Cordless soldering tools, dual-function drills, band-saw blades — innovative
products in the hardware market are alive and well. While the state of the
housing industry continues to fade, the unwavering business of hardware
has given home centers and hardware stores hope for an industrious y ear.
In fact, while profits are not expected to rise well
above 2007’s numbers, experts still harbor hope that
consumers are opting to undergo home renovation and
remodeling instead, which means more do-it-yourself
(DIY) projects and the need for more specialized tools.
According to the North American Retail Hardware
Association/Home Center Institutes’ 2007 Annual
Report, hardware and home improvement profits are
no longer in the double-digit category so normal early
in the decade. However, sales are expected to rise 4. 5
percent annually from 2006 to 2011.
The face of hardware retail is changing. The big-box chains like Sears and Lowe’s are buying up mom-and-pop hardware stores. Therefore, the face of DR
marketing is changing with it. Now, DR marketing has
to drive the consumer to retail in order to make profit
and survive. And while both DRTV and print DR is
still a mainstay for the industry, marketers are turning
to viral campaigns on the Web to get the message out
nationally in order to impacts sales locally.
Reach Nationally, Support Locally
True Value is a well-known hardware retailer
brand, with more than 4,000 stores around the
country. Based in Chicago, the company believes in
marketing on both a national and local level through
brand-building advertising, DR, traffic-driving events
and promotions. While, nationally, True Value
invests heavily in cable advertising, consumer
magazines, Internet and public relations — and
plans to increase its investment in 2008 — it
also supports local DR marketing by providing
the templates for customer loyalty campaigns.
“It works both ways,” says Carol Wentworth, vice president of marketing for
True Value. “We try to provide as many
turnkey solutions as we can, because it
can generate cost efficiency for them
and take less time out of their day, but
it also helps us to build a more consistent brand.”
Two of True Value’s most successful DR campaigns, both produced on
a national level but executed locally,
are its holiday coupons and customer
loyalty program. The first is a holiday letter
campaign that entails mailing out coupons — with no
minimum purchase requirement — to customers that
are redeemable at a consumer’s local True Value store.
“This generates double-digit response rates and always
creates overspend and a positive ROI for participating
stores,” says Wentworth. These coupons can also be
found in national magazines and on the Internet.
“On a local level, our most measurable and ef-