Posted by: Marty Fahncke | January 19, 2011

The Infomercial: An entrepreneurs dream market

Snuggies. Proactiv. Orange Glo.  Oxiclean. Total Gym. George Foreman Grill.As Seen On TV Logo

They are pretty much household names today.  Each was launched using Direct Response Television (DRTV).  DRTV includes infomercials, short form spots and home shopping.

Yes, you’ve heard of these products…but have you really THOUGHT about them, or the way they arrived on the market?   Probably not.   So please indulge me for a moment and think about this list of products from an entrepreneurial perspective:

  • Just the few products listed above represent well over one BILLION dollars in annual revenue.
  • The entire infomercial/DRTV industry combined generates over $200 BILLION in revenue.
  • Infomercials allow a product owner to build a nationally recognized brand, practically (and sometimes literally!) overnight.
  • Due to a constant need for new and innovative products, the DRTV industry is always on the lookout for the next “big thing”.
  • DRTV doesn’t discriminate where the next big thing comes from.
  • Products developed by individual inventors or Fortune 500 companies have equal odds of success.
  • “Success” in the DRTV world can mean $25 million to $100 million or more in sales.
  • The next big DRTV hit product could be YOURS!

So what makes a successful DRTV product?  There are 12 critical areas that should be considered when evaluating if your product is a good fit for TV:

#1  Does your product solve a problem?

#2  Does your product have a great “demonstration”, either in how it works, or the results it creates?

#3  Does your product have mass-market appeal?

#4  Is your product new and unique?

#5  Does your product have logical line extensions that can be sold with it as an “upsell” or given away as a bonus?

#6  Do you have (lots of) customer testimonials about your product?

#7  Does your product have a track record of success in other sales channels, such as online, catalog, or live demonstration?

#8  Does your product have at least a 5:1 margin?  That’s good.  7:1 is even better

#9  Keeping in mind the margin requirements above, can your product be sold for less than $30 in short-form?

#10  Can your product be sold for $100 or more, yet deliver a “perceived value” of at least twice that to the customer?

#11 Do you have studies, clinical trials, or other third-party documentation to back up the claims of your product?

#12  Does your product fit into a category with proven success in DRTV?  (Hint – Top categories in order of importance are: Fitness/Exercise, Housewares/Kitchen, Weight Loss/Self Improvement, Cosmetics / Health & Beauty, Tools/Automotive,  Business Opportunity/Making money, Golf, Fishing, Music/Entertainment)

If you can answer “YES” to all (or at least most) of the questions above, then you have a chance of success in the world of DRTV Infomercials!

Contact me HERE if you would like to learn more about how to bring a product to marketing using DRTV strategies such as infomercials and home shopping.


  1. […] The piece is called “DRTV: The often-overlooked entrepreneurial dream market”.  You can read it by clicking HERE […]

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