Peter Wright, Director, Client Marketing – Retail, Valassis
Published Thursday, Nov 15, 2018
Many of us have picked up that screwdriver or wrench with the best of intentions. I’ll admit, I probably inflate my ability to build or fix things. We all want to be able to say we got it done. But often, the home improvement project or home repair is beyond our own capabilities. Luckily, there are reliable professional contractors to serve this $200-plus billion home remodeling and renovation industry.
Historically, the general contractor and local professional have been the labor backbone of this industry. That local connection – sealed with a handshake – builds the trust that has been important in this category, but things are changing. Big players have already or are currently entering the marketplace with designs on making it their empire.
Competition in the home services category is at an all-time high. Once dominated by small business and local contractors, big box home improvement retailers have expanded their service offerings to capture part of the revenue stream. It is easy to understand this alignment of products and services all under one roof. After all, consumers value convenience.
One entrant to this segment that is surprising is the world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon. It is slowly invading the home services space by offering connectivity to home service providers. Amazon’s deep consumer base is of concern to other players in the home services category.
Competition has continued with the build out of another competitor, Tree House. Tree House promises an end-to-end experience in managing your home service project needs. Its unique positioning is that they attempt to be as “green” as possible in their work and the materials they use. In a recent podcast on NRF’s “Retail Gets Real,” Tree House CEO Gray Kusin outlines his company’s goal of dominating the $200 billion “Do it for Me” segment. With the likes of Amazon and Tree House expanding their services, competition for every consumer dollar is going to be fierce.
What does this all mean for home services advertisers? They must create a special bond with the consumer to build that personal trust that has been the hallmark of this category. Big (Amazon) or small (local professional), building trust and confidence in the customer’s mind is essential. So how do they do it -- by utilizing marketing tools that enhance the one-to-one communication and are trusted advertising vehicles that inspire action. And in the home improvement/home services category, print and digital media play a strong role in influencing consumers.
Direct mail, digital advertising and email can be personalized to deliver a one-to-one message or offer. If brands can engage and activate consumers with these marketing tools and then deliver with their services, who knows how much of the $200 billion pie they can have.