Home Industry News REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: Marketing On A Budget


Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, a dealer may have answered something like this when asked where he spends his marketing budget: “Its important to be everywhere, so we advertise in all three places: newspaper, Yellow Pages and radio.”

“From our experience, statement stuffers and email blitzes work well for reaching pros. I feel the best money we spend every year is a customer appreciation day in which we ask our distributors to participate in this 1/2 day event. We set up a unit of plywood in our front parking lot for each vendor (normally 12-15 vendors) and ask them to display company logos, literature, new products, tool repair, etc., and ask them to bring a door prize. We sell tickets for a drawing, donating the money to a local charity. Average attendance is usually between 300-400 people. We provide lunch for anyone who stops by. Our annual sales are approximately 85% contractor sales, so again we feel that this is our best form of advertisement for us by involving our vendors, employees, owners, with our everyday customers. The cost to feed each person varies depending on menu, however most vendors offer to help cover costs.”

“That’s the million dollar question. We have tried several routes and find that radio only puts our name in a wide range of people, but does not have a trail we can follow. Print is also a hit or miss but direct mailing helps as you can put a coupon or sale in front of a focused area. Social media needs to be focused, and might have some impact but it depends if your demographics show that there are people who use social media to any great extent.”

“On a limited budget, I would use newspaper, which would direct readers to the company’s website, which would have testimonials from satisfied customers.”

“We don’t see much value in any.”

“With a limited marketing budget, I would focus on social media and online advertising.”

“Newsprint advertising has lost most of it’s effectiveness, in my opinion. Flyers distributed in the newspaper seem to work okay, and coupon books have made a strong reemergence in recent years. If you can afford it, direct mail flier/coupon book advertising results in more sales. The total expense is what decides. Still need to measure the results, different markets like different methods. We use Ace Rewards program to advertise directly to our customers, with good results to cost ratio. We still like to have events co-sponsored by vendors. The owner flips burgers and dogs on his 50” Weber BBQ and we advertise on Reader Board and in contractors statements. It’s a bit of work, but a lot of fun for all involved. Transaction count is always up 20-30% that day. As one marketing maven, Georganne Bender, likes to say, ‘Food Sells.’”

“Spread it out.”

“It depends on the target. If you’re seeing a decline of local walk-in customers, a mailing or newspaper may get better results. If you are trying to expand beyond your current area, then maybe radio ads that reach a larger audience would be better, either way you go, determine your target and pour the revenue into it. I think you will get better results doing one thing and doing it well.”

“Focus on newspaper and website. A reader can always go back to the paper and look for something they read.”

“Being a dealer with multiple locations, we have found that spreading it around to different media types until results are tracked works best. Once results are known, focus on what works best for a particular market.”

Have a Real Issue? Contact me at Rick@LBMJournal.com.

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