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First Person: Grant Farnsworth on HIRI’s Insights Conference

Thursday, July 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Pam Heidel




HIRI’s Insights Conference is a summit of North America’s home improvement market industry leaders. Join other experts to gain research-based industry insights and help get your business ahead of the curve.


We caught up with Grant Farnsworth, director of business development and client services at The Farnsworth Group and a presenter this fall, for his thoughts on why HIRI 2016 is a can’t-miss event.


Why is this event so important for the home improvement industry?


HIRI is a unique resource for our industry because it speaks to not just remodelers and homeowners, but also subcontractors and various categories within the remodeling and repair business. HIRI’s data is outstanding, and because it stretches back to the 1980s, it provides valuable historical perspective. Businesses can and should use this data to develop sound strategies and support the decision-making process.


The conference captures a lot of that valuable data and shares it in an accessible way. HIRI has always done a great job of attracting speakers to supplement the studies they’re already providing to members throughout the year. But the event is about much more than the formal sessions. It’s also a rare opportunity to network with other research-driven industry pros. After all, where else can you find C-level executives breaking down data with directors and managers in marketing, sales and research? 


This will be my 15th year attending, but I learn something new every time. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with my colleagues and peers for a couple of days in Chicago.


Which sessions are you most excited about?


The HIRI team pulled together a fantastic slate, and I’m excited about all of the talks. But I think I’m most looking forward to Nancy Fire’s session on home design. Nancy is an HGTV Home design director, and her talk on the “fusion of fashion and home” is a little tangential from the data-driven material we’re so accustomed to hearing. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about how home trends today are fused with everyday lifestyles, insights on popular colors, prints and patterns, and the top trends for 2016.


Can you give us a sneak preview of your talk?


My talk at the Insights Conference is about the online home services market – sites like Houzz and Porch, and how these services are changing the way homeowners and industry professionals interact.


It’s all about the so-called “Uber-ization” of the home services market. From Google’s investment in Uber, an app that delivers a ride with the tap of a button, to the launch of Amazon Home Services, consumers are increasingly latching onto online services. Add the recent surge of young homeowners to the mix, and suddenly our industry could have a big wave of growth in this sector over the coming years.


We have to clear a couple of hurdles first, though. Early evidence suggests that while millennials are beginning to adopt these services, older owners are less engaged. Furthermore, home improvement contractors don’t view these service delivery models as potential partners; in fact, they may even see them as competition.


Regardless of how it looks today, this space has tons of untapped potential for the home improvement industry. It’s worth noting, too, that the homeowners who use these platforms today end up hiring a pro 75 percent of the time. That’s an incredible conversion rate.


The bottom line is that it’s time for contractors to embrace online home services or risk getting left behind. In my session, I’ll talk more about how homeowners and professionals use these sites, and how you can make them work for your business.


Read more about the rising tide of online services on my blog, and join me in Chicago this September to get two full days of valuable industry insights. I hope to see you there.