A complete DIY solution – less isn’t more

By Greg Kramer June 01, 2014 Industry News

Almost every day, we experience some kind of marketing from one of the big barns. Whether it’s a television ad or a soggy mailer in the post box, we’re continuously nuked with marketing messages proudly proclaiming that they’ve got just what we need for whatever DIY job we’re planning to tackle, regardless of scale or cost.

And that’s true – sort of. The fundamental problem with this marketing approach is that the bigger the scope of the project (and the more the consumer spends), the less involved the big barns become.

If you buy a lawnmower, or a high pressure water blaster, an outdoor furniture set or even a simple hammer, then the big barns and their floor staff (when you can find them) are all over you like cheese on a mouse. However, as your project gets bigger, more expensive and more time heavy, the scope of their involvement plummets.



Let’s consider what’s involved in doing a kitchen renovation. The big barns claim to have everything you need, from cooktops to extraction fans to cabinets; you name it, they’ve got it. Except they’re missing one critical ingredient – someone to do the kitchen renovation.

Kiwis spend a heap of money at the big barns on products to renovate their kitchens but there’s no chance of the DIY retailer actually doing the work for them. Now you might say I’m crazy and that’s not what the big barns’ business is all about, but why couldn’t it be?

Very few average Joes and Joannes can handle all the labour on a huge project like a kitchen renovation. So they get independent contractors in – builders, plumbers, a sparky and whoever else is needed to finish the job – and then they have to be the project manager.

Will the big barns recommend a reputable contractor or builder to do their renovation? No they won’t and it’s obvious why: a recommendation can easily turn into a problem due to the inconsistency in the quality of builders, plumbers etc and affect the relationship they have with their customer.

Obviously if there’s an issue with a product, the manufacturer’s warranty will be honoured, but the vast majority of problems you’re likely to come across in a renovation-sized project like a kitchen or bathroom come from the workmanship.



In a kitchen renovation, products only make up approximately a third of the total cost of the renovation, the rest is labour. Currently, the big barns aren’t interested in the other two thirds and that is where the marketing of the big DIY retailers hits the wall.

Their mantra of “we sell, you do” has been chanted for ages but what if they changed this just a little bit? What if they took an active interest in installation? Maybe they could wrangle all those cowboys off the range and start a move towards developing a system around the project management of big renovations?

So what’s the lesson that DIY marketers can take from this? Simple – you could do more for your customers at the most crucial part of their experience with your company.

Sure, DIY’s in our DNA and all that but, regardless, the first of the big barns to offer true customer satisfaction – from delivery to installation – will make such an impact that the rest will scramble to follow.


Greg Kramer is the Creative Director of Partisan Advertising and specialises in creating effective and measurable sales increases for his clients. Call 021 254 0082 or visit www.partisanadvertising.co.nz 

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