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Sell My Product On Television?

Sell My Product On Television?

By: Bonnie Griffin Kaake, Innovative Consulting Group, Inc. & Susie Love, Innovative Consulting Group, Inc.


Inventors of new products often have the option of selling their products on television. Once your patent is issued you will be bombarded by solicitations for putting your product on TV. Don’t be overly flattered by the sales pitches. This is a business. There are many options for TV marketing of products. It is important that you do your homework or secure the expert advice of someone familiar with the industry. This way you will know what is best for YOU and YOUR product. Nevertheless, there are basically two types of television commercials available to you. How and through whom you implement them are different matters and ones you need to explore thoroughly.


The two TV sales formats are Direct Response TV (DRTV) Spots and Infomercials. The purpose of either in your overall marketing plan is to dramatically drive retail sales, generate thousands of qualified leads, create brand name recognition and loyalty, and provide a targeted customer list for continuity and backend sales. What is the difference?


A DRTV spot is typically a short commercial that is designed to elicit an immediate response from the targeted viewing audience. The commercial contains a “call to action” which is asking for the order now and the 800 number for the viewers to call to order the product. The purpose of the spot is to sell and assist in creating recognition of the product.


The DRTV spot as an advertising venue is the forerunner to the Infomercial (longer form). This short form of television advertising has been used since the introduction of the toll free telephone services and credit cards. Companies offering a product for $39.95 or less or an offer of free information have used these DRTV spots most effectively.


The DRTV spot offers some advantages that an Infomercial cannot provide. The production costs are relatively low. The short form commercial does not require as much production time, generally involves less talent cost and requires less editing time. Depending on the script, the commercial can be produced and ready for testing in a relatively short period of time. This fast turn-around allows your product exposure to the market sooner. Generally, it is the back-end setup of telemarketing services, fulfillment centers, merchant account acquisition, manufacturing of the product and the product offer that consumes the majority of the setup time.


The length of DRTV spots range from 30, 60, and 90 to 120 seconds. Why is this a valuable advantage? Due to this short format the commercials can be placed throughout the day. You have the ability to target your primary audience more efficiently. On the other hand, the infomercial, which is 30-minutes in length, is restricted to limited airing hours by the stations owning the airtime.


As an example, if you have a sports oriented product, you can air your 30-second spot within a sports oriented program. If your target market is a non-working individual who might be home during the day, you can buy time during the afternoon programs. Generally, time is not available for purchase during the day for 30-minute Infomercials.


With all the advantages of DRTV, why should I do an Infomercial? A half-hour commercial provides the time you need to get the customers’ attention and interest, fuel their desire, and motivate the viewer to pick up the phone and order. Many viewers are more willing to buy after a half-hour product presentation versus a two-minute commercial. The advantage of a long form commercial is that you have now expanded your potential buying market.


Think of the DRTV spot as a quick “foot-in-the-door” product presentation. The 30-minute Infomercial in comparison is a highly structured, compelling half hour sit-down sales presentation in your viewer’s living room. As a buyer, which would you prefer?


There are also economic benefits to the 30-minute commercial. The cost for a 30-minute show is not 15 times a two-minute spot rate. Because half hour time is purchased later during the day, the economics of buying during this time often reduces the cost per minute of a long form from as much as 15% -50% less than the cost per minute of a two-minute spot.


Another advantage of the 30-minute Infomercial is that you are able to buy specific half hour time periods in the day. Most DRTV spots are telecast on a R.O.S. (“Run of Station”) basis, meaning you are never quite sure exactly when your commercial will run during the program you have bought your time in. An exact run time has a secondary benefit for your telemarketing service. The telemarketers are more prepared for the calls that come in from a 30-minute show then the random time that calls come in from spots.


Infomercials allow you more time to explain the story behind your product. They afford you the opportunity to demonstrate in depth your product’s value and uses. But by no means are all products suited for infomercials. If your product story can be told in a compelling fashion or is easily demonstrated and understood, the economies of lower production costs and airtime dollars for spots may be your wiser investment choice.


DRTV spots and infomercials can be combined in your marketing campaign for your product. DRTV spots always support and add power to the Infomercial and vice versa. Spots when tied in with an Infomercial become an integral part of any DRTV marketing campaign. If economics were not a factor, the optimum marketing of your product would be by both Infomercial and DRTV spot. Realistically, most new products begin with one or the other. The type of product you have and available funds will determine which road your television marketing campaign should take.


Marketing your product on television can be an exciting adventure. If you are considering this avenue for selling your product, remember, no matter which format you choose, television will promote your product faster and to more potential buyers in a shorter amount of time than most other marketing venues.