After 1984, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated regulations to govern the commercial content of television, infomercials began to proliferate the late-night airwaves because they were cheap to make and proved to be a highly profitable media, selling anything that could be easily shipped.
In fact, infomercials became so prominently profitable that more and more money poured into the industry and by the dawn of the 21st century, big brands started pumping money into the infomercial profit party in a much bigger way. This raised the profile of the infomercial industry as a whole, and furthered the acceleration of rising rates.
Having been involved with some of the most successful infomercials, I have observed that infomercials, as an advertising media, have matured in a way somewhat analogous (although not nearly as fast), as what has happened in the Pay Per Click advertising channel. PPC has become a massively successful advertising model. As a result, advertisers have rapidly driven up PPC costs, over the past few years.
Further, the level of sophistication in PPC strategies to stay profitable has also increased.
In a similar way, the costs and risks associated with creating and testing infomercials have skyrocketed since their humble beginnings.
So, when someone asks me if they should produce an infomercial, rather than delve into the relative merits of their product or service and how broad the demographics are for the market that buys it, I simply ask how much testing has been done through less expensive media?
(For more info, click “Testing” Your Way To Internet Marketing Success).
PPC would still be the least expensive and the fastest way to test how well a product will sell on the Internet. When that has been refined and scaled up to maximize the demand and profits, enough information will be gained to really determine what are the best keywords and the driving factors that underlie this product’s success. And all that data will be very important as a research basis for scripting and producing an infomercial “test,” to see how it would do on a limited trial basis as a TV advertisement.
There is much more to know about creating infomercials (which is a high profile component of Direct Response Marketing), but the simple answer about whether you should create an infomercial for your product would be based upon how well it’s selling on the Internet and using the supporting info to help evaluate a translation to TV.
Stated another way, for most business persons, the question about whether a product would be successful as an infomercial shouldn’t even be considered until it’s been tested online and then tested in smaller geographical regions as a TV commercial.