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Ask a Marketer: Do I need a commercial?

Short answer: Probably not, but why not experiment? Sean Sutherland offers three steps to start.

(Image by Sean Sutherland)

This is Ask a Marketer by Sean Sutherland, who can help you figure out how to make the most of your marketing budget and time. As the chief marketing officer for Kapowza, a Baltimore-based creative agency, he’s seen it all. Here, he’ll share his hard-won advice from over a decade in the industry.

Ask Sean a marketing Q

Q: Do I need a commercial?

A: Most of you reading this don’t need a commercial.

I know that might be counterintuitive to say as a creative agency who have made a name for themselves through solid production efforts, but for the most part, you don’t need a commercial.

With that being said, video could be the missing part to really unite your marketing efforts. Humans are hungry for content, good content that informs, persuades, and convenes an audience around a cause. And, the way that they want to devour that content, more so than ever before, is through video.

And there’s a good reason for that, as we’re all carrying around little camcorders in our pockets and can, with one twist of fate, make something that truly reaches people. It’s due in part to the fact that the barrier for entry has become so low that some people on TikTok can have huge careers just by doing a dance move or two.

But, what will really help you stand apart from your competition, is a solid video spot that is engaging, informative, and entertaining. This is something that can come about in three easy steps.

First and foremost, planning:

  • Think about where you’re going to shoot. Is it in a space that you’ll have consistent access to?
  • What will be the purpose and point of your video?
  • How long are you planning on talking for?
  • How will the piece of content be used?

Secondly, practice and preparation:

  • Record yourself talking through what you’ll be saying, try at different speeds, etc.
  • Share your trial runs with your friends and family or colleagues
  • Be open to feedback and criticism on how to improve

Third, dispersion:

  • Where is this piece of content expected?
  • Where will it be appropriate to share?
  • Where are people going to see these types of messages or content already?

Your piece of content doesn’t have to run on your local news channel or before the opening credits on the next blockbuster movie, as you can get much more relevant attention by using YouTube pre-roll or maintaining your brand’s social media platforms with not a huge investment initially.

If you’re really ready to rally your fans around you, though, consider a commercial. One good piece of content is worth its weight, and will vastly increase your audience than 20 or so lackluster ones.

Video is a wholly flexible tactic for you to employ, and we’re really only scratching the surface as to what’s possible in the medium as camera technology continues to improve. Do yourself a favor — take that one sheet or deck that you were eager to create, ask yourself what it might look like as a video, see how your audience responds to it, then call me and we can see if commercials make sense for you.


If you have a burning marketing question you’re interested in getting answered, pop by our handy form to submit your query anonymously and Sean might just answer it. And stay tuned to the Ask a Marketer series page for future articles and announcements.

Ask Sean a marketing Q
Series: Ask a Marketer

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