Lessons from Netflix Original, Dolemite Is My Name
I was five when Dolemite hit the big screen back in 1975 so I missed it and much of the Blaxploitation films of the era. I’d heard of movies like Shaft and Shaft Goes to Africa but never watched any of the movies. So when Netflix released Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite Is My Name, it was a great introduction to the genre and the man behind the Dolemite series.
Fair warning, the movie contains adult language and nudity so it’s definitely not for everybody.
The marketing and entrepreneurial lessons in the movie were many.
Here are my takeaways:
- On niche marketing and target audience: “Every city in America has these same five blocks and they’re gonna love it.” Rudy Ray Moore understood his target audience, knew where they were and what they liked and he created memorable content for this audience.
- On being a visionary: You don’t have to know all the technical aspects of a project, bring in the people who have the skill to implement your vision. Rudy found the people to fill in his knowledge gaps and wasn’t afraid to admit what he didn’t know. Moore had NEVER made a movie before, never worked in the industry, didn’t speak the industry jargon but none of that stopped him or intimidated him. He was driven and had a vision. He also wasn’t beyond doing menial tasks to make sure his project and vision became a reality.
- On customer engagement: When the show sold out and his audience had to wait for hours to see the film, he gave up his seat at the premiere and engaged his audience. He created a memorable customer experience by performing for the audience that would have to wait for hours to see his show. He also increased his brand’s customer lifetime value by encouraging a young man who wanted to be just like him.
- On making moves: Don’t be afraid to go for the big ask and then sweeten the offer. Moore approached a somewhat well-known actor at a strip club to be in his movie. When the actor became offended, Moore offered him the opportunity to direct the film.
- On entrepreneurship: Know the game, know your worth, know the devil you’re up against and negotiate accordingly. Dimension Pictures rejected Moore’s original pitch to produce his movie. When the movie proved to be successful, Dimension Pictures came calling. Moore knew Black’s often received bad contracts and deals and ended up broke when dealing with mainstream entertainment conglomerates. He went into the meeting armed with this knowledge and negotiated accordingly.