Marketers Must Address the Future
by Mark Williams
As the technological revolution continues, infomercial marketers
must remain knowledgeable, flexible and one step ahead of the trends.
It is crucial that we unite to tackle industry-wide problems, which
range from how we are perceived as an industry to rising media costs,
and critical that we identify new growth opportunities provided
With the influx of new technologies, including cyberspace malls
and shopping on demand via interactive television, infomercials
adapted to these new technologies are the wave of the future for
selling products and service. Marketers need to prepare for
Established long before deregulation, the infomercial industry
launches as a medium uniquely able to intrigue consumers through
innovative presentations of new products. As the industry
matured, infomercials earned respect as a valuable tool for marketers.
Consumers, however, reacted negatively to poor production values
and over-hyped, inferior products, which created the stigma now
attached to the word "infomercial."
Still, both marketers and consumers recognize the inherent value
of infomercials for their ability to educate and entertain.
Infomercials allow markers to explain how a product can benefit
a results-oriented society and they enable marketers to capture
an entire market of "accidental" shoppers.
We must collectively work to remove the stigma associated with
infomercials and promote them as a legitimate marketing tool designed
to help people buy products that will simplify and improve their
The infomercial industry must regulate itself and refuse to be
singled out for negative criticism applicable to the entire advertising
industry. Government regulations require infomercials to carry
elaborate disclaimers, while automobile television advertisements
make grandiose claims, accompanied only by four seconds of legalese
that no human could possibly read. We must lobby for an equal
In addition to providing a service, we are entertaining and, therefore
deserve the same media coverage that other entertainment programs
receive. If we urge television program guides to distinguish
our programs with detailed listings, we can turn the already lucrative
market of accidental shoppers into a mega-market of informed, intentional
If our industry is to enjoy continued growth, we must encourage
competition from entrepreneurs. Right now, entrepreneurs are
forced out by inefficient and overzealous media buyers who virtually
control the industry by encouraging exorbitant media prices.
Media prices have increased tenfold in recent years and will continue
to rise unless we take control of media buying. The best insurance
a company can have is to buy its own media. I advise larger
companies to create their own in-house media buying services and
encourage young entrepreneurs to take the time to learn the media
We are a young and dynamic industry that is being threatened by
issues we can control. In order to survive in today's marketplace,
we must band together to ensure higher-quality productions designed
to maintain view interests, encourage innovative products to spark
sales and study the new technology available to find out how infomercial
markets can best put it to use.
Veteran infomercial producer Mark Williams is president of the
Mark Williams Entertainment Organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In addition to having five infomercials currently on the air including
Eagle Eyes, National Home Business, Fast Cash with Phone Cards and
Career Counselors of America, Williams is responsible for the nine-year
success of the Dave Del Dotto shows and is credited for having created
the first celebrity-hosted infomercial, Success in America with
E. G. Marshall, in 1983.
Mark Williams Entertainment
East Warm Springs Road, Suite #102
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Contact: Honolulu, Hawaii (808) 223-1974
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