fective direct response marketing is conducted through our
customer loyalty program,” says Wentworth. Another successful
DR campaign is the True Value Rewards program. It is free for
customers to join and requires no card to carry.
For marketing purposes, the program allows True Value to
get a consumer’s home address, phone number, E-mail address
and purchasing information. Once a consumer spends a certain
amount, a $10 certificate is awarded. The program is generating
better than a 65-percent response rate on the certificates.
Similarly, LENOX — a leading manufacturer of power tool
accessories, torches, solders and band-saw blades — has found
success in print DR campaigns that are produced nationally and
redeemed locally. The East Longmeadow, Mass.-based company
opened in 1915 with 10 employees and now has more than 600
people working in more than 70 countries.
LENOX, a Newell Rubbermaid company, is a business-to-business integrated marketer that utilizes DR to drive sales leads,
sample products and drive end-user promotional campaigns.
A recent campaign involved the new line of snips and HVAC
tools. A mailed insert offered a buy-one-get-one-free offer.
“The campaign kicked off in first-quarter 2007 and has averaged approximately 1,000 redemptions per month for the past
year,” says Susan Spaulding, director of marketing communications for LENOX.
The company spends most
of its DR money in the print
channel and in partnerships with
distributors, where 100 percent
of LENOX’s products are sold. A
new print campaign for 2008 will
be offered in publications and
at point-of-sale and is called the
“Hot Performance, Cool Mobility” program. When consumers
buy a Mobile Torch System True Value’s successful holiday coupon campaign has generated
— launched in Q3 2007 — they double-digit response rates for the companies 4,000 stores
can send away for a free die-cast nationwide. The coupons, found in magazines, on the Internet,
LENOX replica car, like the one and in the mail, will be available on national cable TV for 2008.
the company sponsors for NAS-
CAR driver Jeff Burton.
The female marketing focus has come to the forefront in the
past five years as companies start to realize the importance of
their purchasing power. “It is the role that women play in deciding which home improvement projects will be conducted, what
will be purchased and where it will be purchased,” says Wentworth. “In many cases, women are doing the planning, purchasing and implementation of the project work itself.”
More specifically, Rob Medved, president and CEO of Burlington, Wis.-based Cannella Response Television and a member
of the Response Editorial Advisory Board, says that DRTV has
always been a female-dominated marketplace. According to
a recent study conducted by Advertising Age, 23 percent of all
women name watching television as their No. 1 leisure activity.
Therefore, the marketing of hardware needs to appeal to women,
even if the male is the end purchaser.
Women: Hardware’s Best Customers
Women hold a majority of the purchasing power — according to some estimates, they make 80 percent of the buying decisions in all homes — and the hardware industry is not taking
that opportunity for granted. Advertising for hardware, from
print to DRTV, is now skewing toward the female demographic.
Wentworth says that True Value tends to target women in its
campaigns because they are “easier to reach” than the male consumer. For example, True Value uses Steve Watson, a celebrity
spokesperson on cable network HGTV, in campaigns aimed at
both men and women. However, Watson’s good looks and hip
show “Don’t Sweat It,” create a mostly female draw.
Wentworth says that the hardware industry remains rather
steady from year to year because homes always need small improvements and maintenance work. According to the North
American Retail Hardware Association/Home Center Institutes,
hardware stores reported a 0.9-percent sales increase for 2006,
about the same as 2005.
“While the big-box home improvement stores are impacted
more dramatically by the rise
and fall of the home industry,
[more traditional] hardware
stores don’t experience the
large swings in the business,”
says Wentworth. “Our core
business is small home im-
provement, repair and main-
So while the hardware
business did not grow as aggressively as the big-box in
the past decade, it has also not
declined as dramatically with
the recent steep drop in home
building and home sales. The big-box stores have slowed down
their expansion and consolidation activity — and hardware
stores are learning to work with these chains by taking over and
running branch stores. According to the North American Retail
Hardware Association/Home Center Institutes, none of the top
10 chain stores captured any additional market share in 2006,
despite opening more than 300 new stores.
Which hardware products will do well in 2008? Analysts
point to those with multiple functions that make specialty
projects easier for the DIY market.
Home sales are down and remodeling is gaining momentum.
Home improvement product sales declined in 2007 for the first
time since 1991. According to the Home Improvement Re-