For inventors or entrepreneurs who have a product or service they want to sell on Direct Response Television, knowing where to get started and who to trust is a real issue. The Direct Response Television or DRTV market, for short, is an exciting, risky and sometimes wildly profitable avenue, with many players, both reputable and questionable. Good deals and bad deals are made every day.
There are two basic types of plays available to marketers who have a product or service; those that want to self-fund a DRTV test, and those who are looking for a Direct Response company or funder to put up the money for the initial creative, production, media test, web development, call center and other related services needed. Of course before a marketer even gets to this point the product or service needs to be fully developed, test quantities ordered, etc.
For the purposes of this article we’ll assume the hard good product or service has been developed, or fully set-up and ready to go to market. With this in place, the marketer needs to decide if they have adequate resources to self fund the TV test. In broad strokes, to produce a 1 or 2 minute DRTV commercial, the product or service owner needs a company who can do the creative from concept to final script, do all pre-production, including talent casting, production, including all crew and equipment, studio or location fees and complete post-production. Once the spot is complete a media plan needs to be prepared for the test buy through a reputable media buyer, a landing page web site needs to be built, call center and payment processing arrangements made.
Those are the main component parts, but who sets all this up? In general, an experienced DRTV production company with a track record of success both working for DRTV companies and developing their own products through the same channels is a place to start. Starting first with DRTV agencies that buy media and assign a creative production company is also a standard initial step.
If funding isn’t secured, but the product is close to or fully ready for test, going to a DR consultant or DRTV company who can find funding and then pay the product owner a royalty is also an option. In general the ultimate deal is better, with higher gross royalty or percentage of profit split, on the back-end of any DRTV campaign once a product or service has been first tested by the owner. A positive test can be brought to a DRTV company as proof that “someone’s home” in DRTV parlance. Since the results prove there’s interest from the public, a better back-end deal is usually possible.
The DRTV market in general is full of big promise, low performance players, and the horror stories are many. That said, there are many DRTV companies, producers, and consultants who are honorable, honest, do what they say they’ll do professionals. Often finding that first solid professional to lead a product owner to the promised land of DRTV success is the key hurdle. But it can be done, and you can keep all your fingers on the deal!
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