It’s no secret that the television media is changing. Sites like Hulu and the widespread use of DVR have made it more challenging for advertisers to penetrate the viewing audience. National advertisers have the resources to be a little more covert with product placement or other stealth tactics.

But in a small market like ours in Fargo, ND, advertisers need to be a little more savvy within the confines of traditional television real estate. Here are five ways you can still make an impact on the most captivating media around:

1. Plan for Production

Before Tivo, advertisers only had to worry about tune-out. Now we have to concern ourselves with tune-out and fast-forward. If you are going to commit to television advertising, and you should consider it, you ought to be aware of the pros and cons of the media upfront. The major drawback to television is cost. Even in smaller markets, TV is one of the more expensive media options. Knowing that ahead of time, be sure to allocate your budget for solid television production. Frequency and reach are paramount, but if your commercial doesn’t grab someone by the short hairs with good storytelling and solid production value, you’ve potentially wasted a lot of resources to an audience that didn’t pay attention.

2. Place Media Around Live TV

Another way to circumvent DVR is to put your ad on programs that won’t get recorded. Think of it as preventative placement. Good examples of live events are sporting events and the local news. In each case, it doesn’t make sense for a viewer to store that show and watch it later, because the scores are already on the ticker or the news is old. It might be hard to lock down the real estate and it may cost more, but the benefits of being seen far outweigh the possibility of being overlooked.

3. Partner with the Station

Like any media outlet, there’s an excellent probability that the station will run its own promotions. Work with your marketing firm or media vendor to devise a strategy to piggyback on station promotions. This might include sponsoring a station event, arranging a co-op with other events or making your company available to help get some air time. Events are dually advantageous because they include an element of PR. Chances are if a station holds an event, not only will they promote the event with traditional commercials, but they will also cover that story during the event on the news.

4. Know What’s Out There

While watching the Super Bowl with friends of mine, some were surprised to see a local hospital running ads during the game. Most thought the company was an even larger, national brand simply because the ad was played in between other national advertising spots. The truth of the matter is each market is given a set number of commercial spots to run local ads, regardless of the program. By understanding what television events are coming up, you can seek out high-impact real estate and develop a package that suits your needs.

5. Great Creative with the Time

Thirty-second ads might be the norm, but rules were made to be broken. I clearly recall a TV campaign that Old Spice ran about a year ago. The buy placed three, five-second ads during each commercial break. It felt like a commercial break from the commercials. That might be an extreme case and not effective for many brands, but it goes to show that advertising doesn’t need to hold on to its conventions. More common solutions might be 15-second ads called “bookends.” Those ads surround another 30-second commercial, essentially delivering two brand messages for the price of one. I should be careful to note that “the price of one” is more of a turn of phrase than a truth of cost. Sometimes, not always, a more exotic media buy can cost more. Again, speak with your media advisor or marketing firm to at least pitch the idea to the station. You never know what cool solution you and your team can come up with.

Some people in the advertising industry fear that the evolution of the digital TV medium will be TV’s own undoing. Frankly, I disagree. As a young company, we haven’t been around forever, but we’ve been around long enough to remember when we thought Facebook was going to be a fad. The truth is, as consumers change their habits to avoid advertising, advertisers must find new approaches to get their message across. It’s a love-hate game of cat and mouse, but it’s the grease that keeps the wheels of commerce turning. The successful advertisers (and advertising agencies) are open to the idea of change, embrace the challenge and revel in the chance to dive into the unknown.