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A television advertising campaign can be an expensive proposition when you consider everything that goes into creating one. The first thing you need is a fifteen, thirty or sixty second commercial (preferable at least two different versions of both a fifteen and thirty) in high definition that competes with national advertisers and network programming in order to get and keep the viewers’ attention. Of course you can write a script and film this yourself. All you need to do is find a suitable location where the lawn and the landscaping is in top shape; the owners agree to having a film crew traipse over their property for the better part of the day; talent lined up for the filming – probably including kids and dogs doing what kids and dogs do; the right equipment to light and film the scene(s); some experience in television make-up so the talent appears to be native to this planet, a high definition film recorder, and some knowledge and experience in producing and directing a TV commercial and using all this high tech equipment. However, most people don’t have this experience, knowledge or equipment.
Chances are good that you will NOT be able to create a professional-looking TV commercial with your cell phone or some old camcorder using your brother-in-law’s kids and your two year old not-quite-trained golden lab as talent. But, you should be able to produce a quality commercial locally through a local advertising agency or video production company. (Your local network affiliates and cable systems rarely do commercial production these days, but you can check.) If you use a local agency, make sure you understand all of the details of what you are getting for your money. How is it going to be filmed? Are there any residual costs for the talent or music? Do these costs include all editing and dubs to whatever format you are going to need to get the spot(s) on air in all of the places you want?
Once you have the commercial, you need to determine the networks and programming on which you want to air your commercials. To buy television time effectively, you should match the geography and demographics of your customers and prospects to the programming and/or day-parts of every television affiliate and cable system that services all or part of your marketing universe. For example, you may be looking to target college educated men and women, ages 35 to 64 and you find that a weekend rotator on the National Geographic channel from your local cable TV provider delivers that audience at the cheapest cost per rating point. You will probably want to include that in your television buy. Will that be enough to help you market your lawn or landscape service – of course not. Television is about reach and frequency. You want to build a TV buy that reaches the biggest part of your target market the most times at the lowest cost per impression and the least amount of waste. In other words, to buy television effectively, you need to know what you’re doing. Don’t ask the local network affiliates or cable companies for help. They will try to help you but only so far as it also serves their interest. They, like you, are trying to sell something and for them it is TV commercial inventory. Instead, talk to someone at a local ad agency with experience in buying television. They are also trying to sell something, but in this case it’s the service of buying television cost-effectively and that’s a service you will need.
Television can be expensive. You will need to invest at least $25,000 (significantly more in large markets) in buying air time in order to get enough reach and frequency to have any impact at all.
Here are a few examples of Yes Marketing TV spots that didn’t cost a fortune to make: