How to get more out of your advertising production budgets

(c)iStock.com/Pamela Moore

The start of any year always begins with some sort of review of where you’re at, how you’re doing against your objectives and goals, but most importantly, what your budget will be or where you stand currently.  One of the most expensive parts of the advertising cycle is production, so even though you may be looking at how you’re doing against agreed budgets, you should also pay extra attention to utilising the best of what you have. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re still on track with your advertising.

Who’s your audience?

This sounds quite simple, but you’d be surprised how many still get this part wrong. Take a real look at your target audience – who do you really want and need to get to with this particular campaign.

Why? Digital has left us believing that we need to target anyone and everyone who could possibly be interested in our product, service or platform - all without drilling down to those that really matter. It’s become an automatic assumption. As we’re in an ‘online’ world, there’s a tendency to widen the target net further and feel we should be across every platform because the customer is. In reality, target audiences are really a lot smaller or they should at least start this way and grow as your campaign does.

You can easily narrow down your targets audience with a process of elimination through insight before you have perfectly defined your audience. In my experience, a campaign is more successful and targeted once you hone in on who it should be aimed at. It will not only make it more successful (of course dependent on other elements), but you’ll find that this will help keep ad budgets and spend in line with what you originally set out. The more you focus, the better the outcome and the more targeted your campaign.

Utilise your brand assets

For every new campaign you need new assets to make an impact, right? Wrong. Every time you build a new campaign, it doesn’t mean that you have to create new assets to run alongside it. Why does something need to be brand spanking new each time when you can instead create something new with what you’ve already got?

Re-using content and existing materials is a great way of keeping ad production budgets to a minimum. And if you’re worried that the content will look the same, there are many ways to adapt and tweak things so it doesn’t. Always think ahead as there will be elements and ideas you can easily use again – but in a different way. Try doing things from one central point. It’s all about centralising production to get the best outcome. And for brand consistency you may top and tail with the same look and feel, but it’ll be the content in between that changes. If you have a good production facility, they’ll be able to take multiple variations and blend content in a way that will look like new.

Time for technology

How will you build your campaign and what will you use to get you there? Whether social media content, TV spots, print ads or banner campaigns, you should use a technology platform that allows you to reach audiences in different platforms – and preferably in one go. Often people think about the individual elements of a campaign and how it is displayed without thinking about how elements can get dynamically generated. There are a Digital Asset Management and ad building platforms such as Double Click, Flash Talking, Sizmek which offer an integrated, future-proof solution. The key is to think about smart production methods. But if you want to take the hassle out of doing it yourself, look for an advertising production agency to help you.

Creativity is key

Being creative poses a challenge as one idea may work well in one territory, but not so well in another. Then factor in the sheer nature of the campaign – the target audience, the outcomes, the mechanics, and how it will eventually look and be perceived – and it can often mean any creativity tends to go out the window. As dynamic and personalised content begins to take precedence, creativity will become more important, so make sure you set aside time at points in the campaign to make sure the creative idea still shines through.

Stay focused

It may sound blindingly obvious but try to stay focused. We’ve all been victim to straying from initial plans. With so many variants, audiences, technology, engagements and interactions to think about, it’s easy to veer off track.

Take time to think back to where you want to get to – and most importantly - who you want to get to and you’ll find that will help with budgeting. I’ll leave you with that. 

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