Is TV advertising on a budget possible?

I’d like to start advertising on TV but am worried the costs will get out of control. Is it possible to make it work on a budget?


A. Tim Moore of Endowment Claims writes:

We have experimented with TV advertising on a limited budget and, after some fine-tuning, are getting results that more than pay for themselves. Our first decision was to look carefully at the competing satellite channels that could each deliver an audience that, while quite small, gave a close match to the consumer profile we were selling to. This seemed wiser than spreading our money thinly on any of the big network stations with broad mass audiences.

Then we sorted out our objectives so as to give the clearest possible brief to the potential agencies. We had been using newspaper advertising successfully to pull in enquiries, and had a good idea of what appeals would trigger a response. So we were able to see who came up with TV approaches that looked as if they could build up the level of enquiries we were getting cost-effectively.

Our second decision was to choose our partners carefully. We needed the help of two agencies – one to advise on which channels would best reach our target audience and negotiate the best time-buying deals, and another to develop a commercial. In both cases, we decided to look at relatively small agencies because we knew our limited budget would be important to them and they would be more willing to work closely with us.

We asked the media buyers to see if they could achieve the level of repeat viewings we needed, on a budget of £20,000 a month. To get customers to take action, we reckoned we needed people to see our message at least three times in a two-week period – once to register that the offer was relevant to them, secondly to make them think about doing something and thirdly to get them to make contact.

Then we asked the creatives to get our message across in 20 or 30 seconds with a £12,000 budget. We eventually chose a simple, animated commercial that focused on customers’ problems, offered a clear solution and prompted action.

We measured results by getting enquirers to tell us where they had heard about us. When this information had built up, we were able to cut out some of the channels and concentrate our spend where it worked. The costper- enquiry that we are now getting compares well with newspaper advertising and our teams of expert claims handlers are working around the clock.

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