What Can Home Shopping Networks Teach You About Marketing?
by Josh Amidon
I’ve always treated this blog like a confessional booth for my guilty pleasures and somehow found a way to justify them by saying “hey, I do it for marketing business purposes!” But who am I kidding (spoiler alert: no one), you know I’m just weird. This week’s topic is no different – home shopping networks.
Maybe it’s the endless stream of impossibly perky hosts hawking simulated diamonds, skin creams, kitchen gadgets and last year’s luxury handbags or maybe it’s the fact that it’s live TV and really anything can go wrong (It often does, like the time Wolfgang Puck dropped 2 F bombs because he forgot he was on tv? Or the time someone was selling the “the world’s strongest ladder” and it snapped in half and the host had no idea what to do) – but I love home shopping networks, they provide a wealth of entertainment for me.
They can provide a wealth of marketing information too. Here are a few marketing tips I've learned from watching hours upon hours of home shopping tv.
Times Change – You Need To Keep Up. It’s no secret that keeping up with changing tech and the way society uses this tech is needed in a successful marketing strategy. Both QVC and HSN started off with phone based ordering only, with the advent of internet shopping – QVC and HSN stepped up their game and began spending money on their ecommerce sites. Then came mobile applications and using “apps” to shop. QVC and HSN had to shift focus to their app as well. Today only 30-35% of QVC’s total sales are phone based.
Sales Tactics Work. I’m someone trained in the art of marketing, yet there are times I still get tricked into buying something from QVC, HSN or Evine - even though I know exactly what they’re doing. I don’t know what that says about me, maybe I’m weak or maybe they’re just extremely good (I choose to believe the latter). Watch one of these networks for only 10 minutes and you’ll see these sales tactics being acted out in front of your very eyes.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition.
- Using descriptive adjectives to bring the products to life.
- Incorporating enthusiastic hosts to persuade the audience.
- The above mentioned host telling a story from their own personal life to making you trust them.
- Displaying a ticking countdown clock and playing background music to create a sense of urgency to buy.
- Also, creating scarcity by saying “we only have 2 dozen left in teal and these won’t be back in stock till next year!”
Focus On Where Others Aren’t. I think it goes without saying that fighting for a customer base that every one of your competitors are also fighting for makes things a little harder for your message to be seen and heard. Home shopping networks are the one retail industry that never went after the millennial generation. While online and brick & mortar stores were fighting over the newly created money spenders, home shopping networks swooped in and picked up alllll the customers that they simply forgot about or no longer cared about – people over 40.
Hopefully, you can insert these tips from home shopping networks into your current marketing strategy. Now if you don’t mind, I have to run – QVC is featuring a pressure washer I didn’t know I needed and they only have 6 dozen left in teal!