Attendees who gathered for Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 GROW Summit left the event invigorated and ready to continue playing an active part in building floriculture’s future. This year’s think-tank style event brought together leaders from across the green industry to deliberate on topics such as disruptive marketing, cost accounting, and Millennials, to name a few.
GROW is a cross segment initiative started in 2011 that aspires to bring together the industry’s best minds to come up with innovative solutions to help grow the industry. It focuses on five priorities for driving growth: Drive Consumer Success, Cultivate New Customers, Demand Quality, Sharpen Business Management, and Invest in the Industry. The goal is to capture the industry’s best ideas and advance solutions to make them happen.
Presenters Stimulate Discussion
Presentations sprinkled throughout the event helped encourage group discussion. Mason Day of GrowIt! kicked off the summit with a presentation on how the industry can think outside the box, and borrow strategies for success from other industries to create disruptive marketing efforts that cultivate new customers. Day challenged the group to get rid of the phrase “Because that’s what we’ve always done” in 2018, and replace it with “Let’s try it.”
Stephanie Whitehouse of Dickman Farms and Kelly Norris of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden updated the group on current industry efforts dedicated to the next generation of horticulture and what other business resources might be necessary. Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff shared a sneak peek at some of the results from the 2018 State of the Industry survey with attendees. She also brought the group up to speed on industry-wide marketing efforts.
Task Force Updates
Last year, GROW formed two taskforces to address two priorities that the group thought needed special attention ─ marketing and business management.
The purpose of the Business Management taskforce is to deliver real-world resources and expert advice to aid growers in daily and ongoing business challenges including cost accounting and control, business succession, and operation efficiency. Greenhouse Grower Senior Editor Brian Sparks gave the group a recap of the taskforce’s efforts over the last year, which included identifying potential resources to develop growers’ business management skills.
The goal of the marketing taskforce is to develop a clearinghouse of marketing resources and messages that growers and retailers can use to promote their products, businesses, and the industry at large. Managing Editor Janeen Wright talked about the Marketing Taskforce’s work to collect online marketing resources and locate them in a centralized location, as well as determine the best ways to promote industry messaging that communicates the benefits of plants.
Group Discussion Lively and Chock Full of Ideas
After the marketing and business management presentations, Summit attendees separated into five working groups to share insights and come up with ideas. Here are a few of the insightful comments that came out of the interchanges:
“If you are trying to attract the market, you want to build it on success. We need to define what success looks like.”
“We aren’t selling products. We are selling experiences.”
“Younger professionals like to have a plan. They are looking to see that there is an upward movement for them in their careers and lateral movement.”
GROW Summit 2017 Participants
Ken Aguilar, SolaWrap
Kurt Becker, Dramm, Inc.
Diane Blazek, National Garden Bureau
Gerry Bogdon, Meister Media Worldwide
Jennifer Calhoun, Benary
Bill Calkins, Ball Horticultural Co.
George Casey, Greenhouse Grower
Jim Crockett, Nufarm
Laura Drotleff, Greenhouse Grower
Tim Duffin, Ball Horticultural
Joe Gionta, BioWorks
Richard Jones, Meister Media Worldwide
Jeff Knape, Scott’s Miracle-Gro
Kendra Kovalycsik, Stockosorb/Evonik
Ken Kuhajda, OHP
Gregg Langermeier, Greenhouse Grower
Rob McHale, North Creek Nurseries
Kathy McKay, Flamingo Holland
Kelly Norris, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Sarena Robertson, Sakata Ornamentals
Andy Seckinger, OHP
Jennie Smith, Kemin
Brian Sparks, Greenhouse Grower
John Terhesh, Willoway Nurseries
Alecia Troy, Sakata Ornamentals
Heidi Warner, Nufarm
Stephanie Whitehouse, Dickman Farms
Brad Wiersum, Phyton Corporation
Janeen Wright, Greenhouse Grower
John Wynne, Stockosorb/Evonik
Gina Zirkle, AmericanHort