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Aaron Cadieux
Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:43:46 pm

Hey everyone,

I am in talks with the local cable outlet to run a spot I have produced. The spot advertises a service that my video production company is offering. I told the cable company what my budget is. I said I was willing to spend between $700 and $1000 for a flight on cable. The cable company came back with a presentation with my target demographic, target channels and yadda yadda yadda. Their fee is going to be $700/month to run my spot. Here's the problem. They want me to sign a 6-month commitment for $4200. I don't have the money for that. It's out of the question. I could maybe do 2 months, but not 6. My spot would be running on a half dozen channels 160 times a month. My question is this . . . Are the cable companies selling a lot of advertising lately, or do you think I could talk them into a 2 month contract? And do the numbers I am giving you guys sound right, or am I getting taken for a ride? It's funny, I work for an ad agency, but I am never involved in this side of the equation, so I am clueless. Thanks.

-Aaron


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 4:09:10 pm

I would simply ask for a new sales rep that listens.

We are all in the same boat of properly pricing our products for clients and this guy didn't listen to you. What if you had a client come in and pose a similar situation: They had $2500 to spend and you came back with only a $10K deal; never addressing what you could do for the $2500. Fail.

In this economy I have no patience for stupidity such as that. I'd look around for a media buyer that can provide very detailed demographics and target market. Forget about shotgunning the masses and spend your money wisely. (it seems as though they may have at least done that) You'll have a competitive bid which will help you learn that side of the biz.

And since you work for an ad agency, hopefully your relationship is good enough that you should ask them what you are asking here. Perhaps you should be doing an ad or other marketing materials for the agency as they probably have a larger sales force.


Steve



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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 4:17:42 pm

Steve,

Thanks for your swift response. Getting another bid from a media buyer is a great idea!

In regards to your suggestion that I talk to the agency I work for . . . I am in a unique situation. I work full-time for an ad agency as their in-house video production specialist. However, I also run my own production company on the side. This commercial would be an advertisement for my own company, not for the ad agency. I am not under a non-compete at the ad agency (they don't really pay me enough to demand that). Despite the lack of a non-compete, I try not to mix my side-business with my full-time job. I am protective of my ideas and projects, and I can't have my superiors at the agency trying to wedge themselves into my independent venture(s). If the situtation were different, your idea would be perfect.

Thanks for your help and advice. Like I said, I am clueless when it comes to buying media. Regardless of what happens, this is a good excercise for me.

Best,

Aaron



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Mark Suszko
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:33:32 pm

I think what's happening here is the cable company doesn't want you competing with them for the video spot production business, where they generally have a steel-trap lock, so they are pricing to discourage or cripple you.

I would also be skeptical that cable is where you want to advertise your video production services. I know at first blush it sounds logical and intuitive to advertise TV production on TV, however, my own opinion is that this is generally not what you want to do, for a couple of reasons. But maybe you have it figured another way that I'm not seeing. In any case, stick to your guns and pay what you want to pay... or walk.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:43:30 pm

I agree with Mark here. If you are advertising your production business on local cable - how many viewers of tv in general are potential customers for video services? I would say one out of 1000 at best. If you do weddings or bar mitzvah's, maybe 1 of out 328 or so. But I guess it is worth a try if you have the money to burn.

As for the quoted price, you basically say "I want to buy 1 month, not 6 months" and leave it at that. No one likes an over aggressive sales person, but there are a lot of them out there.

Mike Cohen


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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:49:38 pm

Mike,

I probably should have disclosed what the spot is for. It's offers tape/film to DVD transfers for people's old home movies. So it really doesn't compete with the cable company.

Best,

Aaron



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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:48:02 pm

Mark,

The spot is actually for Tape/film to DVD transfer services, so it doesn't compete with the cable company in any way. It's kind of a niche item, and I think a TV commercial is a great way to inspire people to have their old home movies transfered from tape and/or 8mm film to DVD.

-Aaron



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Mike Cohen
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:06:08 pm

[Aaron Cadieux] "The spot is actually for Tape/film to DVD transfer services"

Unfortunately Walmart, Costco and Target have killed this once lucrative small business service. $1000 seems like a lot to pay per month for a service that might fetch you $50 per job.

Mike



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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:12:58 pm

Mike,

I'll have to check out Walmart and Target on that. I've never seen tape/film to DVD transfer services offered at either store. I've actually paid to have 8mm film transfered in the recent past (before I had the capability), and it was very expensive. $50 sounds cheap for a film to DVD transfer.

-Aaron



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Mark Suszko
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:26:04 pm

Walgreens does it too, in their photo department. And at Walmart you can buy a VHS to DVD burner for under a hundred bucks and copy all day long, so you have that to compete with as well.

Really, what I was expecting Aaron was that you were going to try pitching wedding vids on Lifetime and oxygen and HGTV for a month, spring is coming after all. And I was going to suggest a different way to market event video services to you if that was the goal.


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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:02:59 pm

Mark,

I appreciate the advice you were going to give me. I actually am trying to get away from wedding/event videography. I know it pays well, but I don't have the stomach for it. One avenue that I am pushing lately is sports videography. I have been getting lots of phone calls for high school athletes that need recruiting highlight reels for college coaches.

-Aaron



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Nick Griffin
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:39:42 pm

[Aaron Cadieux] "The spot is actually for Tape/film to DVD transfer services"

Aaron -

I agree with Steve. It's a buyer's market out there and you should have little trouble getting a deal. That said... I'm not sure that broadcasting (even when it's cable) will provide a cost effective return for what is, in essence, a specialized service.

Traditional media buying logic dictates that most spots require a frequency of at least 6 or 7 before they become effective. Translation: the average person has to see a spot 6-7 times before it registers and produces a buying response -- from some small percentage of an audience. Therefore the last thing you need is to spread $2,500 worth of spots multiple cable channels. You will be much better served by concentrating on a single channel and a small number of programs. That's the only way to build enough frequency to get results. (IMHO.)

In addition to frequency you need to target your most likely demographic (age) and psychographic (attitude/ pre-disposition). The transfers you are selling would be of little interest to most people under 50. I also believe that women will be more predisposed to want these than will men. So there's your media buy. Go for the Senior channel(s) during daytime hours and sticking to just a couple or a few programs. But none of this guarantees that it will bring in more than it costs you to advertise it. Just a little more likely to actually work.



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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:59:16 pm

Nick,

Yeah, you think on the same lines as me. I discussed this w/ the cable company and told them my target demo was women 40+ who were technologically inept. hahaha.

Here's why I chose to market DVD transfer serviecs. I was hired to edit a show that will be airing nationally on DirecTV this spring. I am working at a reduced rate, so as a perk, the producers offered me free advertising. I get to run a 30-second spot every episode. There are 13 episodes, each airing twice for a total of 26 showings. As a result, I needed to produce a spot that could bring in business. The only service that I offer that would work nationally is DVD transfer services. Not everyone needs a video produced for their business, not everyone is going to hire a freelancer from thousands of miles away to shoot an event, but EVERYBODY has old home movies lying around on tape and/or film. And most of those people woudn't think to have the movies transfered unless it was suggested to them (like in a 30-second spot). Once I had the spot produced for DirecTV, I figured I should look into running it on local cable as well.

Best,

Aaron



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Steve Kownacki
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:31:08 pm

I have 2 thoughts on your last post, the major one being What if your ad actually works?! A national ad, can you field 100, 250, 500 phone calls? And then are you capable of getting the work done?

I don't do the home transfers - I tell them to by a unit for $70 at Target, but will do the same VHS transfer for a business client at $45/hr for the opportunity to get a foot in the door.

Although many stores take orders for the transfers at their film counters, they do send them out to other facilities for the actual dub. The biggest selling point to local customers is that their precious memories stay safe in your hands in your shop - not some unknown place and trusted to a delivery dude or the mail. Which is counter to your soliciting people to mail stuff to you. And can your mailbox hold it all? And do you have time to do the shipping?

Does DirectTV let you target markets/regions, or is it all or nothing? Maybe you could do an east coast test run for instance? Although keep in mind the 6 views per set of eyes as Nick said and if it only runs 1 time per show, well 1/2 your buy is eaten up.

Steve



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cowcowcowcowcow
Mark Suszko
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:31:44 pm

You may not like this idea, but if you are getting a free slot in the program, don't advertise your own services in it. Make some REAL money. Use the spot to SELL some product direct-response, or go out and find another advertiser who will pay you to put something in that spot that will make money in a nationwide airing. Tap into your inner Billy Mays.


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:37:32 pm

Mark gets 4 stars!

Steve



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Mark Suszko
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:52:40 pm

As to the sports recording thing, Aaron, I would look at a google Adsense/AdWords campaign based on ESPN's web site, and any other sports web sites that would best relate to your regional market.

What you want is for an ad pop-up when people are looking up the final scores or local sports report on the high school and college games every week. There's an aggregator for your target demographic of ambitious parents and their kids dreaming of college and the big leagues.

I would start maybe with a web ad on the sports page of the local paper and local TV news station: "I help the scouts check you out! AC's sports portfolio video services, customized presentations for your sports career".


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 8:30:08 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Tap into your inner Billy Mays."


Wouldn't that require a seance?

Sorry.

Ron Lindeboom


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Mark Suszko
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 11:13:51 pm

Not if you send me only three easy payments at $19.95 each, for the do-it yourself seance-o-matic!

My advice stands as far as the free spot on Dish; find an existing product or service advertiser with something that appeals to the target audience of this show you edited, sell the air time you have to THEM, at a markup, of course. Invest the income back into your business. This is actually what the show's producers are probaly doing, but they didn't want to do the legwork to find a client advertiser for that empty spot. This is your chance, Aaron, to wheel and deal and be your OWN ad agency. This is how you move up to become an account executive, make mad bank, and get some control of your destiny.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 8:00:18 pm

[Nick Griffin] "I'm not sure that broadcasting (even when it's cable) will provide a cost effective return for what is, in essence, a specialized service."


My thought exactly, Nick.

There's no way Aaron will make his money back on a media buy like this. It is just TOO narrow a product pitch and the cost is too high.

This kind of thing is perfect for something like Google Adwords, but is definitely a poor buy on cable, even if the spots are all focused on business channels, etc.

As an example: Kathlyn and I *used* to advertise our production business in the Yellow Pages and after a few years of calls regarding "Hey, can you tape the movie I just rented from the video store without getting those scrambled lines?" and stuff like that, we gave up. I can't recall ever once getting a legitimate client that we didn't first get ourselves by going after them directly on our own, or that came from a referral from someone they knew.

Pitching something as specialized as transfer services is going to have the TV scratching their heads and going "Huh?$#@!?" -- while Aaron's bank account gets siphoned to the tune of a few dollars per scratch. (I say specialized, because as Mike Cohen points out Wal-Mart has been doing this for years. The market for this is largely theirs. Trying to take the few jobs that remain in this field for $1000 a month is just not a good investment.)

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
CEO, CreativeCOW.net

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 14, 2010 at 4:01:53 pm

[Steve Kownacki] "I would simply ask for a new sales rep that listens. We are all in the same boat of properly pricing our products for clients and this guy didn't listen to you. What if you had a client come in and pose a similar situation: They had $2500 to spend and you came back with only a $10K deal; never addressing what you could do for the $2500. Fail."


Not necessarily, Steve. Any good salesman learned long ago that if the "budget" is one number, then that number plus a "bump" is quite likely the result -- if the presentation is done well enough, with enough clear reason to show the merit and value in the up-sell.

Rarely have I missed an up-sell. I *never* believe that the customer is telling me the "real and final locked-in-concrete" price. I take the "budget" as a suggestion, nothing more.

From there, I always quickly mentally construct a "good, better, best" scenario, using their suggested budget as the good level. Often, after a well presented case for each, they will step up to the better or best option for the increased budget. Rarely does it end with the suggested and proposed budget as the final answer.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 15, 2010 at 12:55:33 pm

[Ron Lindeboom] "if the presentation is done well enough, with enough clear reason to show the merit and value in the up-sell."

I agree with your entire response Ron. I interpreted Aaron's original statement that no reasoning was provided and that's what caused the frustration.

Steve



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Ron Gerber
Re: Cable Advertising Question
on Mar 12, 2010 at 8:26:04 pm

They want me to sign a 6-month commitment for $4200

Having worked in cable for a bunch of years I can tell you that the AE that wanted you to sign a 6 month commitment has a boss that is asking for revenue projections. So by asking you to sign on for 6 months they are just trying to make budget numbers look good. The 6 month contract also helps lock in your air time rates.

If you want to advertise, ask them what their cancelation policy is. From my general experience, they won't hold you to the contract - they probably will just ask you for a week or 2 weeks notice to cancel.

Good luck on the new venture.




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