Saturday, November 28, 2009

DRTV Media Cost

How many spots will I get? How often will my infomercial run? Can I just run my infomercial in one or two markets? Will my infomercial run in the middle of the night? How much does prime time cost? Questions, questions.....we've got answers. This is the blog for serious infomercial start ups, experienced DRTV entrepreneurs, and direct response marketers looking for an edge.

When discussing DRTV (Direct Response Television) costs -- always remember there are four components to a DRTV campaign.
-- TV Production
-- Media planning and placement
-- Inbound order capture (through telemarketing AND web)
-- Fulfillment

TV production costs can vary widely, and we are seeing a trend lately that is disturbing. In order to defray production costs many marketers are using inexperienced direct response producers. We have always said that TV production is the fun part, but that does not mean anyone can do it. Perhaps you can figure the production part out or find help from an experienced DRTV media buyer, but the wacky, wonderful world of direct response media is complicated and we do not recommend navigating this portion of your campaign without a serious direct response media buyer -- pit bull. That's right you must be tough, know when the media cost is too high, and be on top of this ever changing landscape to find true values.

Direct response media is the largest part of your budget and too many marketers are looking for instant results without proper testing. Remember, you should crunch your numbers, establish an allowable cost per order, and keep testing offers until you hit the sweet spot. For example, we recently started working with a new client that produced the short form TV infomercials themselves -- and placed the media themselves. They were buying "cheap" cable spots at about $2 a spot, but after careful analysis, we showed them that their cable buys were poorly targeted and in very limited distribution. In addition, they thought they could get more bang for the buck from short form, when in fact, their product line is much better suited to long form TV infomercials. Two dollars a spot may sound cheap, but at $100 per call, this media plan was very expensive. So how much does TV media cost? It's not what you pay, it's what you get. A good DRTV media buyer knows value, knows how to buy "fire sale" inventory, and is a tough negotiator.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Infomercial Advertising On TV

Every day our telephones ring with entrepreneurs and established companies alike asking the same questions about TV advertising cost. In addition, since Billy Mays tremendous success and tragic death, many advertising and marketing executives are looking to get started with infomercial advertising on TV. This blog is for all of you, and hopefully we will "see" you here often for the current state of TV advertising rates, infomercial production costs, and media planning services.

In our last blog we talked about short form infomercial inventory being tight and expensive. The cable TV networks have gone "all in" after the upfront quarterly media buys that were mostly reserved for the big four networks (ABC,CBS,NBC and FOX) before the recession. Direct response television advertising depended on unsold preemtible media buying to make their offers payout. Well -- our DRTV inventory is being sold to major branding marketers looking for impressions and ratings - not orders! For example, last week a major cable advertising network called after we negotiated TV media rates for our client. They informed us that our rates would not clear and they needed another $100.00 per spot. We cancelled because our clients need cheap TV ads that can bring a profit.

So here's some food for thought. Long form infomercial television advertising rates are down, not up! Inventory is plentiful and highly negotiable. You rarely get bumped or preempted, and we are buying half hours for our clients as low as $40 in top ten markets like San Fransisco and Boston. When you do long form infomercial production, you have plenty of footage to create short form TV ads, Internet TV ads, and fill your web site with compelling demos and testimonials. The benefits of a traditional half hour infomercial are even more compelling in this "new" economy and Internet video era. The old saying "The more you tell, the more you sell" is more true than ever. We like to say there is much power in the half hour!