Marketers Tag

End-user confusion about drills and drivers is rampant – although the model in this stock photo looks more bored than confused.

Consumer Packaged Goods, What's in a name... Tool makers have created a wilderness of product, category and project names that stand in the way of revenue and market share growth. And no category is more confused than drills and drivers. At the Oregon State Fair recently I ran into some impact drivers from a major brand. You know impact drivers – those great compact tools that use small bursts of torque to deliver turning power around the screw, bolt or nut. “Impact driver” is a strong label for the category of tools because they are used by pro and DIY alike primarily to drive screws and self-tapping hex headed screws (e.g. those used for steel studs). Impact drivers are also used, but less often, to drive lag bolts, remove small stuck bolts, and in a few other driving situations. In other words, from both the pro and DIY end user point of view, they are an evolution of the drill/driver. But at the fair, the boxes were labeled “impact wrench”. Huh? An impact wrench? An impact wrench is a big tool used on cars, trucks, and in factories that delivers 2500 to 7000 in-lbs of torque and is used for the heaviest duty work on cars and trucks. It also exclusively drives sockets and is used on heavy bolts. But the tool in that package was an impact driver – a tool that delivers small bursts of usually 500 to 1300 in-lbs of torque – torque that is light enough to drive screws or hex head screws without breaking them. How can we expect consumers to buy products without consistent categories and names?