During the recession, as leads from home and garden shows dropped off, remodeling company Neil Kelly opted to host its own event, which it dubbed “a remodeling street fair.”
The first fair took place in 2012, and the company repeated the effort this past September. Though it’s a lot of work, strong leads and the more than $600,000 worth of work from the 2012 event “make it well worth the cost,” marketing manager Tom Breunig says.
Last year’s event was held in two large tents in the parking lot of Neil Kelly’s main office in Portland, Ore. The company invited 30 vendors and suppliers to set up booths and charged them for the space. “They understand the power of Neil Kelly marketing,” Breunig says. “We do a lot of homeowner outreach.” The company also has a 60-year history in the market and a strong local brand. The events offer Neil Kelly designers and staff in-person interaction with potential clients and an avenue for educating attendees about the remodeling process.
To promote the 2012 event, Neil Kelly put a flier in the city newspaper and also spread the word via neighborhood papers, posters, and radio ads. The company sent exhibitors sample Twitter and Facebook postings so they could share the event through social media, and exhibitors put up fliers in their showroom windows as well.
To gauge the effectiveness of the event’s reach, attendees were asked to fill out a registration card as they entered the fair—which also made them eligible for exhibitor prize drawings. Neil Kelly added this information to its database and found that most of the 2012 event attendees were not former clients.
Nina Patel is a senior editor at REMODELING.