Home Depot Retools Marketing Strategy

Nov 20, 2002

George Anderson

By George Anderson

Analysts and investors are concerned that Home Depot’s chief executive officer, Robert Nardelli, is looking to answer real customer service and sales problems with an ad campaign, says Bloomberg.

Mr. Nardelli hired John “Softer Side of Sears” Costello to develop a marketing program to bring consumers back to Home Depot rather than going to DIY rival, Lowe’s.

Mitzi Carletti, who manages about $1.5 billion for Badgley, Phelps & Bell says, “Brand recognition is not a problem for Home Depot. Nardelli needs to paint a clear picture of what the growth drivers are.”

Others, such as the chairman of Ries & Ries, Al Ries agree. “They (Home Depot) are trying to be all things to everyone. What made Home Depot successful is its appeal to men who want to work on projects.”

Moderator’s Comment: What is Lowe’s doing to explain
the smaller chain’s apparent growth at the expense of Home Depot? What must
Home Depot do to regain lost sales momentum?

The best ad campaign in the world would be disastrous
for Home Depot if the company doesn’t significantly improve customer service
levels. That is largely to blame for so many switching to Lowe’s.

One recommendation here would be to forego the inquisition
that normally occurs when a consumer returns an item.
[George
Anderson – Moderator]

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