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Direct Response Marketing

DIY Powers Through Tough Times

1 May, 2009 By: Doug McPherson Response

Direct response continues to build a strong foundation for hardware marketers facing cautious consumers.


Hammer It Home With DRTV

No doubt, Harker is a big fan of the multi-channel approach to marketing as is Doug Garnett, president of Atomic Direct, an ad agency in Portland, Ore., that specializes in brands, consumer strategy, infomercials and driving sales with TV.

But Garnett, a member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board, will also tell you TV is key in promoting hardware, primarily because it allows for demonstration — particularly for tools. However, Garnett warns of cheesy sales tactics, especially in hardware.

"The DIY audience is skeptical," Garnett says. "It's the 'but wait, there's more' antics, tacky music, fake excitement and lines like the host didn't know something obvious, 'Gee Bob, I didn't know wood came from trees.'"

SuperWhipper Inc. is hoping that the do-it-yourself trend spills over into the kitchen. Its recently launched SuperWhipper is relying on four primary channels: DRTV, DR print, trade shows and the Web to get the new gadget into cooks' hands.
SuperWhipper Inc. is hoping that the do-it-yourself trend spills over into the kitchen. Its recently launched SuperWhipper is relying on four primary channels: DRTV, DR print, trade shows and the Web to get the new gadget into cooks' hands.

Garnett hates it, too, when the set of an infomercial for tools is too clean. "There will be sawdust. Shops have a certain look. I call it 'No BS elements'," he says. "If the host's fingernails are manicured, I don't believe you."

He adds that exaggerations in DRTV can even hurt sales. For example, when an ad says consumers may be able to get rid of all their other tools, that can work against sales. "Many consumers like their tools, some of which may have been handed down from their father or grandfather," Garnett says.

One of Atomic's clients, Kreg Tool Co. of Huxley, Iowa, is paying heed to this advice. Last fall, Atomic produced a half-hour show for the company's Kreg Jig® — which makes it easy to connect pieces of wood — that's now running on networks such as Speed, DIY and HGTV. (There is an 8-minute excerpt on its Web site at www.kregjoint.com.)

Brad Lilienthal, director of sales and marketing for Kreg, says the spot has yielded "substantial improvement" in Web traffic and dealer retail sales — both key goals to help build the brand.

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