THE INFOMERCIAL

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
- Victor Hugo

“The more facts you tell, the more you sell.”
- Dr. Charles Edwards

One of the unique benefits of any Infomercial is that in itself, it controls the program environment.  Because the half-hour format is designed to appeal solely to the target market, the only people who stay tuned are primarily prospects for the product or service.  Unlike DRTV spot advertising where you must target market your media buys on programs that “fit” your primary target audience, and then hope that your one or two-minute commercial can sell the product, the half-hour Infomercial is the selling medium.  That is, the Infomercial by its very nature, controls the program environment.  Research has shown that if anyone stays tuned in to the program for more than seven minutes, then you’ve got a strong potential buyer for your product. The longer format of the Infomercial allows more time for more information.  This translates into more compelling copy, more selling messages, more benefits and features, more time to demonstrate, and of course, more opportunities to ask for the order.  Your prospective buyer is actively engaged in a persuasive sales presentation which is much more potent than any one or two-minute spot could possibly be. 

A second major benefit of the Infomercial is its media cost-efficiency.  If the media purchases are made right, a half-hour Infomercial can generate a much better cost per order (CPO) or sales-to-media-cost-ratio.  From my own experience of having generated billions of dollars in sales revenues for my clients, the Infomercial’s initial return on investment has been dramatically better than that of DRTV spots.  Most people are happily surprised to discover how inexpensive some half-hour Infomercial time slots can be. There are hundreds of media buys each week that range from $400-$1000 for certain time slots in certain markets. 

I was involved in a media campaign where the annual advertising budget (investment) was approximately $7.5 million and the average cost of a half-hour of airtime was less than $1000.  The first year’s gross return on investment was over $14 million and the Infomercial ran in all 50 states and in over 150 markets. 

In addition, this start-up company’s entire capital formation was less than $500,000.  That means that our national media purchases were less than $50,000 per month during the first few months and it grew to over $200,000 per week based on a sales to media ratio over 2 : 1.  The Infomercial generated sufficient “profits” to be reinvested in the media buys and it became “self funding”. 

Another reason the half-hour Infomercial is more cost efficient than a DRTV spot is because with a complete sales presentation, the viewer will respond faster to the longer format than it will to the short one.  Meaning it should take less viewings for a viewer to make a buying decision when presented with the long form commercial.  Some research has shown that with a DRTV spot it can take a potential customer three to five average viewings before calling the 800 telephone number or logging in to a website, whereas it may take an average two to three viewings for the Infomercial to stimulate a “call to action.”  The bottom line is that the response for first-time viewings is much higher for the Infomercial than that of DRTV spots.  Remember, the more you tell, the more you sell.  This media efficiency is one of the things that makes the Infomercial one of the most powerful marketing vehicles.

A third reason Infomercials are more effective is that they almost always increase the advertising and marketing results of all other marketing strategies.  Even though viewers may not purchase the product advertised direct from television, they may buy it from another marketing strategy including the internet, direct mail, catalogs, radio and retail. 

A fourth reason that the Infomercial is so successful has to do with its use as a Direct Video which increases immediate and “after-market” sales.  I always tell my clients not to do an Infomercial unless “you can justify and plan to use the Infomercial in other marketing avenues.”  There is no guarantee that an Infomercial will be successful.  The key is to minimize risk and maximize the probability of success by looking at the various ways to use this powerful selling method.  There are dozens of good uses, including Direct Videos or DVDs, in store demos, training videos or DVDs, seminars, shareholder presentations, promotional tools, free gifts, etc.  I had one client who sent the Infomercial with a salesperson to Japan where they sold thousands of units.   Another client sent a re-edited version of the Infomercial to its existing client base and by doing so, generated tens of millions of dollars in additional sales.

“Call Now 1-800 -  How to Profit from Direct Response Television Advertising”  Copyright 2006  Rodney H. Buchser

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