“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...

August 28, 2016

BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship Goes To Alexander Schaller

Schaller, a senior at the University of Arizona in the Plant Sciences Department, is interested in ornamental and floriculture crop breeding and crop physiology.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generation Of Growers

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
Latest Stories

August 28, 2016

BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship Goes To …

Schaller, a senior at the University of Arizona in the Plant Sciences Department, is interested in ornamental and floriculture crop breeding and crop physiology.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
Tidal Creek Growers

August 25, 2016

Maryland-Based SunMed Growers Nabs Cannabis License

The company was one of 15 licensees selected by the commission out of a pool of 145 grower applicants to receive one of the license pre-approvals.

Read More
Albert Grimm GOY feature

August 25, 2016

Up Close And Personal With Head Grower Of The Year Albe…

According to Grimm, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, the key to being a successful grower is educating and inspiring yourself, your staff, your customers, and the next generation of growers.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 23, 2016

AmericanHort Is Helping Plant Importers Adjust To New R…

A report from Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort says the government is implementing a streamlined system for imports, in which all required data will be submitted electronically through a single window.

Read More
LuxFlora - feature

August 22, 2016

Check Out Luxflora’s International Adventures In Europe

A new, women-led professional organization provides its members the opportunity to gain insight, develop ideas, and build connections on its annual international trip.

Read More
MasterTag booth at Cultivate'16

August 17, 2016

5 Nuggets Of Wisdom From Cultivate’16

Here are five sweet pieces from the movers and shakers at Cultivate'16 to help improve your greenhouse business.

Read More
Cannabis ForwardGro

August 16, 2016

ForwardGro Receives License From Maryland Medical Canna…

The company, comprised of expert nursery growers, medical experts, business leaders, and patient advocates, says it can now apply its greenhouse growing experience, medical knowledge, and business expertise to effectively grow quality and consistent medical cannabis.

Read More
GreenhouseConnect 2015 Grower Supplier Meeting

August 16, 2016

5 Reasons You Need To Attend GreenhouseConnect

Greenhouse Grower’s annual event, which will take place Oct. 11-14 in Park City, UT, offers large-scale growing operations the chance to meet one on one with suppliers who can directly address your business needs.

Read More
Farwest Show Floor

August 14, 2016

Mobile App Now Available For 2016 Farwest Show

The app, available as a free download, can help attendees plan for everything from educational sessions to the New Varieties Showcase and Grower Showcase.

Read More

August 13, 2016

Plants Sales Are Up For Fourth Straight Year, According…

Growers declared spring 2016 to be a success in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry: Spring Crops Recap Survey.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

August 12, 2016

IR-4 Project Receives Federal Funding For Pollinator An…

Grants from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative will fund IR-4 projects on protecting pollinators through ornamental horticulture, and downy mildew management strategies.

Read More
Emily Teng

August 11, 2016

American Floral Endowment Announces Its 2016 Scholarshi…

This year, thanks to the generosity of several donors, AFE awarded more than $35,000 to 17 students pursuing careers in horticulture.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

August 10, 2016

Customers Need Hand-Holding And TLC [Opinion]

If we want customers to use our plants, we need to provide basic information about the plants we produce.

Read More
Plug Connection Assortment

August 9, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Will Feature…

This year’s conference, which takes place Sept. 19-21 in Carlsbad, CA, features discussions on water, pest and disease control, and production inputs, as well as a biocontrols workshop and tour of local cuttings facilities.

Read More
Jim Nordlie

August 9, 2016

AFE Establishes Memorial Tribute For Long-Time Rose Gro…

Kennicott Brothers Company, Nordlie Inc., and The Pete Garcia Company established the Jim Nordlie Memorial Tribute through American Floral Endowment in honor of James “Jim” Nordlie, who passed away on July 1 at the age of 93.

Read More
Josh Henry, North Carolina State University

August 8, 2016

Get To Know Joshua Henry, Winner Of The 2016 Richard T.…

Henry, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticultural sciences, with a focus on crop nutrition in bedding plants and flowering potted plants.

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