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5 Winning Marketing Strategies for the eCommerce Oscars

What’s An Oscar Campaign?

It’s not enough that you’ve made a good movie. You have to convince others that you’ve made a good film worthy of that little golden guy. The purpose of an Oscar campaign is to place a movie in the minds of as many people as possible to make them see it.

Marketing campaigns for the Oscars usually start around the “award season” with the first major film festival of the year—The Venice Film Festival. Oscar campaigns typically involve a lot of lobbying, ads, parties, luncheons, dinners, screenings, etc. In addition, the cast and the director attend countless talk shows, festival screenings, and q&a sessions. All of these are done to get the most prestigious award for filmmaking.

5 Winning Marketing Strategies for the eCommerce Oscars

There’s so much that a digital marketer can learn from the Oscar campaigns and the ceremony itself. The Academy Awards is one big digital marketing tool before, during and after the ceremony. So without much further ado, let’s look at how to get ready for an Oscar-worthy eCommerce performance!

1. Build a narrative around your brand

Oscar campaigns are essentially one extensive narrative marketing. Narrative marketing puts the audience at the centre of everything and tries to empathise with them through storytelling, which sounds a lot like filmmaking, doesn’t it? However, the narratives in the movies are not enough most of the time. The audience has to believe something’s at stake for them as well. 

For this endeavour to be successful, the narrative created around the Oscar campaign has to match the movie’s plot. For example, the 2017 Best Picture nominee La La Land’s Oscar campaign focused on emphasising being the underdog in Hollywood and the struggling beginnings of a Hollywood career. With its technicolour-esque use of colours and set design, the movie was a love letter to Hollywood itself. After all, Hollywood loves Hollywood.

Don’t Look Up tried a similar approach this year, emphasising how the movie is worthy of recognition because it draws a strong parallel between our current situation and its plot. However, many disagreed with this forced narrative, arguing that the movie didn’t do a good job on its own in the first place. David Ehrlich, film critic, called Don’t Look Up “a very sweaty film that strains to be funny, but one that’s also itching to argue that its lack of funniness is precisely the point” and concluded his point by saying that “It isn’t smart enough to be a wakeup call or shocking enough to scare people straight.”.

The eCommerce marketing lesson here is to be careful with your narrative marketing strategies. First and foremost, the narrative you’re building around your brand has to match every other element of it, such as your website, physical store, emails and push notifications you send, etc.

Secondly, you should be able to explain to your audience why this narrative is for them. By explaining, we don’t necessarily mean using actual words. Instead, it’s about setting and matching the tone, much like La La Land did. “This movie is for you because we see you. You’re the underdog, just like Mia was and just like we were once. We get you.”, is what the movie essentially says. Maybe it didn’t win Best Picture, but no one can deny that it is one of the most memorable movies of the decade.

2. Dress to impress

We’re talking about commemorating and honouring a visual medium. Of course, the visuals matter. The cinematography, production design, costumes and makeup…They are all the backbone of movie-making. These elements are what create memorable narratives and characters.

That being said, there’s another side to creating long-lasting visuals that digital marketers can learn from award ceremonies like the Oscars. Let’s be honest here; the red carpet is a big part of such nights. We ALL love criticising the fashion choices made by celebrities from the comfort of our couches.

Marketing lesson to take from the Oscars? You need to dress your eCommerce store to impress your prospective customers. After all, digital marketing relies heavily on visuals, especially in an age where people have very small attention spans and tend to skim the written content. This means the visuals you create are more important than ever.

eCommerce customers engage with product images before anything else. Those images, in a way, create the first impression. So it goes without saying but avoid using stock photographs. But also show your visitors not just what the product looks like but why they should definitely buy it.

We love the red carpet not just because of the pretty dresses and glittering jewellery but also because of what it represents. Watching the red carpet at the Oscars let us dream about how we’d like to dress for the Oscars or how we’d style a dress differently. Let your customers imagine themselves with the product they’re looking at. Show the product in its context: If it’s a party dress, put a picture of someone wearing it at a bar. Simple as that.

Another way to add glamour to your eCommerce store is through the Search Box design. You can custom design the search box to match the website’s overall design or match with the seasonal promotion that’s going on with the help of Segmentify Search & Discovery. In addition to that, why not blackout the overlay for a more elegant look that’s worthy of the stars?

3. Be where your audience is (on social media)

Creating bilateral conversations between the academy voters and directors and other cast members is crucial for any Oscar campaign strategy. Oscar marketing campaigns give the academy members a chance to interact with the director and the talent, says Stu Zakim, academy voter and publicist. He continues by explaining that for an academy voter to decide to see a movie in the theatres instead of watching it at home, they’d have to be intrigued by it somehow.

Social media is perfect for creating buzz around a movie and helping it reach a wider audience. When it comes to campaigning for the Oscars, having the public opinion on your side can be important, too. The buzz creates more demand from the theatres to screen the movie, so the more people see it, which, in turn, creates even more buzz.

The lesson is loud and clear for digital marketers everywhere: Be where your audience is, be on social media. You don’t necessarily have to be on every social media platform possible. Decide on the audience you want to reach, observe where they are, and be there. It’s the same with Oscar campaigns: Create a bilateral conversation with your customers and build meaningful relationships. 

That being said, there’s another aspect of social media that needs examining for eCommerce stores alike. Social commerce (shopping through social media platforms) is one of the biggest trends in the eCommerce industry right now. TikTok especially has become quite the place for social commerce among younger generations like Gen Z with #TikTokmademebuyit.

However, it is not enough to showcase your products on social media and look at the likes it gets and the engagement it creates. An eCommerce store should also know which products are creating the most traffic to the website. This is where Segmentify comes in. You can use MicroAnalytics, Segmentify’s real-time analytics tool, to monitor your store and see which of your products create the most traffic through social media.

MicroAnalytics is a real-time analytics tool that gives you insights into your website’s individual products, such as total views, number of purchases, CTRs from different channels, how many times it was added to the cart, etc. The data analysis is done based on products, brands and categories. But what makes MicroAnalytics so valuable to an eCommerce Director is that the Insights Suite is updated every 30 minutes!

MicroAnalytics allows you to take advantage of the social commerce trend with its “Social Trends” insight, which tells you in detail about the products your customers reach through your social media channels. You can use this information to promote these products further or find similar products that are not doing as well and promote them on your social media channels.

4. Get your facts straight

To be honest, watching the Best Picture announcement mix at the 2017 Academy Awards on live tv is still one of the best pop culture moments I’ve witnessed. However, it was awkward for everyone involved, to say the least. It created a false and extremely short-lived excitement for the La La Land crew, but more importantly, it took away a bit of the excitement out of Moonlight’s triumph as the first LGBTQ film with an all-black cast to win the Best Picture Oscar.

Much like at the Oscars, it is of utmost importance to be diligent about the data you’re giving out in marketing. This data could be about product dimensions for a mattress or how much weight an office chair can take, etc. Giving out wrong information will create unsatisfied customers and damage your reputation and brand image.

The marketing lesson to take from the Warren Beatty incident is that be extra careful about the information you’re giving out and always double or triple check your facts before sharing them with others.

5. Time your release just right

Generally speaking, there’s not a fixed time window to release a movie for it to be an Oscar contender, other than it has to have been released in the past year and had at least screened for one week. However, it’s an unspoken rule that serious Oscar contenders are released in autumn.

Oscar campaigns kick off with the “awards season”. In fact, the Venice Festival marks the beginning of the said awards season. The Venice Film Festival is later followed by the SAG Awards, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, which are, most of the time, pretty good indicators of who will get the Oscar.

As with everything, there are exceptions from time to time. Take Silence of the Lambs, for example. The psychological thriller was released in February 1991 (On Valentine’s Day, to be exact. Perfect choice for a date night, indeed.), and a year after its release, it won all the major five categories at the 64th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. However sad it is, we must admit that it’s almost impossible to have another Silence of the Lambs, though not improbable. This just means that you have to be on the lookout for that one absolute rockstar product. 

Seasonality means everything for eCommerce marketing. What consumers are looking for is very much based on seasons. Therefore, a good digital marketer should know how to take advantage of this.

The most critical and obvious itinerary on a digital marketer’s agenda should be preparing a calendar with the holidays you need to pay special attention to. These campaigns take a long time, depending on your goals, and the campaigns should start approximately 2 weeks prior to the holiday.

For holiday marketing, it is recommended to prepare landing pages and special categories to increase engagement and traffic. Designing special campaign banners and pinning these to the search box is one of the most elegant ways to attract visitors. Segmentify allows you to pin special banners to your search areas and monitor these banners’ performance for you, and reports the results in real-time

That’s a wrap!

I’d like to thank the Academy for all the memes, scandals and, of course, for all the marketing lessons. As Segmentify, we’re also offering you the chance to reach the right audience about the right product through the right channel. Our personalised solutions portfolio focuses on creating end-to-end customer experiences and optimising conversion rates. Book a demo with one of our eCommerce experts to learn about the different ways Segmentify can inspire you.

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