Campfire Media: More Than Just "Audience"

"When it comes to many social or fan engagement efforts today, brands continually play a role not unlike that of an insurance salesman who joins a church just to get leads. In the end, it’s a noisy, interruptive effort that’s worse than an ad because it’s betrayed the trust of the relationship."

This wisdom comes from Campfire Media, a project-based marketing agency located in New York and co-founded by Mike Monello, who is a UCF Film grad and one of the creators of The Blair Witch Project. Mike Monello and his colleagues at Campfire are experts at cross-platform and immersive marketing (traits that academics and practitioners are calling transmedia storytelling) and their insights are rapidly changing how filmmakers (and everyone else with something to sell) are talking to their "audience."

As the students in my film business classes will tell you, the new world of digital distribution requires identifying a core audience of fan-influencers. How we communicate with these loyal "true fans," what we offer to them and how we respect them and their power to spread the word, is crucial to the marketing of our films and ourselves as filmmakers.

As the Campfire people say: "If we acknowledge that the people building these micro-audiences are also building real and lasting relationships, we start to realize that marketing within these groups is not something that can be bought and sold lightly. "

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