Do-It-Myself? Show Me How7 May, 2010 By: Bridget McCrea Response
Direct response gives hardware marketers a way to demonstrate their goods and sell higher-ticket items.
As effective as DR is within the hardware category, the medium still presents its share of challenges for marketers and producers vying for consumer eyeballs in a competitive industry where big name brands reign. At Festool, Williams says the biggest hurdle is paring down the company’s message to a scant, focused couple of minutes.
“Focus is always a challenge,” says Williams. “We have 20 different things to say about our product, but we can’t cover them all in DR or we’ll end up losing our customers’ interest.”
With a few shows completed, Williams says he and his team have learned to stay on point and to create tight messages that aren’t diluted by extraneous information. “You really have to dial it down,” he advises, “and stick to the key two or three points that are most relevant to your audience.”
Garnett says overcoming the natural skepticism of hobbyists, woodworkers and contractors is another hurdle that hardware marketers have to jump over. “These customers love their hobby and want to be involved with it, but at the same time many of them have been burned in the past,” says Garnett. “As a result, DRTV tricks like dramatic overstatement and exaggeration don’t resonate with them.”
To overcome that skepticism, Garnett says hardware marketers have to show application, and demonstrate their products’ capabilities in a way that hits home with the audience. “You have to know how people use your products,” says Garnett, “and appeal to a wider audience than the guy who paints a wall once a year.”
It’s likely that more hardware marketers will be following that advice this year as they look to replicate the success of companies like ProTool, Drill Doctor and Robogrip — all of which captured their piece of the DRTV pie. Those that succeed in that quest will likely be solid, useful tools that are well made and that incorporate innovation, says Garnett.
“It’s the fundamentally well-made tools that do well on TV,” says Garnett, who points to the MultiMaster product line as a prime example of how reputable hardware products can use direct response to reach a broader, consumer audience. “Whereas some DRTV categories can [get away with] cheesy products, the same doesn’t hold true with hardware. Most of the tools we’re seeing are high-quality professional tools that are trickling down to the consumer market.”