The Problem with Filmmaking in Utah

Posted by Mark Hedengren on

This email is about the most important problem with filmmaking in Utah. Read it.

In the world of business, there are two types: Business to Business (B to B) meaning that you sell things to other businesses such as Huntsman Chemical. Then there is Business to Consumer (B to C) companies such as Proctor and Gambles’ Tide. Utah has never produced a large successfully consumer facing business.

Virtually all major companies that have come from Utah have been Business to Business. Qualtrics, Property Solutions, even Novell and WordPerfect were primary business to business companies.

Now, this may seem like a trivial question to filmmakers, but in fact it is at the very core of your business success. Business to Consumer businesses use video and mass media to sell their product to the consumer.  Business to Business sales companies use sales reps. Each transaction is worth enough that they can afford to send someone to walk into a room and talk their way into a sale. The good thing about this type of sales is that you can get large clients that will give you contracts in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars a year.

The bad thing is that the sales process doesn’t scale easily. A video can be watched 40 million times with little added cost. Even the best sales rep can only do so many calls and make so many sales. This is why B to B company generally have a slower growth than a B to C company. Facebook can add 100 million users in two months; a B to B company can maybe add 1,000. Granted, the B to B company could make as much off of those 1,000 people as Facebook makes off of 100 million users, but it still is a problem.

This lack of Utah companies’ ability to compete in a B to C market has been a real cost. Novell and WordPerfect were killing it when they were selling networks to companies and word processors to law firms. That all changed when Microsoft shifted the game by dropping prices on Microsoft Word/Office by 70% and making the software business more B to C.  The software could scale exponentially, but WordPerfect couldn’t scale or make its sales process effective at the lower price point.

I don’t think that Bill Gates or Microsoft are marketing geniuses, but they knew that it was important and knew enough to hire some people to do a good job. WordPerfect never had that culture.

So, the question is, how can we do this with our videos? Can we convince business that there is a better way to sell stuff than to walk into a room and talk? I don’t know, but the future of Utah business and Utah film depends on it.

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