Everyone seems to be using YouTube and other online websites to create their own video content. Some have become very successful at this online endeavor, and have made quite a lot of money. But to be successful, they have had to market their content online.

Why not learn from the best at it, and who does it better than Hollywood? Their storytelling techniques and marketing strategies can help you to outperform the competition and take your brand to the next level.

Marketing Fails and Their Consequences

There have been a few big marketing failures, and the consequences usually turn customers away. A few of the biggest failures to learn from include:

Pepsi’s fail

An ad for Pepsi tried to show their brand as a culturally unifying product. It showed actress Kendall Jenner giving a can of Pepsi to a police officer in the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest as if drinking a Pepsi would solve the problems. It backfired badly for the company.

Adidas’s Boston Marathon gaffe

Another ad that was in bad taste came out in 2017. Adidas texted their customers after completing the Boston Marathon with the text, “Congratulations, you survived the Boston Marathon.” That was only four years after the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 250 people.

Airbnb’s poor timing

One ad had the misfortune of bad timing. In 2017, Airbnb launched its Floating World campaign and contained phrases like, “live the aquatic life”, and “stay above water.” This ad came out the same time Hurricane Harvey was inundating Houston with feet of rain, causing massive flooding.
The lesson here is to not make political statements in your marketing efforts. They could be misinterpreted or can offend some of your target audience. Also, always keep up with current events.

What You Can Learn from Hollywood

Not every movie that comes out is a blockbuster movie, but plenty of them are. You will probably not have a million-dollar budget to create your content, but the strategies are all the same. Not every blockbuster movie that has come out had large budgets to work with. So they learned to make more with less while coming out with hugely successful blockbuster movies.

Just like traditional marketing and social media marketing, we have to learn how to do more with less. Not only do you have less money to use, you always have to keep in mind consumer attention spans are not what they used to be and are continuing to shrink. Plus, the competition for online audiences is getting more crowded.

When producers in Hollywood make a movie, they know it is important to recognize and understand their audience, but in the end, it is the story that matters. The same goes for marketers and brands. You will have to learn to market your brand without becoming overbearing or pressuring consumers.
You can promote your brand without even promoting your brand at the same time. If you focus too much on customers buying something, you can detract from your main marketing efforts. Each post or ad you put out there has to be unique and provide something of use to your prospective customers while promoting your brand at the same time.

Tips for Marketers from Hollywood

What are the secrets that Hollywood uses to create a blockbuster movie, and how do they go about marketing it? These tips will explain how they succeed. You will quickly recognize many of these tips from movies you’ve watched before.


Create a Hero

Blockbuster movies always keep their audiences fixated and engaged with a strong lead actor, the hero. Online marketers can follow this by giving their content a hero figure their viewers can relate to and connect with.
You might wonder how you can be a hero in your own online content. You can relate stories of how your products have made your customers become a hero. Another way is to use case studies that show how your brand, products, or services have helped others become heroes.


Take Advantage of Everything

Just like Hollywood producers, you have to take advantage of everything available. Use things like music, merchandise, online forums and fan clubs. Use your own content to create infographics, links to blog posts, emails, mini-graphics and more. The more content you post, the more links you will have to your other posts and videos.


Advertise and Promote

Think about blockbuster movies of the past. When a movie first came out, you would see ads and promotions for the new movie everywhere. It was being promoted with YouTube video ads, online trailers, and advertisements mixed with other ads like fast food, for example.

As an online marketer, you can also be creative with promotional strategies. Put your content everywhere you think your viewers are. It can take a little more money, but by being creative, you can use these promotional ideas.

You most likely won’t be advertising your podcast on fast food cups, but you can promote it in other ways. As many as 87% of Twitter users said that their most recent decision to see a movie was influenced by a mention they saw on Twitter.


Give Viewers Something Extra

Another way Hollywood markets their blockbuster movies is to give their audiences something extra, like deleted scenes and bloopers. Entrepreneurs can also give their target audience something extra like sneak peeks of what you have coming up and awarding them for engaging with your content.


Create Sequels

Think about how many sequels are spun off from the original movie. Some sequels even do better than the original movie and turn into blockbusters.

Sequels are what keep the money rolling in for Hollywood movie studios.
Have you ever written a blog post or created an online video that went over surprisingly well, an online video that received more views than you’ve ever had. You should build on that success by making sequels to your popular online content. Build upon successful content that you know your audience loves and wants more of.

There are some good lessons in the following movies that all marketers will learn and gain from.


The movie Moneyball, streaming on Hulu, is about how Oakland A’s won the most baseball games in Major League Baseball in 2006, including an

American League record 20-game winning streak. What is amazing, is that they did this with the third lowest payroll in the Major Leagues. Baseball is an industry dominated by huge salaries and payrolls, yet, the Oakland A’s were the best team in baseball that year.

How did they do it? They used decisions that were driven by data. In 2006, using analytics hadn’t yet caught on in baseball or pro sports. But instead of using the traditional way of finding players, like scouts to scout players and intuition, they used data.

Using data and key metrics that only they knew about, they were able to sign the best players and got the maximum bang for their dollars. When you think about it, baseball and marketing have a lot in common. Data is used to monitor how many views you get, how many likes you get, and how much ad revenue you are making. And it is used to make important decisions.

The lesson is to use all the data you can find that is relevant to your brand.

Forrest Gump

The movie starred Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, who is a kind-hearted man who is a little slow-witted. This man experiences many historical events of the 20th century in America, like the Vietnam War, ping-pong diplomacy, Watergate, and even appearing on The Dick Cavett Show discussing the breakup of the Beatles with John Lennon.

Forrest Gump is the storyteller in this movie. Storytelling is one of the best tools an online marketer can use. Storytelling allows you and your brand to share your values and experiences with your viewers.

That builds trust and friendships with those who watch your online content. Building friendships will build your brand, makes others talk about your videos, and have them coming back for more.
The lesson is to be a storyteller.

Jurassic Park

Throughout Jurassic Park, you will hear the character Dr. John Hammond repeatedly say how they spared no expense when it came to creating his theme park, complete with genetically created dinosaurs. He believed the more money he spent, the better it would be.

Of course, that is not how the movie or the theme park turned out. By the end of the movie, about a dozen people had been killed, dinosaurs were running loose, and he had to abandon his very expensive theme park.

The lesson is that just because you spend a ton of money doesn’t guarantee millions of people will watch your videos or buy the products or services you’re selling. It still takes effort and the proper types of marketing and promotion.


Learning from mistakes made by others is one way to learn something, but learning from their successes is the best way to learn. Following what Hollywood did to market blockbuster movies is smart. In many of the movies, you will see marketing lessons you can learn.

One tip is to be careful of what you say on social media, as you don’t want it to turn negative. Be a storyteller. When potential customers hear personal stories, they are more likely to feel close to the person telling the story.

Another one is to use the available data. There are metrics you can use like views, clicks and likes that will let you know how well each of your posts/ads/videos is received. Spending a lot of money on your online content or marketing will not guarantee success. Be honest, tell a story, and always keep your target audience in mind.