Hi everyone - I was wondering how companies buy films: I know that often it's the responsibility of the corporate communications/marketing department to decide whether and what videos are needed, but do they usually have an existing partner/production company they do business with, or have a PR agency that they refer to?
Essentially, once a firm decides that they want or need some sort of corporate film, how do they go about finding a production company?
Sometimes, they just pick one out of a catalog of already-made products. If the subject is a common one like customer service tips or how to be safe in a warehouse, etc. why re-invent the wheel? Trolling the H.R. related web sites should come up with a few sources.
For something more custom, governments and corporations will put out a request for proposals, or RFP. Where they post that varies.
Basically, yes to each of your proposed routes to sourcing video production. Those and many others. Bigger projects usually involve RFPs as Mark said, but not always. The best way to get business is by being known by the company's key marketing/advertising/PR people and/or getting a direct referral from past satisfied customers.
For "cold calling" into companies the best approach is invariably one of offering information that your prospect will want. For example, work that you have done for similar businesses or examples of what they can get at certain price points. A lot of companies these days want to have video linked to their websites so a good pitch is "Can I show you some examples of just how inexpensive a high quality video for the web can be?"
And I would be remiss if I didn't point out that these type of discussions are what the COW's Business & Marketing forum is all about. Check it out and go back through the archives of that forum for a lot of great information about getting new business.
We have three 'official' groups under contract that we have negotiated rates with, and a handful of freelance regulars. For the large jobs, we stick to the official groups; otherwise, we'd have to put the project out to bid...which adds on a couple weeks. Bleah. (the freelancers are usually around $1K, and are easier to fund)
How'd we find the official groups? We solicited a handful of local production companies, and had them bid on a 'proxy' job. Procurement then balanced all the factors based on cost vs. value, and then our team weighed in on the 'professionalism' of the product. In the end, we have those three companies who handle the full range of production efforts.