“Social Media Is The New Garden Fence,” And Other Advice From Keynote Speaker P. Allen Smith At Cultivate’14

bonniecabbageprogram_comSocial media is not the enemy – it’s a tool that’s being used all over the world in many different markets to develop and engage the next generations of buyers. But when gardening guru P. Allen Smith asked the packed room full of Cultivate’14 attendees during his keynote address on July 13, how many of them are on Twitter, very few hands went up. A few more admitted they use Facebook. Ultimately, Smith said, the horticulture industry, as a whole, is not using social media enough – or at least, not effectively.

Social Media Is The New Garden Fence

The most viewed television show in history was the series finale of M.A.S.H. in 1983, with 105.9 million viewers. While TV is still an effective medium, social media is rivaling its reach. Just this last year, 43 million viewers tuned in to watch the Oscars, but the selfie of hostess Ellen DeGeneres took at the Oscars with a few of her famous friends reached 37 million people within four hours.

“Social media is now the new garden fence over which we are sharing information,” Smith said.

Social media reaches buyers of many different ages, from the greatest generation to toddlers, he said. Check out some of the numbers he provided during his talk:

Greatest Generation:

  • 77 percent have mobile devices

Baby Boomers:

  • Wealthiest generation, representing 50 percent of all consumer packaging goods dollars.

Gen X: 1965-1980

  • 70 percent are college educated
  • 74 percent have kids
  • 82 percent are homeowners
  • More frugal than Boomers and Gen Y

Millenials (Gen Y): 1981-2000

  • 90 million strong
  • Next five years will have more spending power than any generation
  • Digital generation
  • Research products online before coming to the store
  • Key is to market products with them, not to them
  • Let millennials share their stories and experiences
  • They trust in user-generated content
  • Only 6 percent consider online ads to be credible

Boomlets (Gen Z): 2001 to present

  • Oldest are 14, have cell phones and buying power
  • True digital natives – they don’t know life without the Internet.

Who Is Our Consumer?

The new buyer demographics are changing. While Baby Boomers are our biggest buyers now, Smith said we need to consider generations X through Z as our future. Here are some interesting statistics about our target audience:

  • 20 percent of homeowners are single women
  • 4 in 10 women are sole or primary breadwinners
  • More stay-at-home dads who like to do outdoor projects.
  • College graduates who earn 75,000 plus per year, per household
  • House-proud homeowners who have kids and pets
  • Embedded generosity – interested in giving initiatives and social responsibility, like community gardens

These consumers are talking on social media, Smith said – are you listening?

  • On Twitter, there are more than 1 billion tweets per week, amounting to 9,100 tweets per second.
  • On Facebook, every 20 minutes: 1 million links are shared; 2 million people are friended; 3 million messages are created
  • On YouTube, there are more than 6 billion hours of videos watched per month
  • Pinterest is more popular than Twitter
  • Facebook is aging, with 45 percent of users aged 65 and older
  • Those who use instagram also use Twitter – there is a 50 percent crossover – you can use the two media together
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn are stand-alone social media sites, not used with others

Fight For Your Audience

Smith implored AmericanHort membership to spend more time and resources on developing and creating an audience. “You have to fight for your audience. Is proper audience development a key marketing objective or an after thought,” he asked. “What if you reported audience growth and health to your investors, to your business partners or just to yourself?”

Like profits to your business’ bottom line, it’s important to think of audience development as an aspect of a healthy business.

“Numbers don’t matter as much as engagement and interest in what you’re promoting,” Smith said.
If you have a website, blog or social media presence, you would work with partners like other bloggers for content. Just make sure whatever you produce is mobile-friendly.

Offer ideas for how consumers can get involved in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. For instance, Smith offered, consumers are wildly interested in food, especially locally grown, organic food, and want to know how to grow their own food.

“Consumers want to participate – you just have to engage them,” Smith said.

Urban homesteading is a new trend, as well.

“Young consumers want to learn how to do things their grandparents did,” he said. “We can teach them!”

Today’s consumers are also quite generous and want to share the bounty. Smith pointed to Bonnie Plants’ Third Grade Cabbage Program, which challenges third grade students to grow gardens and gives them cabbage seeds, to see who can grow the largest OS (oversized) cabbage. The winner gets a $1,000 scholarship and the kids love it.

Industry members should work with schools, and use social media to post photos of kids getting busy and working in the garden and being happy about it. By doing this, it gets parents excited and engaged in the project and in the schools.

Smith said today’s consumers are all about finding their bliss and “we are an industry that can help people feel good about themselves and their lives. If we contribute more to create a beautiful environment, help beautify cities and help bring beauty into consumers’ lives and show them how they can do that every day, we can help them improve the quality of their lives.”

After all, he said, “Dirt is the new Prozac.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Business Management...
GrowIt! Logo

February 9, 2016

GrowIt! And MasterTag Partner To Enhance Plant Care Information On The GrowIt! App

The partnership allows MasterTag to provide plant care instructions to the wide catalog of plants available on GrowIt!, which helps consumers find plants in their area.

Read More
Pot Mum Combos (Syngenta Flowers)

February 8, 2016

Syngenta Has A New Buyer, Will Not Divest Flower Seeds Business

Syngenta has announced that it will likely approve an offer from ChemChina to acquire the company, which means it no longer plans to divest its flower seed business.

Read More

February 3, 2016

New Plants, Products, And Trends From TPIE 2016

Tropicals, foliage, and succulents may be the way to new consumers’ hearts, based on the cool ideas, products, and trends presented at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s (FNGLA) 2016 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), January 20-22, 2016 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The theme this year, Elevating Expectations, was fulfilled, renewing and reinvigorating attendees to carry forth their businesses into 2016 and beyond. TPIE showcases the latest trends in foliage, floral, and tropical plants, with a tradeshow of more than 200,000 square feet of show-stopping displays. While checking out new plants and products is a great excuse to travel to South Florida in late January, the threat of Storm Jonas bringing the snowstorm of the century to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states had some show attendees booking flights early to get home before they were stranded. Still, reports from FNGLA said this year’s TPIE […]

Read More
Latest Stories
GrowIt! Logo

February 9, 2016

GrowIt! And MasterTag Partner To Enhance Plant Care Inf…

The partnership allows MasterTag to provide plant care instructions to the wide catalog of plants available on GrowIt!, which helps consumers find plants in their area.

Read More
Pot Mum Combos (Syngenta Flowers)

February 8, 2016

Syngenta Has A New Buyer, Will Not Divest Flower Seeds …

Syngenta has announced that it will likely approve an offer from ChemChina to acquire the company, which means it no longer plans to divest its flower seed business.

Read More

February 3, 2016

New Plants, Products, And Trends From TPIE 2016

Tropicals, foliage, and succulents may be the way to new consumers’ hearts, based on the cool ideas, products, and trends presented at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s (FNGLA) 2016 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), January 20-22, 2016 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The theme this year, Elevating Expectations, was fulfilled, renewing and reinvigorating attendees to carry forth their businesses into 2016 and beyond. TPIE showcases the latest trends in foliage, floral, and tropical plants, with a tradeshow of more than 200,000 square feet of show-stopping displays. While checking out new plants and products is a great excuse to travel to South Florida in late January, the threat of Storm Jonas bringing the snowstorm of the century to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states had some show attendees booking flights early to get home before they were stranded. Still, reports from FNGLA said this year’s TPIE […]

Read More

February 2, 2016

19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. Here is what you had to say.

Read More
Costa Farms

January 29, 2016

Costa Farms Named International Grower Of The Year

Costa Farms was the night’s biggest winner during an awards gala presented by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) and held at IPM Essen in Germany. (Read more about the business culture that’s driven Costa’s success in Greenhouse Grower’s January 2016 feature story.) The Florida-based grower was named the International Grower Of The Year, and was chosen from a group that included eight other international companies. “This award is a reflection of our entire team, and we are all dedicated to being the best at what we do and making this company successful for the long term,” said Jose Costa, Executive Vice President of Costa’s foliage division. The AIPH awarded gold, silver, and bronze awards in three categories — Finished Plants And Trees, Young Plants, and Cut Flowers — prior to naming the big winner. Costa was the gold winner in the Finished Plants and Trees Category. Each of […]

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More
John Daley Featured

January 25, 2016

How To Retain Motivated Young Growers At Your Greenhous…

Wholesale grower John R. Daley says engaging young growers and making them a viable part of your operation is the best way to ensure you keep young talent for the long term.

Read More
Katherine Wolper

January 24, 2016

Ludvig Svensson Hires Katherine Wolper As West Coast Sa…

Wolper says she looks forward to listening to growers and understanding the concerns, obstacles, and opportunities they face.

Read More
Israel Greenhouse

January 23, 2016

Sign Up Now For A Horticulture Tour Of Israel Taking Pl…

The tour is being organized by John and Kelly Schroeder of Valleybrook Gardens, and will include visits to greenhouses, garden centers, nurseries, and local historical sites.

Read More
Houseplant Featured Image

January 21, 2016

How To Improve Consumer Interest In Indoor Foliage Plan…

Researchers discover why there is decreasing consumer demand for indoor foliage plants and suggest ways to overcome hurdles to purchasing.

Read More
State of the industry 2016

January 21, 2016

Green Industry Is Set For Continued Growth In 2016

Economist Charlie Hall says the outlook for the green industry is promising despite the havoc wreaked on plant sales by the downturn in housing.

Read More

January 20, 2016

Tips For Overcoming Challenges In Family Business From …

Our industry is run by a collection of family businesses, and every one, no matter how big or small, has its share of management issues. But there are several differences between one that is run successfully as a business and one that allows family politics to distract from the organization’s goals. In this year’s State Of The Industry Survey, we noted that labor recruitment and succession are two areas where growers struggle. In talking with the owners of Costa Farms for this month’s cover story, I thought some of the values they have incorporated into the operation’s management structure really stood out as practices that other family businesses could use. The participatory management approach to business and team building is one that Tony Costa, the second-generation owner of Costa Farms, instilled in his children, Maria Costa-Smith and Jose Costa, and son-in-law, Joche Smith, the current owners of Costa Farms. In […]

Read More

January 20, 2016

Color Point Creates New Marketing And Communications De…

According to Color Point co-owner Ken VanWingerden, Maloney’s leadership in the new department will help the company better manage its recent growth both internally and with the entire industry.

Read More
Janeen Wright

January 18, 2016

Five Thought-Provoking Ideas From GROW Summit 2015

Here are five ideas from Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 GROW Summit ranging from big-picture ideas to smaller initiatives that can help move the industry forward.

Read More
How will growers' production in 2016 compare to 2015

January 18, 2016

2016 State Of The Greenhouse Industry Numbers At A Glan…

Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here’s a look at the greenhouse market for 2016, in graphics.     For a more in-depth analysis of where the industry stands, read Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry article, “Growers And Suppliers Move Forward With Cautious Optimism In 2016.”

Read More
Top Concerns sidebar

January 18, 2016

Growers And Suppliers Move Forward With Cautious Optimi…

A year of growth in 2015 also had its share of challenges, and as a result, growers and suppliers are a bit more guarded going into 2016. After a few years of extreme weather and drought, a massive ongoing labor shortage, a shaky economy, and increased government regulation, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows growers and retailers are moving forward with cautious optimism. Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey included separate questions for growers and for suppliers. Of our 358 respondents, 103 were suppliers, 111 were grower-retailers, 109 were wholesale growers, and 35 were young plant growers. Among growers, 57% indicated their operations were small (less than 100,000 square feet), 21% were medium-sized (100,000 to 399,999 square feet), and 22% said they were large growers (400,000 square feet or larger). Sixty-eight percent of the grower respondents said their sales grew in 2015 over 2014, down […]

Read More
SAF CAD

January 18, 2016

Sign Up Now To Attend SAF Congressional Action Days In …

Congressional Action Days is a great chance for Society of American Florists members to meet their state’s lawmakers and discuss the most critical issues they are facing.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]