June 18, 2008

The Marketing Education Of A Plant Guy

I attended a terrific retail seminar in Savannah a while ago to hear about the state of the retail industry. Some well known and highly competent speakers were there, including Judy Sharpton, Dr. Bridget Behe, Kip Creel and Marshall Dirks, and I was soon being gently embraced in marketing and promotion. I heard a rumor that people in marketing were not interested in plants, only lifestyles and other such twaddle, so, with an open mind, I thought I would go hear what the other side was saying about plants. The short answer is “nothing.” The long answer is the same, but a little more educational. Turns out I was in serious denial, so here is what this plant guy learned. The good news is this thing we call gardening is well known. We have an 85 to 90 percent participation rate of homeowners in the country (the entire other 10 to […]

Read More

June 18, 2008

2007 Bedding Plant Survey

Many growers around the country are celebrating the end of a very successful spring growing season, according to our 2007 Annual Bedding Plant Survey. A little over 60 percent of respondents rated the year an eight or better on a scale of one to ten. Here’s a look at what made it so good, and how growers plan on making next year even better. What The Growers Said  - “We grow a lot of vegetables and even though we increased our production over the last year, we were not able to keep up with consumer demand. We will be increasing our production again.” - “With the increasing chance of more rigorous enforcement of immigration laws, we may not be able to stay in business.” - “We don’t like it when we offer new, patented varieties and then find them in box stores for a much lower price.” - “The last few years […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

June 17, 2008

Merchandising At Pack Trials

Breeders were seriously into branding their products this year at Pack Trials, with story-telling and informative tags and signage, colorful pots and display ideas. Here’s a small sampling.

Read More

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. […]

Read More