Kreg Does a Jig for DR1 Jun, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response
Demonstrability, Research Bring Kreg to DR
"For years we have been using live tradeshow demonstrations as one of the primary outlets to get the message of what the Kreg Jig can do for a woodworker delivered," Lilienthal says. "As the Web has developed, tradeshows as a business destination in our industry have decreased."
With this slow drain taking a toll, it was only natural for Lilienthal and the Kreg team to look at other marketing methods that would allow them to capitalize on their product's incredible demonstrability. In 2008, the company — after much discussion — turned to direct response television to expand the reach of its message, expand its brand at retail outlets (such as Lowe's, Home Depot and Menard's), and improve its own marketing measurement capabilities.
"Our goal is to use DRTV to build Kreg brand awareness and ultimately 'manufacture' new woodworkers in the long term," Lilienthal says. "We believe that by reaching out through DRTV to a broader audience, we can get the 'Average Joe' started building with wood, then introduce them to educational materials and other tools they might not know exist, then get them to adopt woodworking as a hobby as their skills develop."
Yet, the focus on retail in the hardware business — "In the tool business, many customers like to physically handle a product before they buy it," says Lilienthal — meant that any DRTV campaign had to include not only a direct purchase opportunity but also clearly boost traffic and sales at retail partners. "Our retail partners create a great environment for our product to be analyzed in context to the other tools within the woodworking industry," he adds. "Kreg doesn't manufacture a tool for every job and never will. Retail is a great environment for a customer to learn what products are available to them and to be able to see clearly what it would take to get serious about building with wood."
This was the goal that the Kreg team entrusted to Portland, Ore.-based agency Atomic Direct when they decided to create a long-form DRTV show for what it calls its first DIY-focused product — a $99.99 version of the Kreg Jig, the K4. The first step that Atomic and the Kreg team combined on was serious research centered on a series of focus groups.
"When we first started talking about focus group research, the goal was to create a 10-minute, in-store looping message for the DIY woodworker," Lilienthal says. "It was not a for a DRTV thing, but more of a test — can we get messaging right, do we like working with Atomic? We took this piece to the focus group to vet the concept of a possible infomercial."
What happened? "The results were eye-opening," says Lilienthal, who hadn't been involved in a focus group before. He was initially concerned because it seemed to him that the moderator "had no clue about the product."
Lilienthal admits, "I was quaking about the cost, thinking, 'This is not what I had planned. How's this going to work?'" However, the professionalism and skill of the moderator and the response of consumers to the video turned him around almost immediately.
"There's really a science to moderating — it's almost better if the moderator doesn't know about the product," he says. "You get more truthful answers from the participants. We wanted to know if there was mass appeal to the product, and this focus group went well. We created the infomercial with feedback from the session. For instance, we learned that repair was a huge trigger for people. Once they knew they could use to product for repairs, then they'd get around to using it for building."
After the full show was completed, a second focus group was set. And, with a full-fledged infomercial to view, consumer attitudes changed. "Now that they know it's an infomercial, there was more wariness in their eyes, and we got different reactions," he says. "Most had not heard of Kreg Tool Co., and we got a lot of good information about that, and about building the credibility of the brand."