Just about every inventor dreams of seeing their invention featured in TV commercials – selling in As Seen on TV (ASOTV) sections in thousands of retailers. More properly called DRTV – or direct response TV – it is widely misunderstood.

Many inventors feel that every invention will do great on TV, but reality is that many don't do well on TV.

DRTV Myths

Inventors see a variety of products sold on late night television, so they feel that almost anything can be sold on TV successfully.

Countless inventors have told me, “maybe I'll just get my invention on TV” – as if it is little more than a choice or decision to be made by the inventor. Another common myth is that if you just connect with the “right people,” you'll be able to get your product on TV.

Having a great network is always a strong business asset. But, if a product is wrong for DRTV, even the greatest industry guru cannot wave a magic wand and make the product succeed.

DRTV Realities

DRTV is all about metrics. Two key metrics are Average Order Value (AOV) and Average Cost per Order (ACO). The higher the AOV and the lower the ACO, the greater the chances for success in DRTV.

The inventor must have a product that is very enticing for TV viewers – so many will order immediately. Once they have their credit card at the ready, many will agree to add on an “upsell” – a related product that also has appeal. This combination drives up the AOV.

DRTV has many costs – media, business partners, call centers, website and e-commerce – not to mention the obvious: manufacturing costs, and the royalty paid to the inventor. A successful DRTV campaign requires a juggling act between maximizing product appeal to consumers while minimizing the imbedded costs – in metrics, it is about maximizing AOV and minimizing ACO.

For the inventor, this means that you must have a product that:

  1. Has at least a 5X mark up from manufacturing cost to retail
  2. Has a strong WOW factor – viewers, say “wow” when they see it, the benefits are obvious
  3. Solves an annoying problem that millions of consumers experience every day
  4. Has an easily affordable retail price – $25 or less is ideal

As you can see, there are many inventions that simply don't meet the above 4 requirements. To validate the above, check the DRTV section in your local Walmart or other mass retailer. Ask yourself for each product, “what is the WOW factor”? “What is the annoying problem this product solves”?

Stay tuned