The Myth of the Minimum Advertising Commitment

Continuing on the theme I started yesterday, let me address another myth out there that may trap people new to the marketing and advertising game.

You will find, over the course of your career, that you intend to buy advertising from one company or another. And the salesperson at that company will tell you some version of the following:

“We have a $50,000 minimum commitment for advertisers.”

For many of us, that number might stop us dead in our tracks. I can’t afford $50k, at least not on any one channel or campaign, and certainly not something new and unproven.

And when you encounter that type of statement the first time, you think that you have two options. You can either agree to meet the minimum, or you can politely say no and exit the room (hang up the phone).

But in most situations, the minimum commitment is not a hard and fast rule. It might be a guideline or a best practice, but the fact that they won’t work with advertisers for less is a myth that you need to bust.

When confronted with the minimum commitment, try this:

Tell them you understand that there is a minimum but you simply cannot afford it. You think their audience is a perfect match for your company and you really respect their brand. You would love to try some cheaper way to connect with their audience. And, if the lower cost test proves me right, and we get the results we’re looking for, I’d be happy to sign a longer-term commitment at that level.

Most times, that will be the beginning of a negotiation that will result in a proposal worth much less than the minimum commitment they alluded to at first.

Don’t agree to minimums you can’t afford. It’s not a hard and fast rule.