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Is TV Advertising Right For You?

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Posted by luke on

Several times per week I get phone calls from potential clients asking about TV advertising for their business. This is how 95% of them go:

“Hi, I’m looking to do some TV advertising for my business.”

“Sure mate, what is the name of your business and what do you do?”

“It’s called X and we do Y. I was wondering how much it would cost to do some TV advertising” 

“Ok that sounds great. It’s a bit hard to put an exact figure on it because it can vary quite a bit depending on which stations you use, the kind of ad you produce and things like that.” 

“Ah ok, can you give me a ballpark figure?”

“Sure. It can be anywhere between $X and $Y”

“Oh. Um okay. That’s out of my budget I think.”

I’m used to crushing TV dreams.

These conversations are all too familiar for me, because they happen all the time. The person calls all excited to start their TV journey, only to be shot down within seconds. It sucks for them and I hate doing it.

The Silver Lining

What isn’t included in the conversation slice above is how I then talk to them about other kinds of advertising that might be better suited to their situation.

Often it’s the case that people come in looking for TV (or some other form of advertising) and end up realising that another form of advertising will actually suit them better. For example, maybe what they really need is a radio ad or a new website.

That’s not ton say that TV is our of the question – quite the opposite actually. Rather that TV are the market’s ‘big guns’ and should only be used when it’s the right time to use it. Using it when you’re not ready could end up causing more damage to yourself than your competition.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

While these questions aren’t intended to be a concrete set of rules that governs whether you are allowed to make at TV commercial or not, it can help get your mind thinking about the kinds of things that make TV a viable option for your business

1.     What is the ROI?

The return on investment you get back from your TV ad needs to be worth the investment put into the production of the ad, plus airtime.

Side note – airtime is almost always responsible for the bulk of costs associated with TV advertising, not production.

Determining whether the investment is ‘worth it’ or not comes down to a couple of factors:

  • Big ticket items – if your business is one that deals with big ticket items (i.e. products/services that have a higher profit margin) such as cars or property, then TV may be more up your alley. Higher margin items equal quicker breakeven points.

    However if you have very narrow profit margins on your product/services, or you need a large amount of sales to cover the advertising costs, it may do you more harm than good.

    It’s like renting the Titanic out for a fishing trip and then trying to sell the fish you catch at the market. If you’re catching big fish, go ahead. If you’re catching small fry, maybe not.
     
  • Store Locations – Having more than one store can help you dissolve the advertising costs amongst many outlets. It can also make it more of a viable option for businesses that sell small ticket products/services (such as businesses like Subway).

2.     What is your budget

As you may have already noticed, budgets are very important when it comes to TV advertising. Often people underestimate what is required for an adequate TV budget, which is why I suggest that you speak with an advertising agency directly.

Prices can vary quite widely for a number of reasons (INSERT LINK TO TV TARP TRICKERY BLOG), so make sure you get the right information.

3.     Can you sustain the campaign?

A successful TV campaign relies on two things – frequency and reach. Frequency is the amount of times a person sees an ad, and reach is how many people see an ad.

In order for both of these things to be working, the TV ad needs to be on air for a decent amount of time. This means that if your entire annual budget is going to be in the first two weeks of the campaign, it’s probably not worth pursuing.

I can’t stress enough how important sustaining the campaign is. TV can truly revolutionise your business and is a big deal and should be done right if done at all.

Taking The Next Step

TV is undoubtedly a powerful medium, but is one that must be used wisely as it can be a substantial investment into your business. As with most of my advice, I recommend that you speak to an advertising agency before you make any big decisions, as there are a lot of factors which will affect your business’ viability for TV.

Good luck!

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