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Video Budgeting Strategy Tips for 2015

video budgeting tips

If your marketing plans for 2015 include video, this post is for you. This is the season for planning and budgeting, so I’ll consolidate the suggestions I’ve offered my clients in hopes that they help you.

Clients sometimes ask a question like “I want to produce X amount of Y video this year, how much should I be budgeting?”

To answer this question, the main driver of budget typically is determining the business use of “Y” - awareness, conversion, lead gen, etc.  Just look at where the video fits into the sales process for your niche.

Generally, the less your audience knows about your product/service, the more ‘stopping power’, wow factor, and polish, your content needs to cut through and get attention. A good yet extreme example here is a Superbowl commercial for a brand new type of product that no one knows about. You’d need to boost awareness by engaging.

The more your audience knows about your product, they less polished it might need to be. A classic example is a tutorial video for an existing customer. If they just bought your product and now they just need to know how to use it, it doesn’t need much ‘sizzle’, it just needs to be clear.

To help you narrow down the estimated budget scope some helpful questions to answer are:


  • Think about this product or service offering this video will support. What does it do?
  • Is this a new category, a challenger to an alternative, a new and improved version of what you already offer, or are you supporting an existing offering?
  • What'€™s new, interesting and exciting about it?
  • For this product to win will it steal market share from a competitor or capture share of a fast growing category?

Marketing Objectives:

  • Think about the overall marketing campaign that this video will support.
  • What is the core marketing business objective? (Drive leads, downloads, retail sales, etc.)
  • What are the key messages for the marketing campaign?
  • What is the single most important message?

  • Communications Challenge:

  • Think about the challenges in communicating this offering.
  • Is the product hard to understand? (complex, new category)
  • Is it easy to understand, but so new that people haven’t heard of its category before?
  • Do people know the category, but they don’t know you’re offering it?
  • Do they know the category and know your offering, but don’t know why yours is better than the alternatives?
  • Can you quantify the size of the audience you’d like to know about this offering? (millions, hundreds of thousands, thousands, just a few select people)
  • Where do you think this video fits into this marketing campaign? Is it more about deep understanding or broader awareness?
  • What is the tone of your brand? (professorial, easy going, goofy)
  • Do you have some examples of other marketing materials from your company that hit the tone you want?

  • Target:

  • Think about who needs to see this content.
  • Describe the marketing campaign’s primary targets?
  • Are there segments within that audience?
  • Can you prioritize those segments? (if you could only reach one with this video who would it be)
  • How will people see this video? (part of a media buy, social media, on your website)

This is a long list and you might not know all this stuff. That’s okay, it’s just a checklist. A tool to narrow things down.

Bottom Line:

If you’re in a hurry and just need some rough ballpark figures I think these are a reasonable estimate, per video:

Basic videos: $1-5K (basic ‘how to’s’, training, tutorials, software demos, social media/blog content)

Medium: $5-25K (Respectable content, have some sizzle, polished and impressive, nice interviews, success stories, client testimonials, sexy product shots, etc. )

Advanced: $25K-100K and up. (Product launches, ads, complex productions, brand anthem videos, animated sizzle reels, etc.)

*These estimate ranges might vary greatly depending on what your content is, the quality level it’s created at and when, how and where it’s produced.

One final note is that most marketers are now incorporating video into their strategies. It’s going to be increasingly hard to stand out in an increasingly cluttered marketplace. By narrowing down the goals of your video and the target audience, you can better create a plan that is more effective, if you’re able to allocate the budget required to reasonably expect to achieve your goals. Once you start cutting corners, it’s hard to stop – and when you do, you can easily end up with an ineffective piece of content, and nobody wants that.

Good luck!

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