By Paul Niemann, President
of Market Launchers
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
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
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
No, it's not, but retailers
are more likely to carry your product in stores if it’s supported by
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
OBJECTIVES OF A SUCCESSFUL
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
With 28.5 minutes, an
infomercial allows you adequate time to demonstrate all of your
product's features and benefits.
WHY ARE INFOMERCIALS
There are several reasons …
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).
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
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
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
for details and pricing.
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