Guide to TV Advertising (Advertising Mediums Part 4 of 4)


This is the final article in this series, but it covers a subject which a lot of companies have mistakenly become involved in and lost a lot of money on – TV Advertising.

I would personally never recommend that any small to medium sized business considers television as a viable advertising medium. I remember once talking to a client whose benchmark as to whether they had ‘made it’ as a business was when they could run TV ads. I can understand this dream, it’s the modern-day equivalent to hiring an aeroplane and dropping a million flyers over Dublin.

It also means that you have enough money to ‘splurge’ on your marketing. However, both these reasons are more about massaging one’s ego rather than making good business sense.

The good news is that there is a natural barrier for most companies when it comes to TV ads – the price. Even a minor campaign on a national channel is going to cost more in a month than most businesses spend on marketing in a whole year, or even two! But with the growth of smaller local channels, ‘affordable’ TV ads have begun to emerge.

OK, so let’s says that you decide that advertising on a local channel (like the ‘City Channel’) makes sense, now you have to create your TV ad. This is a much bigger cost than most people even contemplate. So the TV companies have come up with some very innovative ways of hooking people in. They provide cheap (or even free) ad production in return for you buying ad slots and to be honest, the quality of the ads are normally very good.

So with all that in mind, how would you decide whether to run a TV ad campaign?

  1. How broad is your product/service offering?
    If you have a product or service that appeals to a large percentage of the population, then perhaps TV advertising is for you, if not, forget it.
  2. How large is your target area?
    If your market place is anything smaller than a county, then forget TV advertising.
  3. How big a company are you?
    Do you have the manpower to handle the potentially high volume of business that is going to come your way? And for every one decent sale you make, you’re going to get 3 or more time wasters. If you don’t have the employees and supply end of your business up to speed, you could end up with money wasted on an ad campaign and a lot of frustrated customers that will never use you again.
  4. Is your product or service seasonal?
    If you have seasonal product, make sure you buy ad time during the peak season. Sounds obvious, but so many people make that mistake with advertising in general.
  5. How large is your marketing budget?
    TV advertising is the equivalent to a shotgun. Every ad fires off thousands of pellets in the hope that some of those pellets hit a target. So, you need to fire off a lot of shots to end up with a decent response rate and that takes big bucks. If you don’t have the money to see a campaign through, don’t even start.
  6. Do you want to promote your company or sell a service/product?
    If you want to sell a product or service, then a short campaign could yield some return (providing the answers to the other questions are favourable), but if you want to raise the profile of your company (called ‘Brand Advertising’), then the answers to every question above needs to be favourable because you are going to need to commit to a long campaign.

The reality is that I have included this article for completeness rather than any immediate useful purpose to readers. But if you are the owner of a medium to large business, contemplating running TV ads (even on a local channel), think very carefully before committing – you can buy a lot of print ad space for the cost of a short TV campaign.

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