead to significantly more income. Ahhh, knowledge is bliss!

Generally, your angelic clients won’t share this information directly. Most humans want to please others, and steer clear of offering suggestions that might provoke an uncomfortable or unwelcome response. And sometimes clients are fearful of hurting your feelings.

While this is understandable, you might be missing some valuable lessons your clients are dying to share with you, that could benefit your business enormously. Or maybe they just need some prompting to think more deeply about the real value your business offers so they can share that with you.



Using the “great films as marketing” metaphor, think about how many classic films have taken radical departures from the ordinary … from “Schindler’s List” to “The Wizard of Oz” to “Gone With the Wind.” These movies were huge attention-getters in their day, and became major cultural influences. Don’t you want your work to be recognized as a significant influence, too?

Once you break from ho-hum marketing, and learn to put your deeper beliefs and values into your promotion, a remarkable thing will happen: You will attract precisely those clients who really need and appreciate the products or services your company provides. In other words … once you know what your clients really value, making it available to them will be an incredibly simple process.

That’s why I believe: “Knowledge is Bliss.”







Sometimes a company needs special tools to expand its marketing, promotion, or outreach. That’s exactly why we’ve developed our Total Marketing & Communications Services. Ah, Total Bliss. And totally useful marketing tools around $20 that will help busy business owners get what they need right away!

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What You Probably Don’t Know About The Author . . .

Allison Bliss, the creator of “Marketing as a Spiritual Practice” method, rebels against misleading, pushy, spam-filled marketing offering Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs an integrated range of do-it-yourself marketing products & customized marketing strategy, plans, promotional materials, websites, and Total Marketing Services for Total Bliss.

Having studied with Frances Ford Coppola and other film greats, Bliss is a member of the Directors Guild of America where she managed production on literally thousands of films, tv shows, events, videos and commercials. She moved into marketing to help worthy businesses get noticed, and because she figured they needed her help more than Hollywood did.      Allison’s full story

Don’t miss the Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26th, ABC-TV


Need some grand marketing ideas? Contact us today. 510-879-7600


Great Marketing is Like Making a Great Movie — 3 Comments

  1. It’s very practical and useful the way you’ve drawn the parallel between movie
    making and marketing. With The Artist bagging the most-coveted Oscar, it’s
    time for me to take a re-look at my marketing efforts and make sure these
    help connect with my target audience.

  2. thanks for your comment about film/marketing overlap wayyyy back in February. My hand slapped for taking so very long to reply, but I do appreciate your note. What changes did you make as a result?

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