Seriously Effective Print Advertising
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Local cable television advertising can be highly effective,
and very affordable. If you have a product or service that can be
visually demonstrated, television can work wonders.
Americans watch almost seven
hours of television per day, and over half of them have cable. Cable
television has the audience, and advertising there absolutely can work
for your company.
But…like every media, there
are rules to be followed, and areas for caution.
This article outlines just a
few strategies for advertising on cable television. We strongly
encourage you to learn more about television advertising from other
resources if you want to use cable television for marketing your
The new technology of digital cable will soon offer you
amazingly low cost, highly targeted advertising opportunities. You will
be able to target your ads down to your local neighborhood level for $5
- $25 per 30-second spot, or less. In medium size U.S. markets, even
prime-time cable ads cost under $200 per 30-second spot.
For example, just outside of New York City a 30 second ad on
VH-1 or BET costs around $15. CNN and ESPN cost around $25. In
small towns, prices drop below $5 per spot. And when you buy in volume,
you get further discounts.
And customer targeting
couldn’t be better. Digital cable means that you can run your ad on
the channel you want, when you want, in the city you want. So, where is
your audience? The Family Channel? The Weather Channel? MTV? You pick.
But please don’t throw
caution to the wind. Media companies are very good at listing numbers
and statistics. If their first question is, “How big is your
advertising budget?” be assured that they will try to get all of your
marketing dollars. Know ahead of time what you want to do.
And while it is true that
Americans watch seven hours of television per day, and have hundreds of
channels to choose between, they are not necessarily watching all of the
specialty programs cable television is offering. Here are some facts:
all of the new cable TV choices, on average viewers watch less than
90% of viewers are watching ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB, UPN, and the top
ten cable channels. This statistic has held steady for several
years. So people are watching HBO, MTV, CNN, ESPN, USA, and A&E.
They are not watching the fishing channel.
when viewers use pay-per-view services, television-on-demand, or the
old-fashioned VCR, they still are watching the same channels.
If you do choose to go with
cable advertising, your ads will have very good company. Most
commercials on cable are for nationally advertised products. You will be
associating yourself with that level of branding and recognition. It’s
the old “the media is the message”, and it doesn’t hurt to hang
around with the winners.
Negotiating a Price
Cable rates vary greatly
depending on when and where you want your ad to run, the time of the
year, and the size of the audience. Different companies will offer
different rates, discounts, and promotions, and everything will be
Like other media,
volume-purchasing means discounts. It is cheaper to run your ads at
off-hours than at prime time. It will be cheaper if you sign a
longer-term contract. There will be special programs for new
advertisers, and seasonal discounts. Play hard to get, and ask for those
If you plan everything in
advance, you will do better. Take your time, and send in your order
early. You will save money, and you will get the times slots you want.
Production of Your
Television production can be
very expensive, and we strongly recommend that you research the subject
extensively. An ad can take months to plan and produce, and it’s easy
to do a bad job.
Make the production studio show
you samples of their work. All the same rules about marketing apply to
television. The designers are not necessarily professional marketing
people. You want a marketing pro to review your message. Don’t get
blown away by the design potential of the medium – stick to your
message, and keep it simple.
Plan your production time
carefully. You will pay by the hour for the crew, and delays and changes
will add up. Think about lighting, microphones, and set placement and
changes so that they go smoothly.
Keep your ad simple and
straightforward. Glamorous or dramatic ads are hard to do well, and easy
to do badly. Do product demonstrations, and before and after shots for
the best results. And make sure your actors are very, very excited and
happy. Excitement and happiness are catchy – the more the better.
Remember to stick to the prime
benefits. Show pretty people enjoying the benefits of using your
product. Clients don’t care about how great your company is – they
care about how you can improve their lives. Benefit benefit benefit,
contact information. And please hesitate before becoming your own
Even if you are on a tight
budget, local cable television may work for you. It is inexpensive, and
can be incredibly effective – especially if you can demonstrate how
great your product or service is. Television is about demonstration.
Think about all of those clothing detergent commercials. If you can show
how your product removes the grass stains better than anybody, you will
get good results.
And remember, before you jump
in with your entire budget – test, test, test!
As always, we
strongly recommend that you hire professional design help when creating
marketing materials, and ask a marketing professional to help plan and review the
work. It’s a cheap investment for an advertisement that you are going
to show the whole world. Please contact
Advertising for additional assistance.