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How to Compare Marketing Video Proposals in 3 Steps

posted Jul 24, 2017, 12:00 PM by Shayne L. van Vlerken   [ updated Jul 24, 2017, 12:00 PM ]

How to Compare Marketing Video Proposals in 3 Steps

This blog is designed to save you money by helping you choose the right video quote, even if you don’t know a lot about video. It includes many real world examples to help you find your way through the maze of video proposals.

Everything starts with the video proposal – the document that’ll define what you actually get in your final video, whether your video is in a filmed, digital or animated style – or any mix of these.

As an experienced video buyer you’ll obviously already know this.

But when you’re presented with a series of proposals, how can you tell which quote will deliver you the value you need, in the style you’re looking for? And where can you make effective savings?

Here are the 3 steps to comparing video proposals, so you can compare apples with oranges, and come out on top by paying less than you might have otherwise.

Step 1 – Day rates

No matter what style of video you’re making, every marketing video production services company will have 2 core base rates:

  1. The studio edit day rate
  2. The film crew day rate

There can be other day rates for different specialists, but these two rates will always be there, so it’s where to start.

This is because studio edit time and film crew days will likely be where the bulk of your money is going in the production, so it pays to know where you’re spending the most.

No matter what other video production costs are involved in your quote, for example a cast of actors, a celeb presenter, set design, or a dozen library footage clips, the core day rate allows you to compare and contrast in a fair way, and make you own mind up in an informed manner.

Sometimes the edit day rate is called motion design, or something to do with animation, but it’s still the core day rate you’re paying.

Similarly with film crews: There may be 2nd or 3rd cameras or specialist steadicam or lighting. But the core 1 director plus 1 camera operator rate should be clear and obvious to you from the quote.

If your proposal doesn’t show this level of detail on day rates, then ask your video company to revise their quote to show these details.

Your quote should also be summarised under 3 sections:

  1. Pre production
  2. Acquisition (filming, buying stock, voice etc)
  3. Post production.

This makes broad comparison even easier.

When you know all the rates, you can compare and contrast proposals and see where you’re getting the best value for your money.

What if you’re buying through a marketing agency?

Still ask. It’s a reasonable request. Most agencies like to operate transparently, just like your accountant or legal advisers. Even if it costs more you’ll still be getting value as their dedicated marketing team will take the trouble to learn your company & marketplace inside out, and bring their specialist knowledge & flair to the production, as well as select the best video subcontractor.

Remember: Neglect day rates at your peril.

Step 2 – Other costs

Over and above core day rates, your video proposal will include other costs, which you may not fully understand – yet.

Metal Wheel Concept

Here are 5 examples of different types of marketing video choices, which may baffle you when you first see them:

Example 1: Your video may be 100% all-animation throughout, with options for developing a uniquely appealing animated character. You have to compare this higher origination cost with buying-in an off-the-shelf “cartoon smurf” character, which may be quite fit for purpose.

Example 2: You may want a digital video that includes video library clips. While one production company includes 5 clips in their quote, another company may suggest you need 20 clips. How do you tell the difference? Are you being sold short somewhere or not?

Example 3: You may need filming with an actor or presenter, as well as voiceover, and their rates may vary a lot, especially as one company may know a low cost, up & coming talent, while the other company is offering a proven established winner who costs more.

Example 4: One company is suggesting you need less filming days, while another company is saying that you may well need an extra ½ day or more filming to shoot a VIP or CEO or client onsite. They say this because it’s well known that VIPs never agree to shoot dates that fit into your tight schedule (they have tight schedules of their own and you have to fit around them, not vice versa).

Example 5: The last example is travel costs, which can vary widely. For example, some talent want taxis from the station. Some film crews charge the maximum possible rate for diesel or evening meals. But you don’t find out until later. You need this spelled out up front.

All of these Other Costs represent increases in quality that you may well need or want. They’re intended to give you a better finished video. Sometimes it may look expensive – at first – but if it makes a better video that delivers more added-value to your company, then it’s obviously worth it.

As a last check, read the terms & conditions of business, as it may include cost or legal conditions you weren’t aware of. Challenge these conditions if you don’t like them.

Remember: Whatever quality standard you select, your quotation should read crystal clear like a menu in a restaurant.

Step 3 – The length of the proposal

When video proposals vary so much in length & content, it makes choosing a supplier even harder for you.

So let’s break this down and take a look under the hood.

There are broadly 4 types of marketing video proposal:

  1. Short quote
  2. Long quote
  3. Optimal quote
  4. Online price list quote

Option 1: The Short Quote

Single page quotes do little to describe the creative treatment required for your video. Be sure you understand this, as what you expect to get may turn out to be an add-on you have to pay for later.

Example 1: Company A’s quote may be offering to light the scenes in your video, so their video will cost more as lighting takes longer to set up.

Example 2: Company B’s quote seems cheaper, but they’ve deliberately ignored lighting, telling you that a modern camera doesn’t need lights, even though you know at least one of the shots will be a close-up interview.

So which quote do you pick? Does a Short Quote even show this?

The answer is to question them both, and ask their reasons. Then decide what you want.

Don’t take a short quote at face value and buy on price alone. Check day rates, and other costs, and ask.

Here are some more similar choices today’s marketer is faced with:

Example 3: Company A’s quote include actors. while Company B’s quote expects to use your own staff to fill in as extras.

Example 4: Company B’s quote includes shooting equipment like steadicam or glidetrack, and a 4k HDR camera. Company A’s quote is just a bare fluid head tripod with standard 1080 HD.

Example 5: Company A’s quote includes extensive post production effects perhaps with a sophisticated creative concept onboard. Company B’s quote is mostly basic editing with a few tricks, and a standard buff & polish included (which might be all you need).

Short one page quotes will hide much of the above, and focus solely on price.

Unless you know exactly what you’re buying, a short quote can hide too much.

So be sure to ask for detail about exactly what you get for your money, particularly the day rates.

Option 2: The Long Quote

Although they should be a delight to read, long corporate video production quotes can sometimes be dense and tricky to understand.

For example, consider a professional 48 page pdf video proposal full of illustrations and figures designed to impress, with your logo & name prominent on the front page, and a concise Executive Summary.

Why not take a look and see how much of the content is actually about you and your organisation?

Then check how much of the content is “stuffing”, ie, generic filler copy designed to sandbag you with endless facts & figures about the video production company, generously overlaid with some big client name dropping.

Is this what you really want? To be sandbagged with generic content? Especially when you want your video crisp & punchy. It tells you a lot about their attitude.

Nonetheless, it can be quite common if you’re dealing with an inexperienced sales rep or account manager, and less so if you’re talking directly to a full time marketing video producer.

Here’s a simple way to check sandbagging:

  1. Do a search on your pdf for your company name (control-f does this nicely), ie, how many times your company name or brand reoccurs?
  2. Does your company name or brand appear much, and is it obviously auto inserted into generic sections in an attempt to personalize them?

Option 3: The Optimal Quote

The best marketing video proposalis the one that focuses on the specific details of your future video presentation and helps you visualize exactly what you’re getting.

For example:

1 – It will show a specific creative treatment – explaining ideas specific to your company.

2 – The treatment & accompanying video sample links will help you to visualise how the video style might look once produced

3 – It will include a Video Production Schedule highlighting the steps (script, storyboard etc) & the amount of time you’ll need to take to produce your corporate video – and not just a Delivery Date. This will help you plan ahead better, especially when colleagues & staff are involved.

4 – The quotation part of the proposal will be carefully detailed showing all rates clearly, with explanations as required.

Option 4: The Online Quote

An Online Quote is a price list on a web page showing a standard marketing video package, showing what you get for what you spend.

This can work to your advantage when a standard package might well be exactly what you need.

And it will usually cost you less.

The Online Quote can be fine for many productions. And if you need extras & options, they can easily be added during discussions.

But beware that it might lack the level of creativity you need for an effective win in your marketplace.

Remember: The proposal is there to help you visualize and understand, not baffle.

Wrapping it up

It’s easy to gloss over a video proposal and just look at the bottom line, especially when reading from a cell or mobile on the move.

But ask yourself – do you understand any or all the jargon? Or the purpose of everything mentioned in the quote.

If something isn’t clear to you now, what will this mean later, once you’re committed to a full video production spend?

Remember: You’re buying marketing video production services from a company you’re trusting to tell your business story in a crystal clear way. Their quote should reflect this clarity.

No Hidden Extras

This is both obvious and vital, because you want a single price to pay, something that you can budget and account for.

It’s smarter to ask for more details, even if you don’t fully understand them.

Here are some examples of details you may have to consider:

Example 1: The number of days (or hours) shoot, and the daily rate for this. And is there any indication of the impact that less days or more days filming will have on your video?

Example 2: Exactly how much graphics, effects and animation are included, and the daily rate. How many seconds of graphics, overlaid captions, titles etc do you get?

Example 3: If your video is all digital, how many stock library video clips are included – and at what price ie, how much are they marked up? 15%, 30% or double?

Example 4: If your video is all animation, perhaps with animated characters, then how much time is included for animation design, layouts & objects, as they all have to be drawn by an illustrator, or bought-in as stock, or maybe a bit of both. You should feel very clear about this from your quote, as it’ll impact on the final quality & originality of your programme.

Example 5: The number of hours estimated for editing, animation and post-production, and the daily rate. This will vary, and quickest isn’t always best.

Example 6: What options do you have for including additional creative ideas as the video project progresses – while still staying in budget. I’ve personally never made a video where the client didn’t get a fresh unbudgeted idea mid-production. It happens, and probably to you.

Example 7: Check you have full legal copyright and ownership of all the footage as well as the finished video.

Be frank with your marketing video services provider. Ask where the potential for hidden costs may arise. It’ll test them, and you can gauge their response.

Summary

Comparing marketing video quotes isn’t as obvious as it sounds, but our 3 steps make it easier.

1: Always look at day rates first.

2: You need to know how spot hidden costs, or hidden extras, or what the options mean.

3: Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the proposal. Always dig deeper. You’ll save.

Always ask for clearer explanations when you’re unsure.

You need to know how to compare marketing video proposals on more than just price, otherwise you’ll be comparing apples with oranges. Get it right and you can save a lot of money, while delivering great value for your company.