June 18, 2008

Exploring Industry Promotion

Ideas for collective industry promotion are percolating again. Last week, Bailey Nurseries in Minnesota hosted a summit that brought about 30 green industry leaders together to explore what could be done to unite the turf and landscape, nursery and floriculture sectors to work toward national promotion. This initiative began with Dale Siems, past president and CEO of Sherman Nurseries in Iowa. For the past year, he has been talking to members of the nursery industry and learning more about existing programs that have the potential to be all-encompassing in both their financial support and activities–America In Bloom (AIB) and Project Evergreen. “We can’t give up on a national marketing program,” an enthusiastic Siems says. “We’ve got the best story in the world. We’re the original green industry and everybody is eating our lunch.” For seven years, AIB has been a successful grassroots initiative on a very limited annual budget of […]

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June 18, 2008

Back To The Land

Ohio families looking for the nearest place to find locally grown perennials can look to Our Ohio – on television, on the Internet or in print. An initiative sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), Our Ohio aims to connect the state’s residents with the stewards of its land by promoting agricultural products and tourism in Ohio. In 2001, OFBF began working with its members to change its course and make agriculture more relevant to Ohio consumers. At the time, the organization had one publication for all of its members and decided to create two magazines – one for producers and one for consumers. With some great response from both audiences to OFBF’s consumer-oriented messaging, OFBF combined its efforts again to launch Our Ohio in the fall of 2005, with the tagline, "Grow It. Know It. Live It." "The response has been great," says Senior Vice President of Communications Kurt […]

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June 18, 2008

Nursery Service Program Review

Over the last six to eight years, third-party nursery service has developed extensively in the mass market arena, particularly at The Home Depot and Lowe’s. More recently, as in this year, Wal-Mart also has begun to test the concept in select markets and will be studying the results to see if the program bears expanding, maintaining or is deemed unnecessary. The great debate begins as to why programs such as these would be necessary. After all, doesn’t it seem logical that mega-retailers are much more capable logistically of efficiently hiring and training staff to order, maintain and merchandise live goods? Apparently, the answer is they are more than capable of doing this, but it’s obviously more easily said than done. Massive store growth amongst Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Lowe’s has contributed to a talent shortage of live goods experts in their stores at this time. This is not to imply […]

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June 18, 2008

Texas Growers Tap Into Marketing

  Texas growers look ahead to another year of volume-building promotional activities. The statewide Go Texan project has become a truly win-win experience for the state and for the program participants. Leave it to Texas to do something in a big way. As the Texas Department of Agriculture puts it: “Go Texan takes Texas bragging rights to new heights, stamping products from the Lone Star State with bona fide Texas pride.” The “stamping” referred to is the placing of the Go Texan logo on the program’s products, labels and fact tags or on promotion materials, such as signs or printed pieces. The range of goods embraced by the Go Texan program include wine, beef, fiber and most any horticultural product. A producer is eligible if the product is grown in Texas, it is processed there or value is added in the state. Richard De Los Santos heads up this program […]

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June 18, 2008

Bred For A Cause

Americans love to give. They love to give even more if they get something in return, other than a warm and fuzzy feeling. Floriculture has gotten into the giving mood recently, with the proceeds of many plant sales going to charities. Proven Winners is giving back with perilla ‘Gage’s Shadow.’ Proven Winners approached plant breeder Cheryl Baker about the coleus/perilla cross. ‘Gage’s Shadow’ is named after Baker’s son, Gage, who is challenged with cerebral palsy (CP). “This plant was going to be for children who have cerebral palsy,” Baker says. “This was going to be their plant. I know there are many children out there who have CP and just can’t get help.” Baker’s Shed Floral Nursery is a Proven Winners breeder, as well as a wholesale grower and retailer. Proven Winners will donate 100 percent of the marketing funds received from the sale of every ‘Gage’s Shadow’ plant to […]

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June 18, 2008

Letter To Linda

Hello Laurie, I just wanted to write and let you know what a super article you wrote for the May issue of Greenhouse Grower. As a greenhouse grower, garden center owner and a retail florist (FTD and Teleflora), I can appreciate what you have to say about selling design elements. While I consider myself to stay current with the trends, I cannot say that for my grower … however, at least I have a grower who "thinks" like a retailer. Thanks again, Linda Zoerb President La Crosse Floral Co. Inc. La Crosse, WI Hi Linda, First, thanks for the kind words. It feels good to know that people agree or disagree with me. Also, congratulations for having a grower with a good feel for what the retailer wants. That is huge. Second, I do not have any real good solutions for this. All my ideas are way too radical. But if […]

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June 18, 2008

Diverse Building Blocks In Sync

Today’s trend-setting and professional grower consortiums are the epitome of the all-important four Ps of marketing–price, product, promotion and placement. These allied grower assemblages offer the first three Ps and retailers provide the fourth P, leading to a solid working relationship. By combining the strengths of regional growers and sharing strategic brand and product standards, the industry’s grower consortiums put forward collective offers for the retailer that are difficult to match. Grower consortiums provide trialed plant products carefully packaged according to tactical branding principles, promotional programs consisting of national advertising, marketing, personal selling and public relations, as well as consistent pricing structures that make buying easier and more manageable for retailers. When this advantageous combination is paired with the physical place of retail, the garden center, the four Ps are aligned and positioned to generate sales. Unified regional growers, otherwise competitors, are changing the ways in which plants are grown and […]

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June 17, 2008

Finding Success With Pay-by-Scan

Big box stores have embraced the pay-by-scan concept for years now. In the minds of many growers and independent garden centers, this was strictly a "big box thing." It was not something for anyone but volume retailers to contemplate. The English Gardens chain of six upscale garden centers, all in suburban Detroit, was curious about the possibilities. After an exhaustive study by management, it was decided to test their approach during the spring and summer of 2006. In collaboration with two growers including Four Star Greenhouses, a system was developed and implemented under the direction of Frank Janosz, head of nursery products. A 25-year industry veteran, Janosz is one of the 10 family members who own and operate the 53-year-old firm. Based in Dearborn Heights, Mich., retail sales volume in 2006 was $30 million. The agreement between the participants can stand as a model for those contemplating a pay-by-scan relationship. […]

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June 17, 2008

What Consumers Want

I was speaking at a fine perennial plant grower’s place recently and opened with a number of issues that people are talking about everywhere. The first was how we can get young people to buy our products. I keep hearing this lamentation and don’t get it. It seems to me that most people provide a classic knee-jerk response. They scratch their head and say, “Yes, it is a dilemma, they have so many other distractions now.” We hear this more because of the change in demographics. The Boomers are getting older and the marketer claims no one is taking their place. Generation X wants everything online, Gen Y doesn’t want to get dirty, yadda, yadda. I listen, and simply think “Hogwash, all of it.” I am the first to tell you that times are a changing. Markets, lifestyles, what’s important, what is not–all of this is changing. But it always has […]

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June 17, 2008

Starbucks (aka Fivebucks) & Vera Wang

    Question – What do Vera Wang, Starbucks and bedding plants all have in common? Answer–They are all used in decorating decisions by our customers. Some of you faithful readers of this column will likely be able to connect Vera Wang to a geranium, but the coffee giant Starbucks may be a leap. Let me attempt to connect the dots. Any of you who know me know what a snappy dresser I am–baggy jeans, old denim shirt and clogs. There’s a random chance my belt and shoe color will match. Dressing up is to iron the above mentioned denim shirt. If it doesn’t come from Land’s End or Target, I do not own it. I think I am pretty typical of most of my fellow Y-chromosome brethren with my very badly developed (or cared about) fashion sense. For you fellow fashion plates out there in reader land, Vera Wang is […]

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June 17, 2008

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 […]

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June 17, 2008

Springing Into Bloom

Several growers said they’ve had success promoting gift plants like these that can be planted in the garden later for extended enjoyment. Proven Winners’ Spring Magic varieties (above) are cold hardy and bred to perform in containers -perfect for early spring holidays like Easter. This is our first attempt to assess trends in the winter and spring blooming potted plant market, mostly tied to holiday sales for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day. For many years we have presented results from our post-season poinsettia survey in February and bedding plant survey in September. Another one we would like to add is on fall crops later this year. Our survey was successfully delivered to about 700 random blooming potted plant growers with 37 responses representing about 5 percent. These respondents represent 23 states. While half are both wholesale growers and grower retailers, one fourth are strictly wholesale, and […]

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