International Sales News - As Seen on TV Products

International news, issues, and trends for innovative consumer products in the direct response television industry (DRTV), as well as tips for export management & international product sales. This blog focuses on the As Seen on TV product category.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


BRIC refers to four countries that have shown rapid development and could become the four dominant economies of the world by 2050. The acronym is for the related economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. This thesis was proposed in 2003 by Jim O’Neill who is a global economist for Goldman Sachs. It is important to stress that Mr. O’Neill is not speculating that the BRIC countries will form some sort of economic union like the EU, but merely their combined economies will be the four largest by 2050. That’s not to say that they have not taken steps to boost their cooperation amongst each other in order to potential gain positions in international trading.

The countries of the BRIC are recognized as the fastest growing emerging markets (Mexico and South Korea are also potential candidates but are left off the list because they were considered too developed). Together Brazil, Russia, India, and China cover 25% of the worlds land and hold 40% of the world’s population.
Some future predictions have show that an alliance between Russia and Brazil to supply China and India could be a possible trade scenario due to large populations on the consumer side and large quantities of natural resources on the supplier side.

Whatever the future brings, international trade will continue to grow and the roles of the major players today could be very different by 2050.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

US Manufacturing Continues to Grow

On Thursday the ISM (Institute for Supply Management) announced that the US manufacturing sector has grown for the eighth straight month. The current ISM manufacturing index is a six year high at 59.6%. The manufacturing index number indicates that with higher numbers more firms are growing. The good news for US manufacturing seems to be across the board with nearly 17 of 18 firms growing on average and only the plastic industry shrinking.

According to the Wall Street Journal “factories are reviving the economy”. This is true abroad as well as within the US with China’s manufacturing sector growing for the 13th straight month. Also many Euro-zone countries are experiencing growth with the exception of debt riddled Greece.

Despite the growth of firms in US manufacturing, employers are still reluctant to hire. They are pointing out that although the sector’s growth continues, the overall growth has begun to slow down.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

BIS Nominees Confirmed

On February 11th two BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security) nominees were confirmed by the Senate to fill the positions of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration (Mr. Kevin Wolf) and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement (Mr. David Mills). However, the position of Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration has yet to be filled. Currently the front runner for the most senior position is Mr. Eric Hirschhorn.

In a statement issued by President Obama after the February 11th confirmations, he said that the Senate's action "is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess. If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future."

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Friday, February 12, 2010


DRTV, otherwise known as direct response television, is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising buying. This method utilizes the use of television with ads running on TV anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. DRTV has been proven to be a special form of marketing a product. Having ads on the TV allows you to demonstrate what differentiates your product from the rest. Sitting on a shelf in retail may not allow your product to convey its true potential. Products that have typically had the most success in a DRTV based marketing campaign are those that appeal to a large group of people and with the expansion of TV use around the world there are endless opportunities for those who take advantage of DRTV marketing.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

5 Things You Need to Do Before You Launch Your Product Internationally

If you are a product inventor or manufacturer who is looking to export your product internationally, there are several steps to take before getting started in order to secure the most successful international campaign.

Step #1: Marketing Materials

Marketers in the Direct Response industry are fortunate to not only have marketing materials such as retail and print artwork, but may also have developed a commercial for television airing. If this is the case for you, you will want to make sure to have split audio master tapes with no superimposed images of your advertising media. This ensures that once sent abroad, the master tape can be easily translated and new text or voiceovers added, and put on television right away. For most other marketers, color retail packaging is a necessity, as this is the main method in which international clients will be selling your product. Making sure you have all your retail and print materials in order is your first step.

Step #2: Pricing

In order to accommodate the international clients’ needs, an extra low export price may be necessary to accommodate the international buyer’s shipping costs, storage costs, returns and advertising costs. Often, marketing costs are quite high, and they may even need to send approvals to their local health ministry if your product is an ingestible item, or touches food or skin. These costs add up for the buyer, and they are taking this into account each time they purchase a new item.

Step #3: Shipping Specifications

One of the most important steps that is often overlooked is to have a solid understanding of the packaging of your product. Does it come bulk-packed? How many are in each master carton? What are the carton dimensions? Where will they be picked up? How many can fit on a pallet? Accurate product specifications are necessary so landed costs can be calculated correctly.

Step #4 International trademarks

Make sure that your trademarks are not already taken in a market in which you wish to sell. You may need to pay fees to the person who already holds the trademark there. Also, it is good to secure a trademark in the USA – this helps show the credibility of your product to international clients and can help with local approvals in their markets.

Step #5: Look to export management companies with international expertise

The world is a big place, and each market has different regulations, restrictions, and etiquette. Often, the easiest way to get your foot in the door with new international buyers is to contact an export management company. Some do not charge fees for their services, and they can provide the connections that you do not already have.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Infomercial Sales Thrive While Economy Struggles

A downturn in the economy has actually been good news for the infomercial industry. Lower rates on airtime have allowed many companies to be able to buy more spots on television, and increase their media spend to bring in more sales. Customers are now looking to buy a quick fix solution instead of brand name products, or replacing entire elements of their home. Repair kits sales are on the rise. People are looking to buy small luxury items for themselves, however, such as a mascara product. The Spinlash mascara product has sold extremely well in US retail, despite people's inability to splurge on themselves. Mascara may be seen as a small upgrade that people are willing to buy and invest a little bit in themselves, without going overboard.

With the addition of the new Pitchmen show on the Discovery Channel, many people are now able to see more of what is behind the industry, and the popularity of these kinds of products is also growing with the exposure of the men who pitch them. The buzz around As Seen on TV products (and if they work) has grown quite a bit in the past year alone.

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