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PRO Group’s Approach to Marketing

Traditional advertising combined with the latest tools in digital media give PRO Group a comprehensive marketing program to help retailers promote their businesses. Regardless of the media used, PRO emphasizes ease of use and integration across the platforms.

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The foundation of PRO’s print marketing program is a four-page circular. Retailers can choose the corporate version, with a set of preselected advertised items, or customize it to have complete control over the circular’s branding and the products on the page. Retailers create the circulars online using PRO’s user-friendly web portal.

To accompany the circular, PRO helps carry the theme established in the circular into the store with endcap signage, window banners and price cards. “The circulars are like an invitation to the event,” says Shari Kalbach, vice president at PRO Group. “Trim kits are like an added salesperson to guide customers and finish the sale once they’re in the store.”

The circular is offered eight times per year, and during the remaining four months, retailers have the opportunity to participate in a bag stuffer event, which includes bargains of the month and seasonal deals. Bag stuffers are single-page advertisements that retailers can print or send digitally to their customers.

Digital Marketing

Retailers’ arsenal of marketing tools expands dramatically online. Every print circular is available in a digital version, publishable to a website and social media. What is unique about PRO’s marketing offerings is their use of mobile exclusive coupons. Customers can sign up by text to PRO and instantly receive mobile coupons to their local PRO Hardware store. Each month, those users will get several discounts, including deals available only through the mobile program.

One of the latest additions to the mobile program is a contest with a giveaway. Customers play a simple game on their phone, delivered via text message, for a chance to win a prize. “With each contest we have seen a spike in our subscriber count,” says Kalbach. “As we pick up more manufacturers to sponsor the giveaways, we hope to offer more interactive content that is focused on giving the user an incentive to participate and ultimately grow PRO’s mobile program.”

Retailers can also take advantage of a monthly email marketing program that goes directly to the consumer. Subscribers to the email get a link to the PRO circular, along with product how-to videos which are hosted on PRO’s website. Retailers who want to maintain an active social media presence but don’t have a lot of time to create new content can use PRO’s media library, which has a variety of easily customizable templates and images.

“We’ve been steadily improving our social media marketing tools and making them more consistent, especially as shoppers look for products on all of the platforms,” says Kalbach. “Everything we offer is a la carte. Retailers can choose what programs they want to be a part of. We want to be the marketing arm of their business, giving them the tools they need to market effectively while giving them the freedom to use what works best for their business.”

Achievers Club

One of the unique benefits of being a part of PRO Group is belonging to its Achievers Club. Retailers earn points based on their purchases and participation in PRO programs, such as circulars. Then, every two years, retailers in the Achievers Club with enough points qualify for a group vacation to a tropical destination. They also get to network with other retailers and key vendors. For many, the trip may be one of the few opportunities they have to unwind.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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