Many film commissions find personal selling to be the most effective communication tool in promoting their services to key decision makers and influencers.
Many film commissions exhibit at trade shows or film festivals, and such marketing activities can be highly effective for those who are comfortable with one-to-one marketing in a highly charged and busy environment. Generally, these occasions bring all parts of the industry together, and they represent opportunities to meet informally with industry professionals. An example is the Virginia Festival of American Film held adjacent to Virginia’s spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded in 1987, the festival attracts numerous film makers to screenings and panel discussions, simultaneously exposing them to the wonderful scenery of the area. Virginia Film Office staff use this opportunity to convey the cost effectiveness of filming in the state where comprehensive tax exemptions are in place.
Exhibiting at a trade show is similar to putting together a small promotional mix. Some exhibitors send out direct mail pieces inviting key players to visit their booths. Representatives working the booth hand out brochures and business cards and try to develop production leads. They may also give away free items, such as T-shirts or hats . Film commissions often host an official party. When the trade show or festival is over, exhibitors follow up with personalized mailings or telephone calls. Large film commissions may choose to pay for a booth at one of these trade shows, but often cities or regions within a state, province or country will arrange their displays under one banner. For example, the regional film offices in British Columbia, and the film liaisons and municipal film offices in New Mexico.