Home Depot Adds Catalog to Marketing Tool Box

The Home Depot Tool Book — a catalog catering to professional home-improvers and do-it-yourselfers alike, featuring products indexed in multiple ways — began arriving in consumer mailboxes this week.

The Tool Book is in its second edition, as a 104-page version went out in the spring. It is the company's latest effort to develop its “Call, Click, Visit” multichannel marketing strategy. The Home Depot is going beyond its big-box stores to direct and Internet marketing channels.

The Home Depot, Atlanta, launched its first direct-to-consumer holiday catalog last fall. Since then, the company has mailed catalogs monthly and is exploring vertical publications, including the Tool Book, said Shelley Nandkeolyar, vice president of interactive marketing and e-business.

The Tool Book lets The Home Depot showcase its lesser-known categories, Nandkeolyar said.

“It's a direct selling tool,” he said. “But it also helps position and develop the brand.”

The Home Depot declined to disclose the number of catalogs printed. Along with mailing the catalog, the company distributes it at retail locations.

The catalog has a similar look and feel to HomeDepot.com, where the home page has a picture of a Skilsaw and blue glove that is identical to the cover photo on the catalog. A headline with the picture on the Web site reads, “Shop America's Largest Tool Box,” while the catalog's cover page carries the subhead “America's Largest Tool Box.”

In determining the book's design, Ambrosi, the production company that worked on the catalog, conducted focus group interviews. They revealed that The Home Depot's broad target audience liked to shop both by brand and by product category, said Jeremy Gustafson, vice president/general manager in Ambrosi's Atlanta office.

Designers organized the catalog by product category but included an index of brands immediately following the cover page. Also, the first 24 pages of the 135-page book are set aside to display a sampling of items from each brand.

There also is an index of “Great Buys & Rebates” that indicates which pages include special offers and bonus items. On the inside back cover, another index lists where specific product types are located.

“It seems like overkill,” Gustafson said. “But we know that this way, however you want to shop, it's all at your fingertips.”

The extensive indexing also is reflected in the rest of the design. The catalog highlights information such as model numbers. The catalog contains several charts comparing the specs of similar products.

The idea is to make the book as durable as possible by making it useful and ensuring that it always has a spot on the consumer's dashboard or in his den, Gustafson said.

“There's a sense of ownership when a guy gets this catalog,” he said. “They hang onto it.”

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