Fall is here, and businesses are already gearing up for the holiday season. As we enter the fourth quarter of 2015, businesses are looking at their end-of-year dollars and their first-quarter 2016 budget. Always part of that agenda: the goal of saving money.

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I can offer some assistance here: As a seasoned television producer who regularly deals with budgets, I can name two of the best ways to successfully market a brand's message without breaking the bank: on-site video conferences and satellite-media tours.

A satellite-media tour -- or SMT -- is the perfect way for business owners to disseminate their brand's message to audiences around the country. An SMT segment is similar to an appearance on a television show, but bumps things up a notch by conducting multiple interviews, via satellite from one location, in a single day.

Satellite is a fantastic way to reach millions of people, on several radio and television shows. Says Michelle Cohen, executive producer of Stamped Passport Productions: "In a single morning, we do on-camera interviews with 20 to 30 media outlets. It's a whirlwind of media coverage that is always a win for our clients."

Imagine reaching a minimum audience of 15 million people in one morning. Imagine, too, getting more television airtime and more bang for your buck. A satellite-media tour company will work to produce your brand's message in an engaging segment that is appealing to television, radio and web outlets alike around the country.

What's more, your budget will range from $25,000 to $35,000 for an in-studio SMT, reducing your company's annual travel budget for hotel accommodations and daily per diems. Instead, the team from a satellite media tour company will use its relationships with national and local outlet producers and editors to schedule 20-plus interviews, conducted via satellite from one location, in a single day.

That second great way to reach a large audience for fewer dollars is the video conference.

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Gone are the days of flying employees from various U.S. locations to meet up at a conference destination. Enter the "virtual" conference or on-site video conference that allows full interaction and the ability to see and communicate from a single or multiple sites. The cost of renting remote satellite equipment is, again, cheaper than providing travel and hotel accommodations for dozens or even hundreds of employees.

While planning for an on-site video conference, a company should take extra care. Here are questions to consider when producing one or hiring someone to produce one:

  1. Is there a theme for the conference?
  2. At the host location, how many presenters will be talking? (individual vs. panel discussion)
  3. Are there staging, lighting, projection and sound needs for the day of the conference that should be addressed in advance?
  4. Is there a PowerPoint presentation?
  5. Do you have any videos you want to play during the presentation?
  6. In what form will the video be delivered to the host site? (hard drive, disk, etc.)
  7. Is there a creative person in-house driving the message, or would you like us to handle it?
  8. Do the presenters need hair and/or makeup assistance?
  9. Do the presenters need a teleprompter at both the remote and host sites?
  10. Are you covering catering for the presenters and crew?
  11. Are you covering the hotel needs for your staff and crew?
  12. Are you planning on a question-and-answer session?

The readily available use of satellites and video production has changed the way businesses work and market to their audience. And that change is for the better. Business owners can keep costs low and still reach their target audience -- and that sounds like a good way to wrap up the year and plan for 2016.

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