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It's funny how people approach their money when making big decisions, isn't it? Take purchasing a home, for example. You invest in a home for your future, so when a Realtor asks you what price range you're shopping in, you share it! Should buying video marketing be any different?

NO!!

Sorry, no point in beating around the bush here. Sharing your budget is a no-brainer when making an investment... especially when that investment is into a really important personal or business decision. 

Buying a home is an enormous personal decision, just like choosing how to spend your marketing dollars -- in this case, into video, but really into any content marketing -- is a really important business decision. So why is it so common to share your price range (aka: budget) with a Realtor, but turn around and hide it with a video production company? Why does that happen?
 

You invest in a home for your future, so when a Realtor asks you what price range you're shopping in, you share it! Should buying video marketing be any different?



A Brief Overview Of the Video Production Industry
Believe it or not, video production is actually a very standardized industry; meaning that videos really do cost, on average, almost the exact same across the board regardless of the vendor you decide to hire. The trouble is that very often when Request For Proposals (RFP's) are given, they are sent to multiple video production companies -- sometimes ones that don't even specialize in the sort of service the client is looking for -- that all bid on different levels of project. Here's what happens:

Company 1   Starts dreaming up the best possible commercial project they can imagine! It requires sets to be built, talent to be hired, and multiple days of shooting.

Company 2   Starts building the most economic, single-camera production they possibly can... it features you, in your office, shot in a half day.

RESULT:   The company that issued the RFP wonders why the "same video" has such a huge price disparity! Was the RFP not clear enough? Is Company 1 just a price gauger? Is Company 2 just really cheap and unprofessional?

Ok, sort of silly and extreme but the point is this:  Regardless of how detailed you think your RFP is, there is always room to scale up or scale down a video production. And honestly, unless you give all of your potential video vendors your real budget, you won't see a fair representation or what they all could do for you.
 

Regardless of how detailed you think your proposal is, there is always room to scale up or scale down a video production.



Why Buying a Video Is LIke Buying a Home
Imagine yourself, for a second, sitting down with a Realtor and saying, "Actually, Ms. Realtor, I'm not going to tell you how much I want to spend on this house. Instead, I want you to show me houses that fit my RFP:  three beds, two baths, and some other creative things. I have three other Realtors also submitting some homes to me and whoever presents me with the one that fits my hidden budget and this RFP the best will win my business!"

You can feel the answer weighing down on you... it's looming on the horizon... "NO!"

That would NEVER fly! The reason isn't because the Realtor wants to make a higher commission, it's because they literally can't help you if they don't know what you are able to spend. Why? Because there are plenty of three bed, two bath, creative homes that cost $200K in neighborhood X... and others that cost $1.3M in neighborhood Y.

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It's not rocket science, it's simple:  There are factors that can very quickly inflate or deflate the price of a home that are outside of your description of things that are important to you. School district, location, and taxes just to name a few.

The same is true when you're buying a video:  Although your RFP may cover every last detail down to the nuts and bolts, there are always external factors that can and will affect your production costs. How long people will be working on editing your project, what sorts of effects (and yes, adding names and intro/outro slides counts!) are involved, and what camera you're using just to name a few.
 

Although your RFP may cover every last detail down to the nuts and bolts, there are always external factors that can and will affect your production costs.



A Few Takeaways...
Because it's never good to just leave with a bunch of comparisons and negativity. We need constructed, actionable "next steps", and here they are:

  1. Buying a video -- like buying a house -- can be complicated because there are many factors out of your control. That is why transparency is key to a successful (and enjoyable) experience.
  2. SHARE YOUR BUDGET with your vendor and/or prospective vendors. This will allow them to help you the most efficiently and effectively because they will build something you can and want to afford.
  3. Trust your video partner enough to plan with and for you -- it will save you time, energy, and money! If you're not sharing your budget because you're scared that you will be charged more, that means you don't trust your vendor... and you shouldn't work with people/vendors you don't trust. That's a problem in itself!

 

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About the Author
Jake LeVoir is the Director of Sales at Slate and Main. He has built a career on helping organizations grow by developing engaging video campaigns that drive consumer traffic and increase brand awareness.

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