Every spring, in most communities, there is an annual House & Home or Garden & Home Show. These shows attract thousands of homeowners who are looking to spend money improving their homes.
Each year, as I tour these shows, I am amazed at how the majority of building product manufacturers do not participate. These shows can offer measurable return on investment in a focused manner. You don’t have to actually have your own booth at these shows; you can just provide the tools for your contractors and dealers. Manufacturers will traditionally jump all over a Parade of Homes program, yet they ignore these shows.
The majority of the exhibits are for local product dealers and in-home selling contractors. Most of them have amateurish displays and messaging that is not very effective. These displays often don’t improve the image of the home improvement industry, making homeowners wary of starting a project.
It is easy for building material manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by these shows.
Help your dealers and contractors to be more successful while selling more of your products. Make it easy for them to exhibit at these shows and do a better job by working as a team. You provide the marketing tools and they provide the manpower and the costs for the show.
Develop a display kit that you can make available to any local dealer or contractor. It can be as simple as some signs, or as elaborate as an actual exhibit that you ship to the dealer for use during a local show. If display kits aren’t feasible, then make it easy for them to gain access to beauty shots of your products and provide messaging that focuses on selling the project more than your brand.
Encourage dealers and contractors who have never participated in a Home Show to display at the show. For these newbies, it is helpful to prepare a How To Guide to help them get the most out of the show.
Of course you can choose to go all in and have your own display at a local show. I find this a great way to do some market research as you meet face to face with homeowners. It’s also a great way to demonstrate your support of the distributors, dealers and contractors in that market.
Attend a few shows to see what’s going on.
Participating in these shows offers the following:
1. Opportunity for more sales from the show.
2. Opportunity for more sales in the future. Many homeowners attend with a project in mind and your participation can plant the seed for the next project.
3. Increased loyalty from your contractor and dealer customers as they see how committed you are to their success.
Because so few manufacturers have a presence at these shows, the few that do will really stand out.