“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...
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor Shortage

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means For Greenhouse Growers

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
griffin-andrea-nelson-and-bill-watson

November 22, 2016

Griffin Adds Two Industry Veterans To Its Sales Team

Bill Watson and Andrea Nelson, the newest members of Griffin, answer questions about the state of the horticulture industry, and their role in moving it forward.

Read More
Latest Stories
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor S…

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More
griffin-andrea-nelson-and-bill-watson

November 22, 2016

Griffin Adds Two Industry Veterans To Its Sales Team

Bill Watson and Andrea Nelson, the newest members of Griffin, answer questions about the state of the horticulture industry, and their role in moving it forward.

Read More

November 21, 2016

How Building New Markets Can Reduce Dependency On Your …

Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff says a smart and sustainable business goes beyond boundaries to create more demand outside of traditional channels.

Read More
griffin-expo

November 11, 2016

Griffin Announces Dates For Its 2017 Grower & Retai…

The events will take place Aug. 23-24 in Massachusetts, and Sept. 27-28 in Pennsylvania.

Read More

November 8, 2016

AmericanHort Hosting Lean Flow-Focused Webinar On Novem…

The webinar is the first in a series that will cover how Lean Flow affects your marketing, your customers, and your product offerings.

Read More
oregon-lean-flow

November 8, 2016

Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium Welcomes New Grower Memb…

The Oregon Nursery Lean Consortium, which helps the horticulture industry learn and apply Lean principles, is inviting greenhouse and nursery growers — and their suppliers — to join its 2017 program.

Read More
Great Lakes Expo

November 7, 2016

Greenhouse Growers Expo Will Focus On Improving Plant Q…

Sessions at the Greenhouse Growers Expo, which takes place in Grand Rapids, MI, in December, will focus on maintaining and increasing plant quality through successful rooting of cuttings, disease and pest management, and plant disorder diagnostics.

Read More
hoffman-nursery-owners

November 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Embarks On New Opportunities In Green I…

Thirty years ago, John and Jill Hoffman set off on an epic adventure to grow ornamental grasses. Today, Hoffman Nursery continues to evolve, and through its leadership, the operation is helping to secure a position for horticulture on one of the next great frontiers — green infrastructure.

Read More
urban-crops-pieter-de-smedt-and-maarten-vandecruys

November 3, 2016

Belgium-Based Vertical Farming Specialist Urban Crops O…

The opening of the new office in Miami, FL, is part of a continued expansion plan for the company, which creates tailored growth structures that are turnkey, automated, robotized, and able to be integrated into existing production facilities.

Read More
giving-tuesday

November 3, 2016

American Floral Endowment Once Again Joins Giving Tuesd…

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, floral industry supporters are encouraged to make a tax-deductible, year-end donation to AFE to help it continue providing benefits for all segments of the industry.

Read More
americanhort-plug-and-cutting-conference-2016

November 1, 2016

AmericanHort’s Plug And Cutting Conference Tackles Bioc…

The event included a grower tour, biocontrols workshop, and educational sessions focused on water management, labor, pest and disease control, and smart production strategies for great plug quality.

Read More
2015 GROW Summit_discussion shot

October 28, 2016

How We Can Inspire Millennials To Get Involved In Horti…

By uniting our efforts, we can attract new generations of growers and consumers to the horticulture industry, starting when they are young.

Read More
americann-cannabis-facility-in-massachusetts

October 27, 2016

Large Cannabis Greenhouse On The Horizon In Massachuset…

A Colorado company is preparing to build the largest marijuana greenhouse in Massachusetts, a sprawling, high-tech complex that could eventually expand to nearly 1 million square feet, depending on whether voters in the state approve the sale of marijuana for recreational use in November.

Read More
The tradeshow at the Cannabis Business Summit & Expo — outside of the occasional 1960s vibe, perhaps — would feel familiar to most growers

October 26, 2016

Las Vegas Will Host Two Premier Cannabis Events In Nove…

The Marijuana Business Conference And Expo and the World Of Cannabis Summit each take place in mid-November.

Read More
Cannabis Close Up

October 26, 2016

Cannabis Growers Try To Become More Sustainable

As cannabis production continues to increase in some areas, one question seems to be coming up more and more: What is the most sustainable way to grow cannabis?

Read More
american-floral-endowment-horticulture-careers-video

October 26, 2016

New American Floral Endowment Video Creates Awareness A…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has created a video to promote careers in floriculture and horticulture and to inform students about AFE scholarship and internship programs.

Read More
greenhouseconnect-2016-welcome-reception

October 25, 2016

Growers And Suppliers Discuss Long-Term Strategic Needs…

Greenhouse Grower’s annual event, held in Park City, UT, earlier this month, brought 19 growers together with 25 suppliers for two days of one-on-one discussions geared toward solving problems and generating new ideas.

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