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Business, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Marketing, Success, Technology

7 Marketing Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Movie Trailers

Occasionally, people will purchase a movie ticket just to see a certain trailer before the actual film. A two-minute trailer that is exceptional will spark a conversation, and soon people will spend their money to see it, possibly even leaving before the main feature begins. The methods that the movie industry uses to captivate audiences with these trailers offer several valuable lessons for budding entrepreneurs.

Marketing has evolved into the art of storytelling and making a good first impression. Similarly, movie trailers achieve both goals by introducing a story. For entrepreneurs looking to improve on their video content marketing campaigns, here are seven lessons they can learn from effective Hollywood movie trailers:

  1. Show instead of tell.

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A long-established convention of strong writing and storytelling, the concept of showing versus telling plays a central role in movie trailers. Entrepreneurs can similarly apply this strategy in their video content marketing by reducing the amount of dialogue or subtitles needed in a shot. The content should ideally demonstrate how the product or service works and how people interact with it. If this product will change their lives, show them. Don’t tell them.

  1. Edit with a purpose in mind.

By their very nature, trailers can’t encompass a whole movie, nor do they need to do so. Startup owners should likewise approach their content with the understanding that no single video will explain an entire business. The purpose of each piece of marketing is to provide an introduction and to support the broader marketing strategy.

  1. Leave them wanting more.

An important part of effective editing involves saving the best parts for the actual movie. Nothing is worse than a trailer that outperforms the film. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, marketing content should leave something for the consumer to learn about or experience at a later time.

This could be something as simple as showing a product and only highlighting one of its best features. Then, when viewers follow the link to the website, they will see that the item not only does what the video showed, but it also does something even more appealing. In many ways, what an entrepreneur decides to leave out of a piece of content can have a greater effect than what they choose to include.

  1. Maximize your resources.

A related point involves the principle of ensuring that everything counts. Movie trailers and marketing videos are limited in scope, which means that their creators need to find ways to maximize their resources. One way to approach this involves generating multiple effects at once. For instance, a standout line may explain the utility of a new product while simultaneously pointing out an irony associated with not having that item. In this way, the video both informs and creates a memorable moment for the viewer.

  1. Harness the power of music.


Creative minds often leverage music to set the stage or provide a cue for what the viewer is about to see. For example, even with a black screen, moviegoers know that they’re about to watch a trailer for a Star Wars or Pirates of the Caribbean sequel after about two beats. Music can also establish expectations for a business. It may not do so in the same epic and dramatic fashion as a film, but it can just as effectively create an aesthetic connection with consumers.

In addition to developing a brand, a strong music selection can help pace the piece of advertising. The music can influence the decision of what to include based on the contours of the soundtrack.

  1. Open quickly, and close slowly.

Besides pacing a trailer with music, some producers suggest a template that features a quick opening sequence and a slower, more deliberate ending. The quick pace of the trailer will attract attention, and the slowdown will capitalize on it. Entrepreneurs should consider applying this principle to their own marketing efforts.

One way to aid this progression is to escalate the content. If the video starts with a joke, for example, the jokes need to get bigger and funnier until the end. While it may seem contradictory, this buildup is actually conducive to slowing things down for a big finish.

  1. Give the rough draft a second thought.

With any creative endeavor, the drive to edit, revise, and refine is a natural one. However, many movie trailer producers can attest to the fact that sometimes the original draft will best achieve the purpose of the preview. Applied to the business world, this means going with your gut every once in a while instead of fretting about perfecting something that already has the potential to hit a home run.