Tips for Tech Companies Pitching Hollywood
TV network execs, Hiram Norman and Bob Mohler spend their days researching and implementing new technology platforms to enhance the viewer experience for shows like Ellen, Gossip Girl and more. In their respective roles, they receive numerous pitches every day from tech startups looking to get their product in front of large TV audiences. After sitting through numerous propositions, they shared some of their do’s and don’ts for tech companies pitching Hollywood:
- Get to know them. How does your technology fit in to their shows? How will your product enhance their programming? And is your product specifically relevant to the exec you’re pitching?
- Know your competition. Find out if the network is using a competitive product, and come prepared with information on how you compare - or even complement - their current solution. Understand that in Hollywood (and most organizations), bringing in new services or vendors is NEVER an easy process. There are layer of approvals, legal restrictions and more to consider
- Pitch to their needs. Clearly define your product’s ability to grow marketing and or revenue goals. Saying that Ellen should use your tool to make her look cool isn’t enough of a solution. After all, being featured on her show helps your product, but how does it benefit the show or talent?
- Timing is everything. You need to know when you’re ready to pitch your product. Are you too new? Ask yourself if it makes sense to meet with a studio or network at the stage you’re currently in, in your business. Often times, if you receive a “yes”, they’ll expect for you to be able to execute your pitch immediately
- Don’t let location matter. Most studios and networks operate on pacific standard time, so make sure you’re available during those hours. You might be a technology company, but take on a client services approach
- Don’t always swing for the fences. Everyone wants to pitch the million dollar deal, but be prepared to do a trial or partnership program. Some of the smaller ideas that showcase results is what develops into a larger, longer term project
- Prove that you are prepared for success. Norman and Mohler admitted that people in Hollywood are easily excited, so be prepared if someone says “yes”. If you’re not scaled to deliver, scale up immediately. Make sure you’ve figured out solutions to all potential problems before you make that pitch
- Keep it simple. It’s never “just a line of code”, but don’t dump a 500-page document on someone’s desk on how to implement an idea. Ideas should be very simple and clear for lawyers to understand
- A quick “no” is sometimes a good thing, but always build relationships. If someone rejects your pitch, keep them informed. Roadblocks get moved, so there may be a need for your services or product in the future - you just need to stay top of mind for Hollywood execs
Although this session was intended to reach tech entrepreneurs, so many of their tips apply to marketers as well, as we often serve as salespeople to clients, media and more.
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