As many marketing professionals will tell you, using video to market your product is effective because your message is focused. It always repeats itself correctly and it shows your product from the point of view of your choosing. You control the information.
Since 1988, I have created marketing videos for many products and many companies. The budgets have ranged from tiny to huge. I am happy to do either, but often, a new client isn’t sure what steps to take in order to get the marketing product they need. Normally I get this question from marketing pros who are prospective clients, “how much does a marketing video cost?” It is tempting to respond with a similar question, how long is a string? But that would be unprofessional, right? The question of cost is important and needs to addressed right upfront. However, the cost of creating a video isn’t measured by the pound. It doesn’t lend itself to easy “one size fits all” pricing.
To accurately predict a price, I need a clear idea of your wants and needs. Bids based on a misunderstanding can come in too low or too high. A severe misunderstanding could result in spending your budget without meeting your goals. The answers to the questions that follow begin the budgeting process. I need to understand your marketing plan to create a product that works correctly every time.
The process of creating a marketing video can be divided into three distinct phases, pre-production, production, and post-production. Some of the most important work in creating effective marketing videos comes before any lights get turned on or any camera rolls. The pre-production work gives us a blueprint so we get the video that you need to do the task you need to be done. It’s the plan.
Here are my questions relating to pre-production:
- What are you promoting? A service, a product, your company, an idea?
- Who is your audience? Are you selling seed to farmers, real estate to investors, services to new clients, new products to existing clients?
- Is there a written script? Will the script be written internally or will you need a writer?
- How would you like to distribute the final product and do you have a ballpark budget in mind? These two questions are related and drive the format choices which in turn drive price considerations. Are you trying to do Superbowl quality or local cable advertising quality? Perhaps somewhere in the middle?
- What is your distribution budget?
- Do you have a final length in mind?
- What is your deadline?
Production is the part that most people think of when they think of making a marketing video. Lights, camera, action, and all of that glamorous stuff. It’s actually not that glamorous because it’s done by sweaty guys wearing t-shirts and shorts with lots of pockets. A few important points for everyone to realize are that real actors cost money, a thirty-second commercial takes more than thirty seconds to shoot and the location does affect the budget.
Here are some important production questions:
- Are you trying to record a demonstration or an event?
- Are you going to need actors? Are the actors intrinsic to the product, i.e., is it a product that needs an operator to demonstrate?
- How much space will the product need?
- Indoors or outdoors?
- Are the safety considerations inherent to the location? Will the production crew need special training or permitting to work on the location?
The post-production process can vary wildly in cost. The decisions made back in pre-production drive post-production expenses, so these decisions belong at the beginning of the entire process. It’s a huge factor in final prices. Did you shoot a two-minute product demonstration that was done correctly, well lit with clean audio? That could take as little as half a day in post. Did you shoot a thirty-second spot on a green screen with a dozen actors set on a computer-generated alien landscape? A week or more of post-production wouldn’t be unusual.
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Here are some important points to consider about post-production:
- Do you have existing marketing collateral such as logos or company trademarks that need to be used?
- Is your subject matter expert available for the edit?
- What about musical rights? Do you have an existing jingle?
- What format will you need for replication?
- Who has the final approval?
If you are considering making a video for use in your marketing, planning is essential in order to do it well. This video is supposed to influence the customers opinion of the product. It’s going to be repeated over and over, right? Asking a few questions of yourself upfront can focus your production process, help you keep costs in line and result in more effective marketing video