Mystery men of research: contractors
The home improvement marketing industry may think it knows contractors. And opinions differ on the best ways to study their purchasing habits.
But one thing is clear according to a presentation here at the Home Improvement Research Institute Spring Conference: contractors are a difficult group to research.
Mark Delaney, VP of Client Service for Media, Pa.-based SSRS, listed the challenges faced by researchers reaching out to contractors, who account for about 30% of sales at big box retailers.
“Contractors by their very nature are not tethered to an office,” said Delaney, in a presentation titled “Knowing Your Market: Options for Representative Research.”
It’s not only the nature of their office (a pickup truck) and their jobsite demands. Delaney also pointed to the language barrier. The U.S. Department of Labor projects Spanish-speaking contractors will outnumber English-speaking contractors by the year 2025. And not only that, it’s not enough to simply describe a purchaser as “Hispanic.”
“Consider that terming your audience as Hispanic is akin to talking about the home improvement industry as one industry,” he said. Major differences exist between Puerto Rico, Mexico and Cuba – just as they exist in tools, flooring and outdoor power equipment.
“A well-crafted, data-driven strategy is the first step in reaching the Hispanic marketplace,” he said.
The HIRI conference, "Paths to Knowing Home Improvement, "included several research-oriented presentations. For more, visit HIRI.org.
Arun Arora to lead Sears Home Services business
Sears Holdings has tapped Arun Arora as SVP and president, Home Services, in which role he will take charge of the business unit’s In-Home Repair Services, Service Contracts, Carry-In Repair, Sears Home Improvement Services, Parts Direct, Commercial Sales and Sears Franchise Businesses.
"Our customers and members invite us every day into their homes and trust us; we don’t take that for granted," said Edward Lampert, Sears Holdings chairman and CEO. "Arun’s passion for both analytics and understanding the customer’s needs, along with his deep experience in integrated retailing, will be an asset to the organization."
Previously, Arora was SVP and general manager for Staples Global Ecommerce. During his time there, he managed Staples’ online business and its inside-sales business.
He has also served as CFO, Americas & Treasurer for Groupon Inc., as well as held various finance stints at Beam Global Wine & Spirits, 3M Company, Mentor Graphics, Verari Systems, Sun Microsystems, Credit Suisse First Boston and Goldman Sachs.