Kelly Norris Talks Gen X And Y And Future Of Gardening At Cultivate’14

In a talk at Cultivate’14, Gardening With a Y – Getting To Know Your Customers, Kelly Norris of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden touched on the issues surrounding Generation X and Y gardeners, and what the future holds for horticulture.

According to Norris, consumer confidence is up, but sales in the industry are still flat. To solve that, we have to find a dynamic structure that’s sustainable for generations, and one way to do that is to convince consumers of the importance of gardening, Norris said.

There is a need to create a culture that is “inherent to horiticulture,” Norris said. The structure of the way business is done has to change. All the numbers show that sales are declining, and it has nothing to do with the recession, he said.

Sell The Experience

There needs to be an emphasis on selling the experience of gardening, rather than just selling stuff.

“We have to find a dynamic structure that’s sustainable for generations. We don’t convince people of our relevance. We instead just sell stuff,” Norris said. “It’s not about stuff. Stuff is easy to come by. We’re selling an experience.”

It’s the experience of gardening that makes it addicting. We live in a world today where we can have an experience in a matter of seconds, Norris said.

Five years ago, the idea of using Twitter and Facebook  for business was a little arresting. However, with the pervasiveness of social media, there is a greater acceptance of a changing landscape. Our industry is still struggling to find the best tactic to find a home in that landscape.

Reach The Millenials Who Already Love Gardening

There are 55 to 60 million baby boomers, and while Generation X is a smaller generation, Generation Y has 10 million more people than the boomers.

“If nothing changes (in the industry), there will still be 10 million more Gen Ys in the marketplace in the next five years,” Norris said.

There are two types of millenials; those who are clueless about gardening and those who are already gardeners. Norris said the vast majority of Gen X and Y has no interest in gardening, yet this seems to be the industry’s area of focus.

Norris argued that that may not be the best strategy.

‘If somebody doesn’t have an affinity for gardening, why are we directing efforts at them?,” Norris said. “We’ve already got 30 percent of the public that gets this. That’s who we should be focusing on.”

Make Plants A Necessity

Thinking about plants as a luxury may not be the best strategy either.

“Plants are not a luxury. When we admit they are, your business moves out the door,” Norris said. Plants are a necessity.”

Norris stressed that plants need to be thought of as necessary and there needs to be innovation that fosters an experience. As an example, Norris pointed toward companies like Williams-Sonoma, “a division of retail that satisfies foodies.”

An important aspect to remember is that younger generations have less brand loyalty than their parents and grandparents.

“In a marketplace that’s not governed by brand loyalty, the game has changed,” Norris said.

The challenge now is to figure out how to channel through 50 years of knowledge and experience that has set the status quo for the industry. It’s a daunting task, but, Norris said “unless your customers or future customers see themselves reflected in your business, they aren’t going to choose you.”

Here are some more recommendations from Norris on changes that need to occur to successfully appeal to the up-and-coming generations:

  • There needs to be more eCommerce within the industry.
  • Sell passion: inspire your audience to want what they do not yet know they need.
  • Be visible: Information, education and advice on gardening is out there. If they’re not getting it from you, they’re getting it from somewhere else.
  • Be stylish: “We already have all the ingredients to do that,” Norris said.

 

 

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Kelly Norris Talks Gen X And Y And Future Of Gardening At Cultivate’14

More From Business Management...

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Genetically Engineered Petunias

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

May 23, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Acquire New Customers

Even the most successful brands need new customers if they want to grow their business, or stay profitable.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

May 22, 2017

New Dümmen Orange Scholarship Honors Legacy of Dr. P. Allen Hammer

“Our industry’s future depends on attracting and supporting bright, hard-working students into horticulture programs across North America, and the support of Dümmen Orange will aid that effort,” Hammer says.

Read More
Latest Stories

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

May 23, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Acquire New Customers

Even the most successful brands need new customers if they want to grow their business, or stay profitable.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

May 22, 2017

New Dümmen Orange Scholarship Honors Legacy of Dr. P. A…

“Our industry’s future depends on attracting and supporting bright, hard-working students into horticulture programs across North America, and the support of Dümmen Orange will aid that effort,” Hammer says.

Read More
The Greenhouse and Hoophouse growers handbook

May 19, 2017

New Book Highlights the Benefits of Growing Vegetables …

Andrew Mefferd’s new book, “The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture,” covers the many benefits of protected culture food production, from being first to market, to more effective pest control.

Read More
MedMen New Facility

May 18, 2017

MedMen Cannabis Production Facility in Nevada Nearly Co…

Construction is expected to be completed this summer on the facility, which will include a 26,000-square-foot greenhouse and a 19,000-square-foot extraction and production wing.

Read More
New Frontier Cannabis Industry Annual Report

May 18, 2017

New Frontier Publishes Annual Report on the Cannabis In…

The 2017 Cannabis Industry Annual Report provides an up-to-date perspective on the growth and transformation of the legal cannabis industry, and what it means for each segment of the market, including producers.

Read More
ISO Cutting Machine

May 16, 2017

The Top 100 Growers are Investing in More Technology to…

Labor has traditionally been among growers’ most significant costs, but the continued rising costs and lack of available labor are currently two very heavy burdens that growers have to bear. As the labor supply dwindles, the Top 100 Growers discuss their next steps toward investing in technology to streamline efficiency at their respective operations.

Read More
Flores El Capiro, AIPH Grower of the Year 2017

May 16, 2017

Entries Now Open for International Grower of the Year A…

The International Association of Horticultural Producers’ International Grower of the Year Awards, sponsored by Royal Flora Holland, will take place at IPM Essen 2018 in Essen, Germany.

Read More
Cannabis Crop Protection

May 14, 2017

2017 Cannabis Regulatory Outlook: A Game of Wait and Se…

Medical and adult use legalization measures are on the legislative agenda in a total of 37 states in 2017 — and there's a sentiment gaining steam that the new administration may not be so scary after all.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers List

May 12, 2017

How the Top 100 Greenhouse Growers Tackle Managing Cost…

The country’s largest growers continue to strive to maintain a balance with price and costs while making sure they stand out from the competition.

Read More
Robert O'Neill

May 11, 2017

Former SEAL Team Six Leader to Address Attendees at IGC…

Robert O’Neill is a highly decorated combat veterans and the author of the just-published memoir, “The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior.”

Read More

May 8, 2017

Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Behind the Scenes: How (and W…

It’s more important than ever to have good data that allows us to accurately measure the size and scope of our industry.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers List

May 8, 2017

2017 Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Growers: The Complete Li…

Growth signifies a healthy industry, and indeed, several of Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers expanded their operations significantly between 2016 and 2017.

Read More
Garrett Owen Feature Image

May 7, 2017

Garrett Owen Joins Michigan State University Floricultu…

Owen was hired in January 2017 with an Extension and research appointment in floriculture and greenhouse production.

Read More
Bailey Endless Summer Pandora Station

May 4, 2017

A Unique Marketing Campaign: Endless Summer Partners Wi…

Consumers can tune into the “Artists Rebloomed” station on Pandora to find hit songs from musical artists who have “rebloomed” and reinvented themselves throughout the years.

Read More
Bees at Bell Nursery - feature

May 3, 2017

Find Out What Bell Nursery Learned About Bees While Kee…

In spring 2014, Bell Nursery stopped using neonicotinoids to find out how it would impact production. Then the operation began keeping bees to learn more.

Read More
Biocontrols and beneficials absolutely can be used in outdoor production, with the use of banker plant systems

May 2, 2017

Michigan State Offering Summer Courses on Biocontrols a…

Registration for the courses, which take place online and provide detailed information on biocontrols and lighting in the greenhouse, is now open.

Read More
Farmers Roundtable for Web

May 2, 2017

Willoway Nurseries’ Tom Demaline Participates in Presid…

Joining other members of the agriculture community, Demaline provided insights on the importance of a reliable guest worker program and offered the greenhouse industry as a resource for the new administration.

Read More