Romy Taormina

Psi Bands - Nausea Relief Chief/Co-Founder
Pacific Grove, CA
http://www.psibands.com

    ShopNBC – Part 3

    March 8, 2009

    On 3/2 and 3/3, Psi Bands had a total of 4 airings on ShopNBC, located in MN. As I previously mentioned in Part 2 of this series, this, too, was an exhilarating and exhausting experience.

     

    Exhausting because I am traveling from the west coast (PST) and so must adjust to the two hour differential (CST). And, because the air times can be early. For example, one of my four airings was at 6am CST. You are expected to arrive to the “green room” (where you wait before going on air) one hour prior to your air time. So, if your air time is during the 6am hour (even at 6:35am), you need to arrive at 5am. For this trip, this was my earliest air time. I wondered how many people are watching/shopping at 6am CST (5am PST). I still don’t have the answer to that question, but sales were no different for Psi Bands during this early hour than they were at the other show times (9am, 3pm, 5pm). There could be many reasons for this – how the hostess compared from one to the next; how I did; the consumer who is watching the show at that given moment.  

     

    Exhilarating because I start to get that nervous/excited feeling in my stomach a few minutes before show time. Of course it’s exhilarating to know that I am getting “free” advertising on a national level. Of course, it’s not entirely free – there’s the COGS (cost of goods sold) and travel to consider. We are covering these expenses, but not yet making a profit. I view it like this:

    Psi Bands benefits from the infomercial format of TV – the back and forth discussion and explanation as to how they work, why they work, and the features/benefits. And, to create an infomercial would cost us tens of thousands of dollars, something that is not in our marketing budget. The national exposure allows us to create consumer awareness and we are able to tell our retailers and potential retailers that we are advertising on a national level (music to their ears).

     

    While I have not been guaranteed an invite back to ShopNBC, the buyer is happy and continues to tell me that she thinks our product is a great fit with their audience. Their key audience is female, 50+. She asked me how I felt about the number of minutes on air. Of course my response was that I thought we needed more time due to XYZ. You have to be careful here: ShopNBC evaluates success by DPM (dollars per minute). Just because you have more minutes on air doesn’t necessarily mean a higher DPM.

     

    While I was in the “green room” this trip, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet some good contacts. One was another ShopNBC vendor who also happens to be a rep for The Shopping Channel in Canada. He thought Psi Bands would do well on their show. I will be in touch with him. Another contact was a former buyer from ShopNBC who is now on the vendor side of a profitable product that is sold exclusively on ShopNBC. She offered me some great food for thought. She suggested that I create a script which would keep the hostess (and, thus, me) on track and ensure we get our major selling points across (the hostesses receive “blue cards” that outline features/benefits so a script is a departure from their usual way of doing things). By creating this script, I can also see if more air time would be beneficial for us – keeping in mind the DPM. If the script justifies more air time, then I now have something tangible to discuss with my buyer. This former buyer/now vendor also suggested that I ask my ShopNBC buyer to consider a payment plan for consumers (2 equal payments rather than one larger one to help encourage the purchase on a new product) – this is commonly done on the show.

     

    While in MN, I met with a broker rep team who has agreed to represent us at a major retailer, one that we feel would be VERY suitable to our product. It’s one of our dream accounts – in terms of their audience and store traffic. I had coordinated this meeting ahead of my trip. This rep team would like for us (them/me) to get in front of the buyer in approx. a month. I hope to coordinate on-air time with ShopNBC for the same time period so I can “kill two birds with one stone”. Maximize opportunities, spread out costs, and less travel. Granted I get more work done while traveling, but it’s tiring. (In a separate blog, I will write how I plan for my travel time away -- as a working mom, there is much planning involved.)

     

    Travel to/from MN was unusually smooth. I am always surprised at that. I have had so many “bumps” in schedules that I am caught off guard when things actually go as planned. There were no flight delays, no cancelled trips, minimal turbulence, on time taxis, etc. My only glitch was when I called down to the hotel front desk for a 4am wake up call and didn’t get it. Fortunately, I had also set the alarm clock so I woke up on time (By the way, I always do this when I travel so I have insurance that I will wake up on time). But, even that snafu paid off – the hotel refunded my entire night’s stay (apparently they have a 100% guaranteed satisfaction policy). Sweet!

     

    Let me know if you have specific questions that I may answer.

     

     

    P.S. One of Psi Bands’ goals for 2009 is to land another large retail account (5,000+ stores).

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