As seen on TV: Get your hardware product on national television
If you want media coverage for your new product and views by thousands of people in a fun and unique format, there’s no better way than getting on national TV. Over the years, there have been a variety of TV shows that let eager entrepreneurs pitch their products to seasoned veteran investors. Most famously, Shark Tank has helped startups get millions of dollars in funding — and millions of views. There’s been a wide range of products featured, from Bombas, who received more than $225 million in sales after being backed by Shark Tank, to Ring, who were rejected but have since become a multi-million-dollar company. The original pitch-your-startup show, Dragons’ Den, has spinoffs in Canada, UK, Japan, India, and around the world.
How to get noticed
There’s no secret to getting noticed by the producers of Shark Tank or QVC; like any good marketing, it starts with making a splash. This can be on social media with a viral TikTok video like Stakt, at a pitch competition like Keen Home, or with a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign, like our client Prepdeck.
If you’re interested in being on one of these shows, there are quite a few resources on how to prepare your pitch so you aren’t caught off guard. If you know your product inside-out and can identify your key market segment, you’re on the right track, but be careful not to be caught unprepared!
Knowing how to negotiate is key. It’s critical that you use strong language and present assertively. Avoid using words like “around” or “maybe,” and be sure to use strong body language. It’s important to feel comfortable declining their offer for multiple reasons. They might view you as more confident and give you a better offer, but you also won’t feel the pressure if they offer you something you don’t like. Come prepared with a backup plan and other resources to get your funding.
If you want to be on a show like Shark Tank, you can apply online or in person. But keep in mind that being cast doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be on TV. If you want to get the views, you’ll have to make an impression one way or another. You can prepare by studying old episodes, like these fantastic and funded pitches, or take a stab at going viral like Chicken Orb.
What really happens behind the scenes
We’ve been lucky to work with a variety of clients who have been on Shark Tank, so we know what it takes and what happens behind the scenes. Informal client Stakt was on Shark Tank Season 14 and asked for $100,000 for 10% equity. In the end, they landed a deal for 15% equity and $0.75 royalty from shark Lori Greiner. Not all participants of the show end up taking the money off camera – the publicity of being on the show is more than enough. An average of 4.2 million people tuned in to watch Shark Tank 2022, which was more than enough of a payoff.
One of our earliest clients, Keen Home, was featured on Shark Tank Season 6, and they received a $750,000 loan at 8.5% interest for 10% equity. The experience had a profound impact on Keen Home’s business, driving much of their online sales for two years following their appearance on the show, including a “Where are they now” segment a year later. Founder Nayeem Hussain wrote about their success and growth since the show aired and reflected on the involvement of Shark Tank investor Robert Herjavec on the board of advisors as a valuable resource and partner.
After a successful launch that saw AloeCare products picked up by CVS for sale in-store, the team was invited to sell their product on QVC. QVC’s hosts do a lot of the heavy lifting of selling during your product’s appearance, but they’ll be following your and their producer’s lead, so you want to make sure you have a compelling product assortment, great documentation, and where possible, pre-written selling points and features for the host. Compelling packaging and photography are key both for the broadcast and your product’s listing on the QVC website afterwards.
If you’re interested in having your products featured on a TV show like QVC or Shark Tank, we can help you refine your pitch, build your social media and get prepared!
informal is a freelance collective for the most talented independent professionals in hardware and hardtech. Whether you’re looking for a single contractor, a full-time employee, or an entire team of professionals to work on everything from product development to go-to-market, informal has the perfect collection of people for the job.