May 7, 2013

Making The Old New Again: Getting Creative With Chrysanthemums

Some categories of plants have been around for a really long time. So long, in fact, that they can become associated with phrases like “old-fashioned,” or “out of date.” That doesn’t mean they aren’t excellent plants — that’s probably one of the reasons they’ve been around so long. But consumers like to buy things that are new, different and trendy. So how do you make something that people take for granted new and interesting again? Sometimes it is with new genetics. And sometimes it is through marketing — creating a story around the plant and a reason to buy it. We talked to Liz Hunt, senior market manager, vegetative, for Syngenta Flowers, about its new Zenia mum collection, which uses both breeding and marketing to revitalize the category. GG: Do you see working with growers and retailers to re-package older categories as a growing trend in the industry? Hunt: Syngenta […]

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May 7, 2013

Spring 2013 Garden Commercials From National Brands: New Gardener Success Is The Message

The new crop of spring gardening and home renovation commercials is out. What messages are national brands like Miracle Gro and box stores like Lowe’s taking out to the public? It’s all about the inexperienced, those consumers who think they have black thumbs, and how these stores and products can introduce gardening to the uninitiated and help them have success. Here’s a look into their 2013 ads.  MiracleGro’s Growing With Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix “The only thing we’d ever grown together was our record collection. No, there was that fuzzy stuff on the gouda.” Those are the first few lines spoken by the two beginner gardeners in this entertaining commercial, reflecting the experience level many new gardeners have. “How much is too much water? Too little?” Sound familiar? MiracleGro’s message is that even new gardeners can have success using its product.  Lowe’s “Neighborhood” Commercial This commercial shows a whole, […]

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April 23, 2013

Costa Farms’ O2 For You Brand Celebrates Earth Day With Kids

Costa Farms‘ O2 For You brand promoted the benefits of indoor houseplants and their place in the environment, targeting kids directly with a Celebrate Earth Day promotion. Through the month of April, consumers can find O2 For You Plant Party houseplants, which are planted in kid-friendly containers. Kids can decorate the pots with a bundled Let’s Have A Party sticker book. More than 10 varieties of plants, including snake plants and ferns, are available in the Plant Party line. Click here to read about how the Plant Party went over with one blogger and her kids.  The O2 For You website encourages gardeners to host a Plant Party for kids. “Say ‘thanks’ to Mother Earth! She’s done a lot for us,” says the Costa Farms’ Earth Day website. “So it’s time to give back. Throw a planting party! Invite the kids in your life to color this page and decorate a cool potted […]

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April 3, 2013

Garden Retail Marketing Plans That Connect With Today’s Consumer

Greenhouse Grower’s sister publication, Today’s Garden Center, gathered a group of retailers, growers and other retail suppliers in the summer of 2012 to discuss where they would like to see the industry in five years and what we need to do to get there. The key issues the group identified became the focus of the 10% Project, a series of research projects and case studies Today’s Garden Center is commissioning to help the retailers grow their sales by 10 percent. One of the greatest challenges the group identified is a shrinking consumer base. Our core customers, Baby Boomers, are aging themselves out of the market. So the first 10% Project of 2013 has a modest goal — identify the likeliest potential customers and lure them into garden centers. Today’s Garden Center Editor Carol Miller recruited Dr. Bridget Behe of Michigan State University and Dr. Susan Hogan of Emory University to […]

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March 26, 2013

Promoting The Benefits Of Plants

Is there any company in the green industry, from liner producers to retailers, suppliers and all points in between, that has experienced expansive growth in the last few years? Not likely. Sure, the recent economic downturn has affected many industries, but ours has suffered more than most. Not only have the primary drivers (commercial landscaping and housing starts) withered, but our customer base has shrunk and our products are becoming increasingly irrelevant. The Baby Boomers, who were our bread and butter, have landscaped their now-empty nests and are not digging many more holes. The younger generations have failed to embrace the joy of creating park-like settings in their yards and are, for the most part, completely ignorant about plants. They see plants every day, but they don’t know their names and can’t distinguish one from another, so they remain strictly in the background. While most recognize beauty in plants, they […]

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March 26, 2013

Lake County Nursery Hosts Educational Sessions For Independent Garden Centers

Want to take an active role in helping your retail customers improve themselves? Take a page from the Lake County Nursery playbook and offer training to garden centers on the topics they need help with. Lake County Nursery’s Joe Zampini says he visits about 100 garden centers a year, which have varying levels of staff education and customer service and sales skills. “We’ve started to build a partnership with our customers,” says Zampini, vice president of sales at Lake County Nursery, which is located in Perry, Ohio. “We’ve seen customers in the last few years talking about the box stores and how they can’t compete with them. They’ve had a hard time selling, so we’ve looked at ways to help them improve.” Lake County’s Peak Performer Series of one-day educational sessions has included speakers Bridget Behe of Michigan State University and garden center designer Judy Sharpton. Zampini’s goal is to […]

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March 4, 2013

Social Media How To: Rocket Farms

Branding and storytelling are a big part of how West Coast Top 100 grower Rocket Farms is using social media. Take a look at how the operation is working with public relations consultant Ashley Beleny of Environmental Relations PR to reach through to the consumer to deliver information about gardening and plants. GG: Why social media? Beleny: Social media isn’t for every company. It is for companies who can present three things: 1. Product differentiation 2. A unique point of view 3. A call to action At Rocket Farms, we are branding ourselves as more than plants; we are part of your life, a lifestyle and a range of fun, modern products that fit into every lifestyle. We use social media to convey these attributes and help us differentiate. We are building customer relations (we find ourselves answering a lot of questions) and tracking consumer response to our products to […]

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February 25, 2013

Proven Winners Unveils 2013 Consumer Shrub Campaign

Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs has launched a national consumer advertising campaign unlike any the industry has ever seen. Bold graphics personify ten heavy-hitting shrub varieties to present the unique and innovative features that make them a smart choice for the home garden. Proven Winners shrubs worked with Fairly Painless Advertising, an agency whose work was recently featured during Super Bowl Sunday, to develop the campaign that features both print advertising and a new homepage at www.provenwinners-shrubs.com. Wanting to break from the stale campaigns of the past, Proven Winners chose to work with Fairly Painless to develop a series of ads that creatively illustrated each plant’s more significant features rather than spelling it out with overly technical copy. The process took several months and involved boiling down the brand’s message to its simplest, most pure form before building it back up. The result is a daring campaign the breaks through the […]

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February 11, 2013

Choose The Right Greenhouse Varieties For 2013

While the greenhouse industry has become more progressive in its marketing efforts, we are still stuck using very traditional approaches that are no longer effective. Let’s look at a couple of levels in the supply chain to see how they market their products. Growers There has been a huge transition in the balance of power regarding variety adoption at the grower level. This is driven by the influence of outdoor grower trials. Many retailers are selecting varieties based on what some say are the most objective trials. Leading examples are Metrolina, VanWingerden International, Welby Gardens, Costa Farms and C. Raker, just to name a few. Retailers don’t care who bred the plant; all they want to know is what works best and if it comes from a reliable source. Some industry observers have suggested the importance of university trials has vastly diminished. Breeder And Producers This group has changed California […]

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February 5, 2013

Why Parks Brothers Farm’s Jason Parks Uses Social Media

Why use social media? Communicating with others online can be a powerful tool for marketing your products, but Jason Parks of Parks Brothers Farm also uses it to keep up-to-date on the world outside the greenhouse. Here’s an inside look at who he communicates with over social media and why. 1. Why use social media?  JP: The best reason to use social media is so you can converse with people in your networks who are customers, potential customers, competitors and trolls (look it up). We use social media as a communication tool that has customer service, advertising and sales benefits depending on who you are talking to and how you are conversing with them. Customers and consumers want to talk to the people who make or grow the products they buy. They want to be able to get on their computer or smartphone and communicate with someone who is involved […]

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February 1, 2013

How Pinterest Helps Growers

Over the last year, Pinterest has blossomed into a worldwide social network. Establishing itself as a popular niche among social media channels, this photo-sharing forum has caught the attention of millions of users. So, what is Pinterest and how can it help you as a grower establish brand awareness among current and potential customers? For starters, your product is visually appealing — this social networking site is designed to allow users to share photos in an infinite number of categories from across the Web. Topics range from gardening ideas and favorite home furnishing accessories to fashion trends and delicious recipes. Photo categories can be easily customized per industry and product type, and the possibilities are endless.   Each Pinterest user has the ability to create personalized or tailored boards, which can be named based on specific products or plant varieties and genera. Once the boards have been created, related photos […]

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