“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...
Spring Meadow Nursery Fire

January 17, 2017

Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires

The blazes occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, and Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Both companies say no employees were injured, and they plan to pull together and stay on schedule for the remainder of the year.

Read More

January 10, 2017

5 Can’t-Miss Events and Activities at TPIE

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE) is fast approaching. As you plan your trip, here are five can’t-miss highlights from this year’s show.

Read More
sakata-tour-de-fresh-salad-bar-donation

January 8, 2017

Sakata’s Participation in Tour de Fresh Race Results in New Elementary School Salad Bar

On the heels of riding in the Tour de Fresh Race in July, Allen Satterlee of Sakata Seed America celebrated by presenting a new salad bar to Galt Elementary School in California.

Read More
Latest Stories
Spring Meadow Nursery Fire

January 17, 2017

Two Major Growers Recovering and Rebuilding After Fires

The blazes occurred at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA, and Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Both companies say no employees were injured, and they plan to pull together and stay on schedule for the remainder of the year.

Read More

January 10, 2017

5 Can’t-Miss Events and Activities at TPIE

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association’s Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE) is fast approaching. As you plan your trip, here are five can’t-miss highlights from this year’s show.

Read More
sakata-tour-de-fresh-salad-bar-donation

January 8, 2017

Sakata’s Participation in Tour de Fresh Race Results in…

On the heels of riding in the Tour de Fresh Race in July, Allen Satterlee of Sakata Seed America celebrated by presenting a new salad bar to Galt Elementary School in California.

Read More
griffin-aurora-colorado-branch

January 6, 2017

Griffin Opening New Hard-Goods-Focused Distribution Cen…

The planned February opening of the 18,500 square-foot facility is part of the company’s continued expansion into the Western U.S.

Read More
gg-january-2017-cover-arizonaeast-feature

January 5, 2017

Why ArizonaEast Is Expanding Its Succulent Production T…

In Greenhouse Grower's January cover story, learn how Brian and Joe Vitale of ArizonaEast saw a chance to expand and diversify their New Jersey-based succulent operation, and why they jumped at the opportunity.

Read More
Moana plant yard

January 4, 2017

Green Industry Poised for Continued Economic Growth in …

Positive economic indicators point to 2017 being a year of modest growth for the green industry, according to economist Charlie Hall.

Read More

January 3, 2017

Growing Optimism for the Horticulture Industry in 2017

With a new administration and a new Congress, AmericanHort's Craig Regelbrugge says the horticulture industry has reason to be cautiously optimistic that regulatory relief could be on the horizon.

Read More
2016-student-competition-award-winners

January 3, 2017

Southern Nursery Association Research Conference Procee…

On the heels of presenting awards to students in the horticulture industry, the Southern Nursery Association has compiled and published its conference research proceedings.

Read More
Farwest Show Floor

December 31, 2016

Farwest Show 2017 Will Feature New Days and Hours

The 2017 Farwest Show will take place Wednesday, Aug. 23 through Friday, Aug. 25, to allow attendees more time to visit local hot spots.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 29, 2016

Kelly Norris: 4 Ways We’re Leaving Growth Opportunities…

Horticulture is a multi-million dollar industry with lots to offer, yet we’re still overlooking several avenues for growth.

Read More
Top 100 Breakfast Panel for 2016

December 27, 2016

You Said It: The Best Quotes From 2016

Some of the industry’s leading growers and educators had strong things to say this year. Here’s a look at some of the most memorable quotes from 2016.

Read More

December 27, 2016

5 Photo Galleries You Didn’t Dare Miss in 2016

Whether it was industry event and trade show highlights or new developments in technology, these images not only spoke more than a thousand words; they drew thousands of clicks, as well.

Read More

December 27, 2016

Check Out the Top 5 Most-Read News Stories on Greenhous…

From pest outbreaks to overtime rule changes, here are the headlines that grabbed your attention in 2016.

Read More
Grow Summit 2016 group shot

December 20, 2016

Less Talk, More Action At Greenhouse Grower’s GRO…

Investing in technology, developing new marketing solutions, and recruiting young growers were just a few of the issues covered at GROW Summit 2016.

Read More
Workers are required to wear uniforms and use tools restricted to the section of the facility where they work, and street clothes are prohibited

December 16, 2016

House Failure To Address H-2B Exemption Could Affect Sp…

Despite efforts by AmericanHort and others in the industry, the House of Representatives failed to renew the Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that helps ensure that small and seasonal businesses have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season.

Read More
americanhort-hort-scholars

December 15, 2016

HortScholars Program Is Open For 2017 Applications

Presented by AmericanHort, the program is open to students in a horticulture-related degree program, and recipients will have exclusive opportunities for in-depth discussions with industry leaders at Cultivate’17.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries Bright Young Talent

December 13, 2016

Emergent Networking Event On Deck At MANTS 2017

Emergent, the collective group of young horticulture professionals who represent the next generation of growing, will host a reception on Wednesday, Jan. 11, after the MANTS tradeshow floor closes.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-veterans-workforce

December 13, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Navigates The H-2A Program

Joe Bailey, Human Resources Director at Bailey Nurseries says each operation has to analyze their situation and decide for themselves if the H-2A program is right for them.

Read More