Budget. Allocate. Market : Making the most of $500

I was on the marketing team for a BUTV10 Show called “Paper Trail.” We were four college sophomores trying to come up with a marketing plan. Watch the series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_vQy8dXuyZzePQt3tvRN87VLaEjYznEQ

Budget: How much do I have?

I work for an independent TV show and we are releasing our first episode on YouTube in about three weeks. As a small organization we cannot afford to hire an Ad agency, and our marketing department consists of four people, including myself, working with a $500 budget.

The four of us empty out our wallets and, apart from a couple of quarters, a few pennies and a $5 Starbucks gift card, we don’t have any other funds apart from the allocated budget.

How can we make the most of a $500 marketing budget?

Allocate: How much to spend on what

We decide to gather information on how much things cost. Since we are catering to an online market, we go ahead and set up all the requisite free social media accounts — Twiiter, Facebook and Instagram. Social media is both free and effective for promoting images and content related to our TV show.

Commercial advertising on social media is also a great tool for promotion. Let’s take Facebook advertising for example. If we decide to advertise on Facebook by assigning $2 per click on our ads, we’d need at least a $4daily budget. For our agenda, we give Facebook a 20-day advertising lifetime budget of $100; Facebook gets $2 per click and our daily spending on Facebook is no more than $5.

We would also have to ensure that the 20-day advertisement runs before and after the airing of our first episode. There are plenty of other platforms that we can advertise on, but we will stick to Facebook for now.

Our new budget is $400.

While we don’t have the capital to grace billboards and televisions, we do have the caffeine-induced energy to go around distributing flyers, posters and goodies.

There are several reasons why the traditional advertisement methods are still effective.

Firstly, an aesthetic poster placed at the right location is extremely effective in attracting eyeballs. Our main intent while designing our poster is to give the basic information — what is the show’s name, what is it about, and where and when will it air — in an attractive way that presents our vision for the show. If its a detective thriller, we can employ film noir techniques. If its a romantic comedy then an image of a couple or a group of friends is generally effective in conveying the message.

Secondly, flyers and goodies are pervasive. The more stuff you distribute, the more your audience knows about you. “Did you see that flyer for that show?” “Yes, I got it too!” “Heard they were giving out pens…” “What’s it about?” By employing eye-catching headlines and easy-to-read text, we can make flyers excellent promotional tools.

Let’s determine the costs.

The printing cost for about 100 quarter-page flyers is $20, and it costs about $40 for a decent-sized poster. In order to get about 500 flyers and at least 2 posters, we would pay about $240. For goodies, even a 100 custom made pens would cost about a $1 each, costing us another $100. If we go ahead and order all of this…

Our new budget is $60

What should we do with our remaining capital? Should we increase our social media advertising? Should we order more posters? Or should we save this money for future investments?

Market: Is my voice being heard?

Facebook advertising is not fail proof, and its hard to ensure how many people it reaches. The vast Facebook demographic also ensures that we have difficulty determining the exact audience that would be receiving, and hopefully clicking, on our advertisements.

Yet, the very fact that we have a commercial presence attracts credibility for our show. A catchy tagline, an interesting plot and a well-timed ad is bound to attract at least some viewers. Once we have a base audience, we can extend our social media advertising to other platforms like YouTube and Twitter.

Our traditional advertisements require planning and timeliness to reach the most amount of people. The ideal places to give out flyers would be coffee shops, college campuses, cyber-cafes and libraries — Young Adults’ haunts, which is also the major YouTube audience. Posters would have to be placed at mass gathering locations (like dining halls and residence halls), and places where visibility is maximum (like outdoor seating areas, lawns etc.).

Overall, with 500$, we can hope to gather viewership for a small-scale production. Our main priority is establishing a loyal base-audience that will help publicize the show once it airs.

Originally published at ayusha18.wordpress.com on September 16, 2014.

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