As a video producer I can sympathise with corporate video buyers who struggle to make sense of different video quotes, proposals and propositions.
It often feels like comparing apples and oranges
– with little transparency when trying to understand and contrast different offers.
But unlike many other business purchases, a corporate video is so highly visible that the slightest mistake is there for all the world to see – not to mention all your colleagues as well.
So because the video vendor decision can be potentially worrying, the temptation is to go for the best you can afford, to mitigate the risk of producing a lemon.
But as we know, the best is often too expensive – so the corporate video buyer is left with the responsibility of finding out if 2nd best or 3rd best will do.
And this is where the difficulty lies.
Apart from price – video proposals & contracts can look a bit samey, especially if you’ve provided a fairly clear, prescriptive brief.
So let’s look at the elements of corporate video buying and try to create a level playing field so price becomes transparent across all tenders.
The Price decision
Since money matters, let’s deal with this first.
The simplest way to compare two video production companies, like for like, is to know their Daily Edit Rate, as the daily edit rate has one of the biggest impacts on the final price you pay.
A studio’s daily edit rate can range from £200 or less per day, to £650 per day or more.
In an efficiently run video studio, the daily edit rate will be determined by their business plan, and the final video price fixed on this basis.
However in, say, a small, arty studio, the daily edit rate might be “whatever we can get away with”
– which might be why some video companies are reluctant to put their prices online for all to see.
As a corporate video buyer, you need to know this core daily edit rate, as it may well be missed out or hidden in the quote, and not immediately obvious.
Takehome: Get the daily studio edit rate to allow fair comparisons on price.
The Specification decision
One video outfit may say you need 2 days shoot and cast of 2 actors to produce your video
– while a competitor may specify that only 1 day of filming is required, and that actors aren’t necessary.
It’s situations like this that make the video decision especially tricky, as there’ll be such a big price difference between the two quotations.
How do you work out whether you’re overpaying or underpaying?
Many B2B companies, across all industry sectors, have made a career out of selling cheap contracts to win the deal, then leaving their unwitting clients with no choice but to buy loads of add-ons later, in order to get what they really want.
Yet none of these unsuspecting clients thought they were underspec’d at the time.
They only found out later, when they were obliged to pay more and go over budget to realise their plan.
This is where taking references helps.
If you follow up 3 references per vendor, then you can specifically ask:
1 – “Did the video go over the original budget?”
2 – “Had any allowance been made for extras, or going over budget?”
3 – “What % did you go over budget by?”
Many managers secretly factor in a 10% budget overshoot when buying, as experience has taught them that this often happens, so they allow for it in advance (you may be one of these?)
You can find out more about marketing & corporate video specifications here
Takehome: Take references to find out which vendors are likely to overshoot budget and which aren’t.
The Concept v Price decision
Let’s say video Vendor A is expensive but their well-thought out concept looks to be a market winner.
And let’s say video Vendor B are more affordable and their concept looks reasonable, but still has big holes in it compared with Vendor A’s concept.
Well here’s a truism.
> Vendor A probably put a good day of work into developing your great concept. They invested in you with their time.
> Vendor B probably spent an hour reworking an existing template to produce a “reasonable” concept. Alternatively, they may well lack the creativity to come up with a really great concept, and fell back on the “usual formula”. Either way they probably didn’t invest so much in you.
Your decision here is a value-judgement based on how important the great concept is to the success of your marketing campaign.
If the great concept is central to your campaign’s effectiveness then you’ll have to pay more and pick Vendor A.
But if the great concept isn’t essential, then you can probably settle for a lower cost job and choose Vendor B.
To help you select the right video production company here’s a useful excerpt from our Company Video Handbook
Takehome: Know for certain whether a great concept central to your campaign’s effectiveness.
To get the best quote you have to be able to compare fairly. Knowing the Daily Edit Rate is the shortest way to make quick fair comparisons.
You also need to know if your vendor is prone to cost overruns. They won’t tell you, but their clients will – so pick up the phone and speak to them. Don’t just email them, as emails lead to “public-facing answers” and often lack the insider savvy you need.
Last but not least, you need to know if the Great Concept expensive video really is central to your campaign. Perhaps Tesco will do instead of Marks & Spencers! Or perhaps not.
Nonetheless, understanding corporate video prices is the fastest way to getting the right video at the best cost.