A friend in the advertising biz sent me an article from the New York Times titled “The Decline of Network TV.”
The big three broadcast networks are not so big anymore – and major “stars” are jumping ship over to cable. The networks are having a hard time charging more for ad rates as their ratings sink. This, as the big cable networks (USA, TNT, TBS) get money from advertising AND subscription fees – which translates to more profit.
So my question. With more and more eyeballs moving to cable coupled with the proliferation of niche channels on the cable systems – most of which run the same ads that run on the broadcast networks – do you see this affecting the budgets to make the ads?
It certainly has created more work for the time buyers! But will it affect us, as talent, postively or negatively?
This business is not about your voice. It is about knowing where you fit – what you have to sell. It is about having a demo that showcases this effectively. And it is about finding the people who want to buy what you have to sell. That’s called Marketing!
But in reality, you are not really selling. Your goal with marketing is to know your customer so well that your services sell themselves. Marketing is about understanding what you do and what your potential customer wants. It is about bringing your “product” to this market (in this case your commercial demo to people who make commercials, or your narration demo, or your promo demo, or your animation demo, etc.). It is about finding new products for new markets.
Marketing is your strategy and includes a whole bunch of activities:
- Business Development – Wikipedia defines this as techniques and responsibilities which aim at gaining new customers and at penetrating existing markets. It is ongoing. Techniques used include:
- assessment of marketing opportunities and target markets
- intelligence gathering on customers and competitors
- generating leads for possible sales
- drafting and enforcing sales policies and processes
- follow-up sales activity
- formal proposal or presentation management and writing
- pitch and presentation rehearsals
- business model design
- Product Development – getting real good at what you do
- Market Development – getting to know who wants to buy what you do – targets non-buying customers in currently targeted segments. It also targets new customers in new segments
- Market Research – give you information about your customers, competitors, and overall industry
- Competitor Analysis – who does what you do and how well do they do it
- Pricing Strategy – where do you fit in the price range of what you do
- Customer Service – making sure your customers are happy
- Brand Development – what makes you different
- Company Identity – make sure people can see how you are different in an instant
I did a quick search on the Internet for “Marketing 101” and found several articles, posts, forums with information that parallel this outline.
Had a private message through one of the P2P sites on Friday from an agent at a large talent agency asking if I was interested in being represented by them, as they had some auditions that they thought I would be right for.
A quick search on the web pointed to a reputable group with many of my virtual VO buddies already listed on the site. Made a couple of calls (due diligence) and within a couple of hours, the paperwork had been emailed, printed, signed and faxed back.
At a time when it is harder and harder to get agency representation in general, much less by a group that gets national work, this was a very nice email to receive.
So, here’s to a chance to do more – and better auditions – going head to head with some of the best in the business. In this numbers game, we need to audition. To land the big jobs, we need to get the chance to audition for the big jobs.
I’ve had a couple of auditions recently for realistic young adult voices and have been feeling very much not in that vein. Character reads – cartoonish sound – yes – but a “real” high school senior – early college co-ed – eh, not really. The producer/director in me has not been comfortable with the recordings.
As much as the challenge to create a believeable young character is hard to pass up, the real challenge can be turning down the opportunity to make a fool of one’s self. Just another example of the need for critical self-evaluation skills.
I may spend some time really listening to young women and see if I can get into that groove, but there are so many other auditions and projects coming in that are just right for me that adding this particular sound to my quiver is probably not necessary.