Dot’s Pot — I Don’t Get It

I have been working on a project where I get to assist with some design work. That is the fun part of marketing. This is the part of marketing that you see on TV – the snappily dressed and witty ad agency folks all sitting around, drinking lattes, brainstorming ideas for the client, when one will jump up and shout "Eureka!" or some such. Now in my case, I sit around not so nattily dressed (Florida flip-flops do not the GQ list make), the latte is Folgers, but every so often I jump up and shout "Eureka!" if for no other reason than to wake the sleeping dogs.

We are working with really, really good designers. The team is exceptional. Not a better agency team in the industry. Period – end of statement.

We are also working with a breeding company’s design team. They are making sure we take care of their precious invention of a new plant and are putting proper spin and story to the genetics. The breeder design team is top gun good. At this point, there are about 10 folks involved with the different companies and all of them exceptional professionals.

Now in comes the Dot factor. Dot is the code name for my sister-in-law, Dorothy. Dot is a serious gardener. No, scratch that, she is serious outdoor decorator. Dot has great taste and a flair for interior and exterior design. She gardens to add color to the house, not just the garden. Dot is the one person in my life that proved to me that Wave petunia was a true consumer brand when she told me, completely unsolicited, where and why she plants "her Waves." I had seen the market research data, but when I heard from Dot, I knew it was so.

We have been working with a design on a pot and we had a design that we all loved. It was modern. It was fly, it had a cute use of the breeder logo. The breeder team loved it. We are high fiving and popping open new lattes and just quite full of our brilliance.

Now while all this jubilation is going on, we just happen to have Dot visiting. And since Dot is a decorator who uses plants, we decide to show off how smart we think we are by showing her a mock up of the brilliant design. I very carefully build the mock up so it looks like a pot. Then I show her photos of the great plant and explain why the plant is so great. Then, with trumpets blaring, I unveil "the pot."

Does Dot have a jaw-dropping moment overcome by our collective team brilliance? Does she have an overwhelming need to rush out and buy this plant? Does she look over at her sister (aka Wifey) and say how lucky she must be to be married to such a brilliant man? Nope. She looks at the pot and says, and I am quoting here, "I don’t get it." It was really very funny. In four little words, Dot summarized not only a wee little problem with our pot design but possibly the entire horticultural marketplace.

What we had done, despite all the best intentions and talents of 10 folks, is create a design around what we thought would work, then we talked to ourselves to see how good it was. See the trap? We stayed way too internal. We think we know what our customer wants, but we sometimes (dare I say often) forget to ask her. I know we know this – I write about just such a thing in this Rant section. You think at least I could remember, but we all sometimes forget. We get busy. We get rushed or, worse, we get blinded by our brilliance (I am blaming all those lattes myself.)

And we do this as an industry all the time. We have decades of practice giving the customer what we think she needs. We cannot decide if she is a gardener or a decorator. We cannot decide where or how she shops, mostly because we do not ask her. Why did you pick up this plant instead of that plant? What caught your eye? What will cause you to actually put that plant into your shopping cart?

The good news is we are getting better as an industry. We are starting to ask at least a few questions. We did ask Dot before we made 1 billion of these pots (thank goodness). And we are starting to give Dot’s word more weight than ever before. One consumer trumped 10 industry pros. Most of the pros do have some sort of consumer litmus test in place, but we as an industry have so much to learn.

How can you use the Dot factor and possibly impact the price of a geranium? A few thoughts:

1. Give a lot of money to whatever trade organization is going to start doing great consumer research. I am not sure which one will come through – but we need help.

2. Give a lot of time (or money) to anything that our few industry market research folks need. Marvin Miller at Ball and Bridget Behe at MSU are two of our best. Listen to them, ask them questions, hero worship them. Now that we are into our "supply outstripping demand" era, Marvin and Bridget are way important.

3. Listen to consumers. Walk stores and watch how they shop. Talk to them.

4. Put together a test team of neighbors and family.

5. Be prepared to have people hate your ideas and listen, because sometimes they are right and you are wrong.

After all that, the brilliant team of 10 is changing the pot design, the Dot factor worked and I am a "Eureka"-spouting idiot.

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
Aquaponics At Brogue Hydroponics

March 30, 2015

Aquaponics Is Making A Splash At Brogue Hydroponics

The owners of Brogue Hydroponics explain why they expanded into aquaponics, and how the shift has helped them uncover a new market opportunity.

Read More
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
Latest Stories
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More