What's an hour of your weekend’s free time worth? For many, it is exactly $2.57. Since I still had a little skin left on the soles of my feet after wandering the International Woodworking Fair for a few days, I took the family to the Minnesota State Fair after I returned home.
I witnessed people who already had orange buckets in their hands lining up at the Home Depot booth to stand for an hour before Home Depot was scheduled to give out more 5 gal. pails. If I truly need a pail, I'll go buy one for $2.50 rather than stand there for an hour in the sun on my day off to get a "free" one that I have to carry around the crowded fairgrounds for the rest of the day. Besides my home projects are done, I have the pails in the garage to prove it. If only these bucket carriers' employers know these people would happily trade their outside-of-work time at the rate of a 5 gal. bucket per hour for multiple hours.
I must give Home Depot credit. This is the elevator speech with the slooooow elevator. Once the bucket give away commenced, people had to wind through one of those rat mazes full of Home Depot marketing materials and specially trained salespeople for 20 minutes.
Bunches of middle-aged and older do- it-yourselfer guys and those who need Home Depot stuff -- presumably homeowners were all lined up. Their target market was waiting in line to be sold things they just found out they needed and Home Depot could deliver … literally.
Tomorrow thousands of people will wake up see the orange bucket staring them down and be reminded to go check out some part of their home they are now concerned and a little educated about. The next day the bucket will still be there reminding them. They can't just throw the bucket out. After all, they needed it enough to wait in line for an hour under the sun on their day off. Better get over to Home Depot to see what it costs to get that whatever it is fixed before you actually need that bucket to catch a leak or something worse.
I wonder what a few semiloads of buckets, tent rental, fairground space and labor costs? It seems cheap when you think what it costs to get this kind of time with a captive and patient audience of potential customers with thousands of people who may not even be interested in anything you are selling. Play the numbers; enough will buy. I'm not totally sure, but it looked like there was a coupon in the bottom of the buckets for everything you could fit in the bucket. How much does Home Depot sell that could fit in a bucket, power tools excluded? Smart all around. What I wouldn't give for a few marketing MBAs and their budget. How far can you push someone for a free bucket?
Now I just have to go buy a bucket so I have a place to keep all these free and oh-so-useful yardsticks I couldn't live without. Sadly, I couldn't find a meter stick anyplace.
What marketing tools have you put in place that generates attention and loyalty to your brand?