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Infomercials

By Paul Niemann, President of Market Launchers

www.marketlaunchers.com

 

Pitching Products to consumers over the airwaves has been an evolving art. In the early days of radio, jingles were sung to catchy tunes in the hope that listeners would remember the products' names the next time they were at the store. When TV entered America's living rooms, shows were interrupted by lovely women exclaiming the virtues of the newest home appliance or by cartoon characters extolling the highlights of the latest wonder product.

In recent years, consumers have been introduced to a new variety of advertising methods -- from pop up ads on the Internet to 24 hour TV shopping channels -- all of which are designed with one goal in mind: sell more product.

One powerful sales tool is Direct Response TV (DRTV), which refers to TV commercials and infomercials. "Short-form" commercials are typically one of three lengths: 30 seconds, 60 seconds or two minutes, while "long-form" commercials (infomercials) are 28.5 minutes long. Both versions can successfully get a product's message out to millions of prospective customers.

The infomercial is a unique advertising form. It provides INFOrmation about a product as a comMERCIAL. Today, 90 percent of all TV stations and 100 percent of commercial cable channels accept infomercials. According to a spokesperson at the Electronic Retailing Association, in 2000 an average of 20,000 showings of infomercials aired on TV each month. Infomercials fill the airwaves with ads for such products as real estate tapes that show you how to buy property with no money down, fitness equipment and beauty products.

Infomercials have proven to be tremendously successful. According to Infoworx.com, "63 percent of TV shoppers buy from 30 minute infomercials." Direct Response TV marketing can create quick sales by having products demonstrated on TV, which allows the product's message to be driven home with persuasive, dramatic impact.

"But wait -- there's more!' For every customer who buys a product from a TV infomercial, there are seven to ten additional viewers who will later buy the product at retail because they had seen it previously on TV. These retail sales include purchases made at wholesale clubs, catalogs sales, Internet sites, direct response print ads and foreign distribution, and the products almost always carry the red "As Seen On TV" logo.

The 28.5 minute infomercials -- with their "ads-within-an-ad" format -- can be very successful. They are carefully scripted, right down to the smallest detail, and their customer testimonials always sound so convincing.

And if you call within the next 20 minutes, you'll also receive ..."

The main ability to "plus sell" the consumer and grab an additional sale (in addition to the freebie add-on) is another big benefit to DRTV. Successful products rack up impressive sales figures that range from $400,000 per month to $4 million or more per month.

"And it’s not available in stores!"

No, it's not, but retailers are more likely to carry your product in stores if it’s supported by TV advertising.

THE INFOMERCIAL APPROACH

The #1 goal of an infomercial is to turn passive viewers into active buyers. The approach used by successful DRIV companies involves four steps:

1.    Capture the viewer's attention with and keep it.

2.    Keep them watching while you present the benefits with emotion.

3.    Present the product and prove why it would make a good purchase.

4.    Close the sale by getting the customer to take action.

It's worth repeating that the main goal of an infomercial is to turn passive viewers into active buyers.

OBJECTIVES OF A SUCCESSFUL INFOMERCIAL

An infomercial should:

  • Generate direct product sales through a dynamic, effective infomercial.

  • Create product branding and awareness to establish distribution through retail mass merchandisers and other channels.

  • Build a mailing list of qualified consumers who will be targeted in future out-bound direct mail and telemarketing campaigns.

  • Gather respondent data to confirm and/or modify the strategy and positioning of future marketing campaigns.

  • With 28.5 minutes, an infomercial allows you adequate time to demonstrate all of your product's features and benefits.

WHY ARE INFOMERCIALS SUCCESSFUL?

There are several reasons …

  • Exclusive Offers: A DRTV campaign generates response if viewers believe that they can't get a similar product anywhere else. Repeating the fact that the product is "Not Available In Stores" throughout the infomercial is very helpful.
     

  • Urgency to Purchase: Creating a sense of urgency to make the purchase is a critical factor in any DRTV campaign. This is accomplished in a number of ways, including presenting the product as a limited-time offer and offering a premium for calling now (usually in the next 20 minutes).
     

  • Reinforcing the Product Value: Cost justification is also very important. Many viewers may instantly want the product, but will need to be able to justify the price in order to make the purchase.
     

  • Creating an Emotional Connection: Consumers buy products because of the benefits they will receive and what it means for them in their lives. Enthusiastic testimonials and a show with great energy will compel viewers to stay interested.
     

  • Product Uniqueness: The 28.5 minute infomercial allows plenty of time to emphasize what makes the product unique from anything else on the market. This can include product comparisons.

A half-hour infomercial is a very measurable format and you can directly target the audience you are seeking. The flexibility of infomercials enables you to easily test a variety of offers and prices for maximum response. You can also update price points for region-specific campaigns. A successful infomercial will generate $2 to $3 in sales for every $1 spent on media, according to Response Magazine.

Whether it’s long form or short form, DRTV is not something that most inventors can do on their own. There are many DRTV companies that license DRTV products. Check out the companies thoroughly. Some of them are unethical knockoff artists completely unafraid of patent infringement suits. Pitching products to consumers over the airwaves can be done in many ways – none of which are inexpensive. But if you’ve got a hot product, a good DRTV campaign can increase sales dramatically.

WHAT SELLS AS AN INFOMERCIAL?

To be considered for an infomercial, a product must sell for more than $19.95.

According to DRTV company Infoworx (www.Infoworx.com), the Top Ten product categories for 28.5 minute infomercials are:

1.    Health & Fitness
2.    Housewares & Appliances
3.    Diet, Weight, Nutrition
4.    Cosmetics & Personal Care
5.    Sports & Outdoor Activities
6.    Financial & Business Opportunities
7.    Home & Garden
8.    Music & Video
9.    Personal Development, Self-Help & Education
10.  Fund Raising

 


Paul Niemann runs MarketLaunchers.com, building web pages for inventors. Having your own web page allows you to show your invention to companies when you’re unable to present it to them in person, serving as your own “online brochure.” Plus, there are companies who search the MarketLaunchers.com Invention Database for new products. Visit http://www.marketlaunchers.com/forms.html for details and pricing.


 

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