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A home field advantage

True Value Company leans on local and digital marketing.

BY HBSDealer Staff

True Value Company is a solid convert to the theory of localized marketing. It’s really a pretty simple theory that goes like this: A store in Anytown, USA, is better off advertising to its local customer base than to a group of people watching television 200 miles or more away.

David Elliott

“There’s a big picture, which we arrived at about 18 months ago,” True Value Senior VP of Marketing David Elliott explained to HBSDealer. “It involved eliminating the advertising fee we charged retailers and giving that money back to the stores and saying, we believe you should be using that money locally.”

Of course, retail is detail. And the key to the success of the modern marketing strategy, according to Elliott, is the synchronization of three things – loyalty data, POS data sharing and digital messaging. True Value says it is offering marketing programs that efficiently and successfully drive traffic and sales.

“You don’t want to advertise a lawnmower to someone who just bought one last week,” he said. “Digital advertising allows you to deploy the right information to the right customers at the right time.”

There are reasons to be optimistic, he said. Elliott pointed out that 44% of True Value web site visitors shop at a brick-and-mortar True Value store within 60 days. Plus, he says several initiatives are poised to boost the power of “digital hyper local” marketing.

The True Value marketing app.

For instance:

  • True Value is piloting a local e-commerce program giving retailers the ability to show their store’s inventory and pricing online. Plus, customers can buy these locally-stocked products and pick them up at the store.
  • The company is preparing a store traffic-tool that links digital messages to actual store visits. Elliott calls it groundbreaking. “We’re going to be able to tell our retailers how many people saw the ad, and then walked into the store,” he said. “That’s valuable feedback.”
  • And already available, the True Value marketing app makes it easy for store staff to view price comparisons – just scan the barcode of any product and read the results — create signage, and synch promotions with in-store video monitors, among other features.

These initiatives, along with the customer knowledge and the ability to combine e-commerce with in-store service will be the key to thriving in an Amazon-obsessed world.

He says True Value has seen one store generate $32 in sales on every $1 of local marketing spend by using a hyper-local approach – a much higher return than the traditional $3 to $1 equation. Such results aren’t the norm, but “it’s an approach that works really well for us,” he said. “I think this is a way that local hardware stores can compete with the big world out there.”

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