This year at Cannes, Will Smith explained his perspective on marketing in Hollywood. He talked about the death of old-school marketing and the rise a new technology based marketing.
A lot of which can be applied to everyday business. So if you’re still deciding what type of marketing is for your business, perhaps this Hollywood example will help you decide. Will Smith’s career has spanned many decades, but it was in about 1999, just at the peak of his fame that he realised things weren’t quite right.
“I had so much success that I started to taste global blood, and my focus shifted from my artistry to winning. I wanted to win and be the biggest movie star, and what happened was there was a lag — around Wild Wild West time — I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win versus promoting something because I believed in it,” he told a Cannes Lions audience.
Wild Wild West earned over $222 million worldwide, and let’s face it- wasn’t Smith’s best movie. So why did people keep going to see it? Old-school marketing. Or, as Smith explains- “smoke and mirror marketing.”
“I consider myself a marketer. My career has been strictly being able to sell my products globally, and it’s now in the hand of fans. I have to be in tune with their needs and not trick them into going to see Wild Wild West,” Smith explained.
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This leads us to the question- why is old school marketing dead? It’s simple… technology. Phones are a way of life now, they follow us everywhere which means information travels faster, media travels faster and movie reviews travel faster.
“Back in the ’80s and ’90s you had a piece of crap movie you put a trailer with a lot of explosions, and it was Wednesday before people knew your movie was s**t,” Smith said. “But now what happens is 10 minutes into the movie, people are tweeting ‘This is s**t, go see Vin Diesel.”
The same thing has happened in business and product marketing. Reviews spread faster, and information is more accessible. Quite simply- nowadays, there is nowhere to hide. If your company or product is not worth the money, people are going to know about it- faster than you can convince them otherwise.
But don’t worry, as with everything else in life- if you can’t beat it- join it. That means technology also opens the doors to use this market to your advantage. Digital marketing allows you to be at the forefront of people’s mind-before they know they need you. Along with this it also allows you to build authority, access a greater audience and equips you with the ability to communicate to customers like never before.