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Q&A with Jeff Gooding, Ace Hardware’s director of consumer marketing

Ace Hardware’s Jeff Gooding, director of consumer marketing, on how the hardware purveyor uses measurable marketing

Q: What marketing approaches have you tried that you consider innovative?

A: We are constantly developing tools and using technology here at Ace that would be a little bit unexpected for Ace, just based on the face we are a general hardware company. We’re constantly using those as best we can to drive measurable marketing programs that impact our retailers, that they can easily use to help drive their business.

Q: Can you give me an example of a marketing program you have created for a retailer client?

A: We’ve built a portal for our retailer clients to use so that they can come in and access all of the different assets they need to help build the customer communications they want. They do so based on whatever offers they want to make, whatever program they want to highlight and be able to deliver directly to the consumer base, whether that is e-mail, postcards, any variety of things.

Q: In April, Ace launched its “I Will” marketing campaign. What was the objective of the new program?

A: In the past, Ace would communicate in a very similar way to what Home Depot and Lowe’s were communicating, about home improvement in general. We were shouting the same message that they were shouting. So beginning this year, we’ve got different positioning. Ace Hardware is all about maintenance and repair – maintaining your home and repairing your home and all the things that you do on an everyday or every-week basis. It’s all about doing these things as quickly and conveniently as you can so you can get on with the rest of your life and what is more important in your life.

Q: You’ve only been on the job since June 2010. Are there any ways we will see your fingerprint on Ace’s upcoming marketing campaigns?

A: Ace has 99% awareness in the marketplace today. That’s an incredibly strong brand. This brand stands for something. It stands for helpful. Ace has been around for 86 years… One of the things that we will look to do a little bit more going forward is brand, in conjunction with a sales message. We will look to build the brand even further beyond just consumer awareness and familiarity. When I say brand, we need to teach people how and when to use Ace.

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