Color Point, the nation’s eighth-largest greenhouse grower, recently took a major business step forward with the creation of a new marketing and communications department. After a deliberative search, Naomi L. Maloney was selected as the director of the department. Maloney has 20 years of experience working with many national companies including Williams-Sonoma, Audi of North America, Delta Dental, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
According to Ken VanWingerden, co-owner of Color Point, the move underscores the value of disciplined outreach in what can be a traditional industry.
“We are investing in a new department,” says VanWingerden, “A dedicated marketing communications team will create tangible results for our business partners and better communications for our employees.”
VanWingerden says Color Point’s 2014 purchase of Mid-American Growers and the merging of two companies was also an impetus for the creation of the new department. He says that Color Point favors a structured approach to growth as a commitment to its clients, which include Lowe’s, Aldi, and Sam’s Club.
Greenhouse Grower magazine recently caught up with both Maloney and VanWingerden and asked them about the most important issues Color Point faces as a company, and how the two of them will work together to address these issues.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Maloney: Working as a marketing communications professional in diverse product categories from automotive and insurance to news media and household goods, I bring a wide arsenal of tools and tactics applicable to this specific industry. With Color Point’s incredible body of knowledge, having an outside perspective offers advantages.
GG: What are the some of the biggest issues or concerns Color Point deals with, and how do you plan to work with Color Point’s management team in dealing with these issues?
Maloney: In addition to outward-bound marketing communications, I’ll be focusing on leading the consistent internal communications efforts a growing company requires.
VanWingerden: We see a need, as the company expands, for solid internal communications to increase unity in our values along with core beliefs on how to obtain goals. In the past, we’ve engaged in marketing and communications, but our company’s growth demands we move forward with a formalized department. We run a good show, and with a changing company which has had incredible growth over the past few years, this is just a normal new step in becoming a better company.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing? Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
VanWingerden: The biggest challenge, of course, is the seasonal aspect of our product. These major peaks and lulls do not allow us to build a consistent flow of work.
Maloney: By concentrating on the needs of our customers along with the trends and expectations of the final consumer, we have the opportunity to expand in novel, new ways.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Maloney: I have great respect for this industry and its traditions. By competitively differentiating Color Point, customers will have clearer choices and more definitive expectations from their partners. As we all move further from a vendor mentality (which many of us are doing), our customers will see more tangible value in us. For example, using research and insights about end-consumer demographic and behavioral changes, we’ll be able to better position ourselves and help our clients do the same.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Maloney: That’s hard to say, because I’m lucky to be doing exactly what I love to do. But I wouldn’t mind being Rick Steves, the travel writer.