Advertising -- whether in print or on the Internet, radio or television -- can be costly. For many industries, though, TV advertising can be an effective way to get the word out to potential customers. Because local businesses are not as well-heeled as large corporations, which create national ad campaigns, identify a target audience and come up with a message that will resonate with it. Finding a production company that will handle the entire process, from writing to casting to editing -- within the limits of your budget -- can prove to be a good strategy.

Step 1.

Devise your approach. If you do not have a marketing department, enlist the help of an employee or even your spouse. Think about what you want to convey in this commercial. You may want to introduce your product or service to the local community, reach out to a potentially profitable market segment or raise your business’s profile as a branding effort. Getting a handle on the purpose of your commercial will help you to develop the idea and, eventually, hire contractors or a company to realize it.

Step 2.

Look for production companies that can produce a commercial from start to finish. Solicit word-of-mouth recommendations on quality companies or place classified ads. Check with a local film or art school; some of them track the activities of their graduates. As you develop a list of candidates, ask to see demo reels of previous work.

Step 3.

Narrow the list of prospects, based on experience, reputation and availability, and ask for bids from the best candidates. Be wary of companies that quote an hourly fee, even if they give an estimated number of hours. If keeping costs down is a priority, try to get a single fee for the entire project.

Step 4.

Have the chosen production company develop some concepts for your review. Choose the one you feel best suits your marketing priorities. Once the company has developed a script, review it before approving it. If casting actors is involved, you can be the ultimate authority in that decision-making process. It is your responsibility to ensure that the look and feel of the finished piece aligns with your brand and supports your business objectives.

Step 5.

Attend or send a representative to the commercial shoot to ensure that your business objectives are met. Due to time or other constraints, changes are sometimes made to the shooting script during production. Your on-set presence ensures that such changes are not so severe as to defeat your marketing objectives.

Step 6.

Screen the final product. Post-production work may take a few days or weeks. Once the commercial has been delivered, check the final version to ensure it still supports your objectives. If it does not -- and changes can still be made via editing processes -- ask for those changes. Once you have committed your business dollars to an advertising project, ensure that you get your money’s worth from it.


Cable companies often offer local businesses commercial production and placement packages. Look into this possibility in your community. If you are able to screen your commercial before people who represent your target audience, you will discover clues as to its effectiveness and may be able to tweak it to better suit your objectives.