08 Feb Local TV advertising – Super Bowl vs. super bargain
At $2.5 million per 30-second spot, the average 2006 super bowl commercial is unattainable for most businesses. Nevertheless, TV advertising has never been more affordable for small business.
Using an Internet-based advertising agency called Spot Runner, it’s possible to implement a comprehensive TV advertising campaign in less than a week and at a fraction of the normal cost. You can purchase a pre-packaged ad from their ad library for less than $500 and broadcast your commercial on local cable stations for about $50 per spot.
Spot Runner personalizes the ads with your business’ specific information, logos and images. Then, based on information you provide, Spot Runner uses a proprietary media planning engine to create customized media plans that allow you to target customers by demographics, networks and specific neighborhoods.
You can buy primetime ad space on major networks, local broadcast and cable channels such as CNN, Bravo, ESPN and HGTV.
“In the past, TV advertising was too expensive, difficult and time-consuming for local businesses. In addition, conventional ad agencies simply aren’t equipped to serve local customers,” said Nick Grouf, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Spot Runner, in a press release. “Now that Spot Runner has brought the entire advertising process online, even the smallest local business can capitalize on the power of television to build its brand and attract new customers.”
By putting the entire process online, Spot Runner gives its clients complete control over every step of commercial production, media planning and media buying.
Spot runner in action
We gave the Spot Runner web site, currently in beta, a try in February by putting together a TV campaign for five test markets. The process began by selecting a TV spot from Spot Runner’s ad library, which contains hundreds of prepared 30-second ads. While we were unable to find an ad that was ready for our intended use, we found nearly a dozen ads that were suitable for our purposes with a rewritten voiceover.
Spot Runner rewrites and records custom voice overs for any of its ads for $249. At that price, we were able to have Spot Runner write a custom voice over for the TV commercial we selected. The result was a good starting point that we were able to fine-tune ourselves. Two days later, with less than $800 out-of-pocket we had a professional, customized TV spot.
Companies that don’t find a spot they can use in Spot Runner’s ad library can work with Spot Runner to create a new ad from scratch. The cost of doing is about $5,000. This is about one-tenth the cost of working with most ad agencies. The caveat? You won’t own the finished ad. Spot Runner owns all of the ads it creates and licenses them to customers.
Next, we defined test markets for the ad and selected the networks and times where ads would appear. In our example, we ran prime-time spots on CNN, ESPN, Fox News, Spike, TBS and TNT. Depending on the market, the average cost per TV spot ranged from $13 to $63. In a market with an average cost per spot of $41, we could reach more than 77,000 households more than 200 times for less than $10,000.
Since Spot Runner allows you to target ads by local Cable TV markets, it can be more targeted, less expensive, and more effective than local print and radio.
TV for beginners
Considering TV for the first time? The following tips can help make your experience more successful:
Focus your message. Don’t try to stuff too much information into one ad. 30 seconds is enough time to communicate one idea.
Target your customer. Although a commercial may be viewed by thousands of households, not all of them are likely to contain your optimal customer. Know who your likeliest customer is. Customize the message to them.
Use strong visuals. Select or create a commercial with visuals that capture the attention of viewers. This is particularly important during the first few seconds an ad appears.
Do it again. And, again. Television advertising results aren’t immediate. You won’t see a boost in sales resulting from a single ad. Commit to a campaign that delivers a moderate or heavy dose of TV ads for 2-3 weeks. Then wait 1-2 weeks and repeat the dose.
Concentrate your efforts. While its tempting to run ads on several cable TV networks or markets simultaneously, its also less effective. You need to have a certain concentration of ads on a network to break through the clutter. You also want to test how effective an ad is within a small number of markets before rolling it out to wider areas.
Executives from top advertising agencies, including Steve Hayden, vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, acknowledge the value of the Spot Runner model.
“If you had told me just two years ago it would be possible for me to go online and create a customized, relevant television commercial that would effectively reach my target market – all for just $500 – I would have thought you were insane,” Hayden said in a press release for Spot Runner.
“The Spot Runner model is simply a breakthrough in television advertising, and it’s going to change the world of local advertising.”
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.