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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.


"We were betting if we could capture some of the magic of a live woodworking demonstration with applications that really relate to a do-it-yourselfer, the Kreg Jig® could have far reaching appeal," Lilienthal adds. "We believed long-form DRTV done right could be a great way to get the benefits of the tool across clearly."

Lilienthal says he chose his infomercial partner carefully because he felt his product needed to be understood "on a fairly deep level" to be accurately presented to the target market.

"Yell-and-sell is definitely not our style, and we liked Atomic's approach to building true brand value over time," Lilienthal says. "We're building a brand for the long-term and want to make sure our customers are not over-promised."

Psychology is clearly at work in selling tools, according to Garnett. He says using tools brings a sense of competence. "When you can fix things, that gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it makes consumers feel good," Garnett contends. "There's a powerful self-perception at play, and the right tools help people get there. It's about self-esteem. And men are usually influenced by what their fathers did, and working in the garage or on the car is a way to connect with their dads. There's a whole rich world to work from."

Garnett focused on making sure the show communicated that the tool gives viewers that ability to build things they've always wanted to build. He says, "Our goal was to get the viewers to say, 'I could use that to add to my kid's room.'"

Garnett also banned the words woodworker and joiner. "They're too intimidating. An important goal was to make it appear easy and make it entertaining. Some infomercial producers forget that home-and-garden is about entertainment. Work around the home is interesting to watch."

The spot also includes a nationally known homebuilder named Gary Striegler for a three-minute segment that, Garnett says, adds credibility. "Not many infomercial guys would cast him," Garnett says. "We did consumer research ahead of time and executed. People will do research but few execute."

Finishing Touches

As to how 2009 will finish in light of a tepid economy, DR experts and hardware insiders are bullish. Rob Medved, president of Cannella Response Television Inc., a full service infomercial and short-form media agency, says the outlook in DRTV is "solid for 2009 and beyond," especially from a marketer's perspective.

"Direct response time is a commodity. The price of that commodity is set by the demand of the consumers and, in turn, what the marketer can pay for the time to ensure profitability," says Medved, a member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board. "Marketers are shielded fairly well in this economy. While overall consumer spending is falling off, more DR space is opening up. We see hit products launch every week in DRTV."

And Garnett says there will be more do-it-yourself projects versus hiring contractors. "Do-it-yourself is a good thing in a bad economy — building instead of buying. And really, if you think about it, a lot of the stuff you buy is so badly built, why not build it yourself?"

Vereen agrees. "People still need basic products from hardware stores and home centers," he says. "We're hearing from retailers that they're holding more classes on fix-up projects for customers to help them keep their homes up and learn how to perform more chores themselves."

Vereen adds that members of the Worldwide DIY Council are creating marketing programs to help their retailers develop effective ads, focusing on fix-it projects, green products and helping with employee training.

Of course Harker is optimistic, too. "We're not really worried about all the news on the economy," he says. "We're just focused on getting our product in consumers' hands."

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