19 Jun 2017
Strategic Planning, Marketing Plans | Marketing Agency Denver CO | Advertising

The Basics of Television Marketing

In May of 1938, the world was forever changed. The newly invented television was finally made available to the American public, and began a long tradition of appearing in almost every home. Though we didn’t yet know it, this advent also changed the way we do marketing. For the first time, we were allowed into the American home to share our clients’ wares at an unexpectedly personal level. Though the first real television ad wasn’t aired until 1941 (check it out here; it’s a heckuva watch), it has absolutely changed how we market to consumers.

Over the years, television has grown to be the advertising arena reserved for the heavy hitters. With prime-time ad spots running in the higher end of six figures, it’s no surprise that we mostly see companies like P&G, phone companies, and every big car manufacturer you can think of. Despite the cost constraints, it is still unwise for the small business to completely write it off. Many local stations reserve special time for business around the area to toss in their own ads at a discount. Though still a pricier form of advertising, the number of customers reached can be incredible. On any given night, view rates in Denver alone can reach over 100,000 viewers.

Much like everything else in marketing, success in television advertising is really based on knowing your target market. Different demographic groups watch different shows at different times. It’s no surprise that an advertisement targeted to millennials will do poorly in the “The Price is Right” 10am block. Because of the value of this type of demographic information, many market research firms like Nielsen have made it their focus (check out this list for more). They also provide information on the view ratings of shows, which has a direct impact on ad rates. Of course, all of this information comes at a price, which may make it more profitable to conduct your own research or to work with your ad agency to make educated postulations.

Of course, no blog post on television advertising would be complete without some discussion on the design of the campaign. Ads are generally kept short, and for good reason. Most stations will charge per second for their air time, making long-winded messages very expensive. Figure out what the bare bones of your advertisement should be, then make it sound interesting. The industry average runs about 30 seconds per ad, and is a good target to aim for. Remember, keeping it shorter means cheaper. Once you have what you want to say, you need to figure out where to say it. This is where your market research comes in to play. The best campaigns find a balance between high exposure rates, cost, and the demographic reached. This is done by understanding your target market, and estimating potential ROI.

At the end of the day, wither or not to use television advertising should be a conversation between you and your chosen marketing agency. You may come to the conclusion that the cost is not worth the potential gain. In which case, there are many other marketing channels to chose from. Coincidentally (yes this is a corny segue), we will be going over the pros and cons of a few different popular marketing channels. Stay tuned for more ideas form Encite!


Adam is a graduate of Colorado State University (bachelor’s degree in marketing), and he has experience on both the client and agency side of the marketing world. These experiences led him to come up with a unique, more efficient business model, which he’s incorporated into Encite Marketing. Adam sets the strategic direction for all Encite projects, developing integrated marketing campaigns that bring results. He takes a consultative approach with clients, educating them about how the process works, and keeping them in the loop about end goals, steps, and tasks.