As a small business owner it can be incredibly frustrating to gain general information about the costs of marketing… especially when the particular service you are interested in runs the gamut in price and quality options such as production or design work. Straight answers and workable info does not come easy (just try getting a quick estimate from web designers, sheeeesh!). To one end it’s very understandable… creative services are hard to put an estimated price tag on- it comes down to the time required to complete the task to your liking, and that’s not always apparent from a phone call. On the other end, you don’t always want to trouble yourself with a live meeting, just to find out the services in question are way out of your means. Sometimes we need quick and dirty data so we can formulate a general marketing strategy.
With this in mind, we’re hoping to shed a little light on some of those great price-tag mysteries over the next few weeks, so you can have an easier time putting together your marketing plan.
Today we’ll be examining the general costs involved in a super-popular marketing option: Local TV commercials.
Local TV commercials are run regionally through cable providers (such as Comcast or Cablevision), who insert the spots into designated time slots, set aside for local use. Local spots are usually produced in a 30 second or 15 second format (most other formats, such as the 2 minute spot, are either used in large national campaigns or in Direct Response, aka, infomercial campaigns… more on Direct Response in future posts). Either a cable provider or a media buyer (depending on what suits your needs) will create a plan for your local commercial, targeting specific channels, times and locations that best fit your potential customers. So a restaurant in Tinton Falls may run their commercial on the Food Network, during prime time, in Monmouth County only… while an amusement park in Bayville may run their commercial on Cartoon Network, afterschool, throughout New Jersey. It’s a very effective strategy for reaching a wide array of potential customers.
The cost of running a local commercial is broken up into two categories- the cost for production of the commercial itself and the cost to buy the TV time (aka the “media”). Local commercials are far less expensive than the big-time national spots, but can still be pricey for small business owners due to the reoccurring media costs.
On the production end, a very basic, “local commercial” looking spot, that might use some still pictures, very basic camera work, a voice over, and some motion graphics can cost as little as $800 to produce. For something a bit slicker- something more “non-local” looking, with some good camera work, good audio quality, good production value or more advanced animation, you can expect to spend anywhere from $2,500 to $5,500. Of course there’s always ways to spend more… and there’s always ways to make something work on a strict budget, but generally speaking, the production cost of your average locally run commercial fall within that range.
Media costs for local commercials largely depend on how visible you want the spot to be, and of course, your budget. How many times would you like your spot to play? How many locations, in how far of a radius, would you like your spot to play? How many channels, at how many times at day would you like your spot to run on? And how many different providers will be involved in running the spot? These are answers not easily answered by the business owner (nor should they be). Luckily you have media buyers and agents, both independent and through cable service providers to help put a plan in place. There are ways to spend very little and there are ways to spend a whole lot, but generally, an effective local TV campaign running in an average radius of the business, costs $3,000 to $5,000 in media per month to run.
Of course if you are a small business owner who is serious about running a local commercial, you should contact a production company like Spear & Magic Productions, who can put the details of your TV commercial together and connect you with reliable media agents who work to get the most out of your spot.