HSN

by on June 26, 2012

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When I was a kid, I was a sucker for infomercials. I would wake up early on Saturday mornings and learn all about amazing products like Colorcoat 2000, Ab Flex, Brown N Crisp, and, my favorite, The Flying Lure. Excluding the latter, these products all solved problems that I didn’t have, but I was still fascinated by them. I wish I could say it was because of my early love for marketing, but I was just a dumb kid who believed all of the outrageous claims. If I really wanted to learn about marketing and selling products on tv, I should have been watching HSN. The St. Petersburg, FL based company has built an amazing business by selling all kinds of things to people who are sitting on their couch. While infomercial hucksters have been burning people with products that don’t work, HSN has been cultivating relationships with loyal customers.

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The story about how Home Shopping Network got its start is pretty awesome. You can check out their Wikipedia entry for the whole thing, but the short version is that a radio station got paid by a broke advertiser in the form of can openers. One of the deejays went on the air and sold all of them at $9.95. That deejay became the first ever home shopping host, and the station manager was the founder. Buying something on your couch may not seem that revolutionary now, but it sure was back in 1985. What’s more impressive is that HSN still seems to be growing (a lot of companies in their position would have rested on their laurels and gotten crushed but the Internet). Their stock price has increased steadily since they went public in 2008, and they were “one of the top 10 most trafficked e-commerce sites” as of 2009. Unfortunately, HSN’s About page is down as I’m writing this, but when it gets back up you should be able to learn a lot more about their business there. Luckily, their Jobs page is working, and they have a specific section for internships. They offer positions in:

  • Merchandising – Buying and Merchandise Planning for Ecommerce and Television in Jewelry, Health/Fitness/Infomercial, Housewares/Electronics, Home Fashion, Apparel/Accessories, Beauty
  • Television – Sets & Lighting, Backstage Coordination, TV Operations, Creative Services
  • Marketing – Online Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Public Relations, Brand Marketing
  • Technology – Applications Development, Technical Support, Telecom, Ecommerce
  • Finance – Financial Planning/Analysis, Financial Reporting, General Accounting, Treasury, Tax, Internal Audit
  • Human Resources – Benefits, Employee Relations, Recruiting, Work/Life, Operations, Compensation, Organizational Development/Learning

It sounds like they only offer credit, so they’re not paid, but I bet you can learn a ton.

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