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‘Tale Means Business: 5 Marketing Lessons From Nollywood Blockbusters

Tale Alimi



2016 will be remembered as the year of Nollywood blockbuster movies.

As the year was rounding off, we were inundated with the promotion of various new movies, most of which had great reviews from TIFF (Toronto international film festival).

I was spoiled for choice trying to decide which ones I was going to watch, but I finally settled on a few good ones and I must say; they were worth the time and money spent.

While I was giving them kudos for putting out good production, I was not paying attention to the effect it was having on the economy until the beginning of this year.

A few days into the New Year, myself and a business partner were analysing the 2016 economic performance and expectedly, most key sectors had a decline in growth due to the recession, but the tourism and entertainment sector experienced growth mostly fuelled by the growth in activities in Nollywood.

Last week, one of those movies shattered the current Guinness book of record for highest earning film in West Africa with revenues of almost half a billion naira in a country that is supposed to be in a recession!

I immediately put my business strategist hat on to glean marketing lessons from these blockbuster movies that businesses can apply to grow their revenues.

Lesson 1: Mass appeal
These movies had an appeal that cut across social, religious or gender class. They were mostly easy to watch, relatable and connected with current cultural nuances. Even the movies that were based on historical events created enough nostalgia that made you feel like you were relieving the past.

When you position your product or service to appeal to as many people as possible in your selected market space, you are going to sell more or reach more people and in turn earn more revenue.

Lesson 2: Inclusive campaign
In this age of social media, it is very easy to carry your customers and fans along, as you create anticipation for your products or services. Some of these movies carried fans along by showing behind-the-scene pictures, videos and even involving them as the script and characters developed.

By the time the movies came out, the fans appetite have been whet consistently, that they were ready to run to the cinemas to watch them.
When you are creating your products or services, you can leverage on instant feedback from your prospective clients or fans to ensure that you are creating something they will buy.

Lesson 3: Influence marketing
Meet and greet with celebrities during movie premiers and launches have become commonplace. Most of the cast of these movies were present in various cinemas to meet with their fans, and fans were willing to go to the cinemas several times to meet with them.

The use of influence marketing has become quite popular, as you see major brands signing up celebrities as brand ambassadors.

I quite like the idea of the celebrities leveraging their influence to mobilize their fans to see their movies and take selfies with them. Small business have to also begin to find ways to leverage influence marketing to drive revenues.

Lesson 4: Community mobilization
People were encouraged to see the movies over and over again with their family member, friends, colleagues etc. I heard some stories of people who went to see a particular movie 5 times!

Using social and peer influence to mobilize people is one of the most effective ways to market products and services and it is quite popular among network marketing companies.

You can create a marketing campaign that encourages your customers to carry their friends and colleagues along and you will have a marketing team without the payroll!

Lesson 5: Sweeten the deal
Isn’t it amazing that you could watch a movie that cost you under five thousand naira (refreshments included) and stand a chance to win a phone, car or even a trip abroad? Movie promoters have become apt at sweetening the deal for movie goers.

Even though just a hand full of people will eventually win, but it gives people something to look forward to beyond just watching a movie, because you could get over 10 times or 100 times the value of your investment  – if you win in the raffle draw.

These five lessons are not exhaustive, but I believe you can draw some inspiration from them as you create your future marketing campaign.

If you want to get specific strategies and tactics you can leverage to drive your marketing activities and increase your revenues, then my upcoming Marketing master class will benefit you. You can learn more about it and register here.

'Tale Alimi is the CEO of Tale Alimi Global; a premium business coaching and strategy consulting boutique focused on working with visionary and forward thinking SME's to take their business from small to scale. She is the author of Uplevel-find your niche, share your story, build your tribe and profit from your passion( She has a Masters in Business Administration from Lagos business school, a certificate in personal coaching from the coaching academy UK. She recently became a social innovation fellow with the startingbloc institute in the United States. When she is not thinking about innovative business models, she is an avid long distance runner. Learn more about Tale Alimi Global:( Get daily business inspiration when you follow her on twitter ( and get an insight into her life on Instagram (


  1. David

    March 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Great write up!? Mass appeal, in Nigeria’s film industry context, is slapstick comedies. ?

    Something about influence marketing ticks me off, could be tales of distributor’s stressing on its importance. When Nigeria has 500 cinema chains, how would that hold up? Would a DiCarprio or SRK need to sell tickets for their film to be a box office success? Why should a Nnaji? Fine, industries differ, but a relatively good film, with strong P&A, finds an audience.

    Would never ask any star actor or actor to sell cinema tickets, unless they desire to. Gene’s (in leading role) and Omotola’s highest grossing film, a court room drama, which showed in 8 cinemas didn’t need influence marketing.

    • 'Tale Alimi

      March 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Very well said David. Influence marketing might not be scalable when the outlets are alot, however with Social media, these moments are easily captured and can win the hearts of fans which will in turn lead to more sales.


    March 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Nice write-up Tale! The Film producers are definitely doing something right! Speaking on stars selling tickets @David, there are movies that have star appeal and with advertising or even a poster, people will go and watch. But do you know some people just wake into the cinema with no idea of what they want to watch, so with a star/celebrity guiding them on what to watch and why they should watch it, i believe that goes a long way!

    • 'Tale Alimi

      March 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Very true. Movie stars as guides! You love the star and want to see the movie because of them.

  3. Uloma

    March 3, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Great Lesson! Thank you so much

    • 'Tale Alimi

      March 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      You are welcome! I am glad you found it insightful

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