Tuning in to the advertising bargains

If you live in central Queensland and watched the grand final of MasterChef last weekend, there’s a good chance that you saw a rather dynamic local small business among the scenes of Matt, George and Gary toying with the emotions of the finalists with their painfully-drawn out judging.


The Rockhampton franchise of hair and beauty brand Hairhouse Warehouse managed to bag a 30-second commercial during the coverage for a paltry $460.


With an estimated seven in 10 viewers of the 250,000-strong central Queensland region tuning into the show, the return on investment was impressive, especially considering that six extra TV spots were thrown into the bargain, during other Ten Network shows such as Renovators and Modern Family.


So how can small businesses get such great bargains and punch well above their modest marketing budgets?


For Hairhouse Warehouse, the deal was the culmination of a long-term strategy. Although the franchise pays a weekly 3% marketing fee to head office, it also sets aside between 3 and 6% of its weekly revenue for extra campaigns.


“”We always commit long term to marketing, not just one or two months at a time,” explains Jason Kliese, who co-owns the franchise along with his wife Jodie.


“We signed a 13-month deal with Channel Seven last year. We also advertise on (local radio station) Hot FM and their sales rep rang up to say that there was space to fill on Ten during the MasterChef grand final.


“I believe that you need to see or hear about a brand 21 times to respond to it. If you just do it once or twice it doesn’t have the cut through.


“It was phenomenal exposure for us. Last week, our sales were 27% up compared with the same week last year. A few people have come in and mentioned the ad.”


In for the long haul


Kliese’s long-term focus on marketing has two key benefits – it allows him to plan for periods of year when cashflow is weak, such as in the months following the Christmas surge, as well as help foster long-term relationships with media sales reps.


“When you look at the marketing spend of Harvey Norman or Good Guys, I’d say that we punch well above our weight,” he says. “You have to form a good relationship with the reps and make it a win-win – they hit their targets and get guaranteed business, while you get the fantastic offers given to you.”


“Once a week I will see the sales rep for Hot FM and Ten, and then every three weeks I’ll see Channel Seven.”


Given the rates that Kliese pays, it’s easy to see why he puts in the effort with the reps. Radio spots can sell for as little as $20 for 30 seconds, while TV will be upwards of $35. Production costs for a 15-second TV spot are around $200.


The Queensland floods deterred many local small businesses from marketing themselves, pushing down the prices for those looking to continue advertising.


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