Home Depot Builds Something Too Big To Ignore

By Ben Smith


The fight for Retail Leverage doesn’t end with brands duking it out in the aisles.   Retailers take it outside, fighting their own battles.  If you think unemployment, the real estate market, and tight credit has hurt sales for your brand, imagine how that rolls up to create a desperate environment for the retailer.  While the home improvement sector in retail is still fragmented, the two resounding leaders are Home Depot and Lowes.

Home Depot, in a bid for some Retail Leverage of its own, and in an effort to drive year over year sales growth, has declared “Black Friday Is Back”, creating their own retail big event.  Craig Menear, executive vice president of merchandising for Home Depot, was quoted in BusinessWeek saying that Home Depot will increase its marketing through newspaper circulars, online promotions and other advertising to draw consumers during its busiest season.


Home Depot is following the retail leverage playbook, creating their own “Can’t Ignore” / “Too Big To Ignore” event.  I love what Home Depot is doing, and it would still be a great idea even if it wasn’t during their peak season.  To start a fire you need oxygen and sometimes when everybody else is screaming “fire” it sucks all they oxygen out of the room.  What might get lost in November may have a better chance of standing out during other times of the year.  While timing isn’t the motivating factor, it does work out well if there is stronger seasonality at play, and that is definitely the case here.

HOW CAN YOU “DO IT YOURSELF?” (apologies for the Home Improvement channel puns)

Don’t get hung up on the fact that it was a retailer doing this, and not just a brand.  As I mentioned before, everybody looks for opportunities to gain leverage against their competition – retailers are the same.  And the same goes for scale –  it’s all relative to the pond you are swimming in, and there are levers that any brand marketer can pull to make your own “Too Big To Ignore” event.  I’ll provide a list of basic “tools” we recommend (I’m on a roll with the puns today)

List of Tools To Build Your Own “Too Big To Ignore” Event:

  1. Promotion: it all starts with a strong promotion that will maximize participation among your retail partners (something they don’t want to be left out from)
  2. Circular Ads: align circular ads across all your retailer partners for one week / period (again, they don’t want to be left out of this one)
  3. FSI / gift guide: these dedicated pieces allow you to fully tell your story, and create a multiplier effect in conjunction with your circular presence.
  4. Traditional Broadcast Media (tv/radio – if it makes sense given your $ scale)
  5. Demo/sampling events (if it makes sense given your product)

The list is by no means exhaustive – depending on your capabilities and resources there are other arrows you can pull from your quiver.  Some brands have a strong social media presence & connection with their customers.  By all means – give your connections marching orders to visit participating retailers during your event.  If PR is a major component of your strategy, please do engage with those wizards who have mastered making something “look bigger than it really is”.  The net is – align as many resources as you can to amplify your message, create your own big bang and stand out from the crowd (wow 3 buzz phrases in a row).  If you succeed your only problem will be figuring out how you “Do It Yourself – Again!”




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One Response so far.

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by RetailLeverage: Learn about building something intangible (retail leverage) from Home Depot http://bit.ly/aqvJGs

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