As it turns out, there is a surprising secret truth at the heart of these infomercials ... that they actually work and many of their customers are people just like you and me. Why do these infomercials work so well - and more importantly, what can anyone marketing a product or service learn from them?
There are 5 core lessons any small business can learn from how infomercials work:
2. Show the product in action. The bulk of most infomercials is dedicated to a spokesperson demonstrating how easy, safe or convenient their product is to use. The power of the Space Bag (essentially a glorified large size Ziploc bag) is how they show someone putting 20 sweaters into a bag and sucking out the air so the bag takes 1/5th the room it would otherwise have in your closet.
3. Use real testimonials. The typical formula of an infomercial follows the product pitch and demonstration with lots of interviews with people talking about how their lives have changed for the better after using the product. Men who have magically regrown hair stand beside their unrealistically attractive partners and share how their lives have been reinvented – and it somehow becomes more believable that you might be affected the same way.
4. Make a specific offer. Infomercials are great about making a very specific offer. They don’t give you lots of options or choices to customize – instead they make the offer simple to understand and give you only two choices. Either buy or don’t buy. At least it’s not confusing.
5. Give a reason to act NOW. To complete the picture, the usual offer that informercials will make to get you to act right away is to double their offer – ie, get a second set or product for free. This special offer is meant to tip you over the edge and decide on an impulse to buy right then instead of waiting.
For a visual version of this post and downloadable version, check out the interactive presentation on Slideshare.
Rohit is a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy, one of the largest agencies in the world. He is author of the best selling new marketing book Personality Not Included, a guide for small business on how to be more authentic, keep your customers and inspire your employees, which has been published globally in 8 languages.