By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
How to take advantage of new opportunities to include TV ads in your marketing plan
It is possible to control television production and media costs and still deliver a professional-quality message with strong results. TV may not be right for every healthcare marketing plan, but it’s no longer out of reach. New media options, friendly broadcast rates, and tight budget control make TV a sensible consideration for hospitals, healthcare organizations and practices.
Television is a pervasive medium that rarely gets a second thought in many healthcare marketing plans. If TV is considered even briefly, the costs for media (buying the air time), and the costs for production (creating the commercials) are assumed to be prohibitive.
Actually, there are now some highly affordable ways to put this powerful medium to work. We want to be the first to tell you that television doesn’t belong in everyone’s external marketing plan, and we’re only likely to recommend TV as a layer within a healthcare media campaign.
But where it’s appropriate, TV might be an option within your reach after all. Here’s why…
Media costs are soft. As we’ve noted in other articles, broadcast rates are more negotiable than ever in challenging economic times. You can extend your buying power with preemptable positions, strong repetition and leveraged buying with a Media Buyer. You need to know where to look, how to shop and where to buy, but attractive discounts are available. (Note: you will save money with a good media buyer – the money they save you will greatly outweigh their nominal commissions.)
Media strategy counts big time. One of our readers called last week to tell us that he is cleaning up by targeting women watching daytime television. We can’t disclose too much due to confidentiality issues, but we can tell you that he and his colleagues are successful because they followed their buyer’s advice and have the right mix of “reach” and “frequency.”
Digital broadcasting has expanded the number of media options. Anyone with cable, satellite, broadband, fiber optics or other such connections recognizes that there are hundreds of programming choices. The question of “where to advertise” is more complex and far-reaching in the digital age, but it’s a bigger field than ever. The main categories are NETWORK, LOCAL/INDEPENDENT, and CABLE&mdash but there are more and more options under each heading. In short, the increased supply is competing with lower rates.
There are creative ways to communicate without breaking the bank. A TV commercial that is produced on the cheap, inevitably looks cheap and unprofessional. It’s tough to look good with a modest budget when your message runs next to the work of a powerhouse national ad agency with an astronomical budget.
An amateur effort will stand out as bad by comparison. But with the right creative approach, script and storyboard…and with all production costs firmly under control, your message can (a) produce high ROI results, (b) look and feel completely professional, and (c) be cost effective. You’ll find attention-getting, effective and professional creative examples on this page.
Working within a reasonable budget, this impactful TV commercial seamlessly brought together the primary message formula of PROBLEM + SOLUTION + WHY YOU? + OFFER + DEADLINE, ending with a call to action and prominent phone number. (For other creative examples in the HSS portfolio, call us.)
Depending on your script, further economies may be possible in the editing process that delivers 1-minute, 30-second and 15-second spots from the same production effort.
If you are willing to invest a bit in production, 30-minute informercials can work as well. While Stewart is spoiled – early in his career his first spokesperson was Cher – you don’t have to spend millions of dollars to get on the air. In fact, nowadays we have relationships where you can get a 30-minute infomercial created for a fraction of what you’d expect.
Television can be a powerful tool for marketing private practices, group practices, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations. It’s not necessarily the place to get your feet wet, but in the right circumstances, it may fit a larger media mix.
And if your media plan has a lot of moving parts, a Media Buyer can save you money, manage the overall selection, placement, budget, and guide the implementation of all the media flights to build synergy for greatest effectiveness.