March 12, 2021

Home Improvement Season Is on the Horizon

By Chip West
Categories

• Home improvement spending doesn’t look like it’ll slow down after the pandemic.
• With that in mind, retailers must continue marketing their offerings to interested consumers.
• In this piece, we’ll outline how brands can best engage interested home improvers.

Even after a year of the coronavirus pandemic, homeowners remain determined to move forward with their property improvement plans. A recent study conducted for Lowe’s found that more than half of U.S. consumers plan to take on new home improvement projects in 2021, including bigger tasks than they already tackled the previous year.

Of course, no one knows exactly when life will start to return to normal. But the current sentiment is leaning toward investing in home renovations. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University estimates that national spending for remodeling and repairs will grow to $352 billion in 2021, up nearly 4% from 2020 levels. Upcoming tax returns could fund many of these purchases, as Americans look to update their current homes or buy new ones.

Not the time to let off of the gas

All indications point to now being the ideal time for home improvement retailers and purveyors of adjacent solutions like mortgages, furnishings, and landscaping to boost efforts to engage this audience. Not only can they appeal to homeowners who are itching to renovate, they dare not neglect the 33% who are first-time buyers.

Any one of these shifts should be enough to encourage advertisers to take notice. Combined, these factors make it even more important to track home buying and renovation trends and respond with messaging and ad campaigns that tap into this mood.

Top 5 Home Improvement Projects

This is bigger than home improvement

Getting settled into a new house or improving the current one requires spending thousands of dollars. And not just on home improvement. Sure, there’s money spent on painting, new decks, and lawn care. But this home improvement urge presents an opportunity for more than home improvement brands.

Consumers will spend money on furniture and cleaning services, not to mention finding new grocery stores, hooking up new utility services, and finding new healthcare providers. Even renovating a kitchen is likely to encourage more spending on takeout. In short, almost any retailer or service provider is likely to be affected by this home improvement impulse, especially when new residents move into the neighborhood. It takes just two months for most new movers to select their preferred grocery store, found Epsilon’s 2016 New Mover Report — that’s two months to engage before they become loyal to a competitor.

Building the ideal home improvement marketing strategy

Take the direct approach.
Consumers crave relevant and timely insights that come straight to them. The more targeted a deal or message, the more useful people will find that information — and the more likely they are to use it. Marketing that is straightforward and not complex can resonate with consumers, particularly if they’re trying to conduct their own home renovations.

One way to be direct is to reach them as they make their new house a home with the Valassis Automated New Movers program. New mover intelligence helps pinpoint and engage consumers in their new homes with relevant direct mail marketing offers. This program is an automated marketing strategy, and no additional planning is needed — postcards just go out to new movers each month.

Approach on multiple fronts.
Consumers tend to bounce across a lot of different marketing channels — noticing a retailer on Facebook, visiting a website to see their options, and heading to the store to make a purchase. And that’s just one of many potential customer journeys. Ultimately, it’s vital to surround your target audience with the appropriate media and messaging to capture attention and inspire engagement.

Of course, if you don’t know your audience intimately — that will require cultivating those relationships so you can learn their needs, channel preferences, and purchase intent. However, one approach may be to add Connected TV (CTV) to the mix to support a direct mail program while delivering relevant and targeted messages. You may also consider leveraging influencers on social media platforms. And, depending on your brand, you could consider augmented reality to help the consumer explore your product in an immersive experience.

Homeowners continue to invest in their homes, and those projects are just getting bigger and more expansive as time goes on. Your products and services could absolutely fit into the equation. People are in the market for everything from home décor to building supplies. They’re even looking for ways to make their homes smarter and more eco-friendly.

But connecting with homeowners requires a campaign with a balance of traditional direct mail and targeted digital approaches like CTV, social, and influencer marketing to find consumers when and where they’re most engaged.

Ready to connect directly with new movers? See how Valassis can put your message into their mailbox.

Chip West is client strategy director for Valassis with over 30 years of experience immersed in a variety of retail verticals, including a strong focus in the home furnishings and home improvement sectors. Through strategy and insights, he teams with retailers to inspire greater consumer engagement and action.

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