Are You Willing To Try Something Crazy To Stay In Business?

Are You Willing To Try Something Crazy To Stay In Business?

The OFA Grower Town Hall—it is a great time to get together and talk about all the revolutionary things we can do to change the industry. But are these changes being made? It seemed to me that some people in the room this year want to try new things, and some people want to keep on selling the same old products and using tired marketing.

I heard a lot of talk about what we have to get consumers to do— come into our stores, appreciate perennial color and texture, connect with the earth, value the product this industry creates. Truthfully, those are some pretty tall orders to fill. You can be exactly the solution the consumer needs for cleaner air and a more peaceful life, but if they don’t get the message, you don’t make the sale. You, as a product provider, need to give the consumer something they want. So now we need to ask ourselves, “Are we offering a product that the consumer, the non-gardening consumer, wants?”

I find it interesting that as a woman, on the border of Gen X/Y and pretty tech savvy, no one in the industry has ever asked me what products and services I want. Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.

As someone said during the Town Hall, we are just one tweak away from going gangbusters, like that little kid who’s dancing slightly off beat. I believe it, too. We may need just one little tweak to really rock it. How about these?

– Indoor plants, patio plants and balcony boxes and plants for these types of products. Consumers don’t have the time or patience for gardening. Are we doing anything about it? Americans are moving to smaller apartments and condos, but we’re offering a LOT of the same plants—bedding plants. I’m still shocked at how garden centers offer bench after bench of bedding plants, and so little product for indoors. Can annuals and color be bred to grow indoors? Tell me you wouldn’t have a pot of calibrachoa on your desk if you could. We need to offer a product for every consumer, whether they’re indoor or outdoor gardeners.

– Gifts. This is the number one thing I don’t get. I have to buy my mother a birthday gift every year. My co-workers. And I can’t think of anything to buy them. Where is the grab-and-go potted plants that look like gifts? You know—nice packaging. Several price points. While I may not want to spend on myself when times get bad, I’m going to buy my mother/brother/spouse a birthday gift every year.

– Get them to try it once. Do you remember the first time you grew a plant? Do you remember what it was like back in the beginning? That’s what needs to be shared. We need new customers! I don’t buy into the idea that we don’t need to market to a generation until they’re homeowners. If you aren’t reaching out to a school to get kids into gardening, then you can’t complain when they don’t know how to garden as adults.

– Get into different stores. Garden centers and growers need to partner with other retailers. Everyone who comes to My Salon today for a haircut gets a 4-inch geranium. The Wreath Factory at Otter Creek did it. If I’m not a gardener, I have absolutely no reason to go to a garden center.

– Whoever you are, it’s your responsibility. If you’re a grower, you need to talk to the consumer. After the town hall, it’s clearer than ever: This is all hands on deck. It’s important for gardeners to connect to a person, in store and online. And I want to see that person. Where is the photo of the person?

Change is scary, no doubt. You want to talk about change, look at the publishing industry. We’re going through it, too. And we have to adapt or die. Doing the same old thing is not an option. Our customers want something new. Offering the same old thing isn’t an option. We have to try crazy things, which, when they’re said and done, don’t seem so crazy after all.

You know the definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Art Parkerson of Lancaster Farms asked a great question over at Open Hort: Will there be a town meeting for you to skip in 10 years?

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Are You Willing To Try Something Crazy To Stay In Business?

  1. Sara – great article and WAY too true! The future is coming and change with it. How much folks are willing to change to move forward is the biggest question we face!

  2. You said what I have been telling others within our company for years!!! We need to share and reach those kids! I am making an effort through my own children and their friends! Planning to move forward.

More From Marketing...
Petal-it-Forward

October 3, 2017

October 11 is Your Chance to Petal it Forward

The Society of American Florists’ “Petal it Forward” campaign returns in 2017. Learn how you can participate in this day of spreading kindness through flowers.

Read More
Micandy Gardens Team

September 17, 2017

4 Ways Micandy Gardens Greenhouses Reaches Out to Millennials

Micandy leverages social media to get the word out about its products and spread the word about how flowers can make a difference in people’s lives.

Read More
Costa Farms Exotic Angel Idea Book

September 12, 2017

Costa Farms’ New Lookbook Offers Consumers Ideas on Best Plants for the Home

The new “Bring Your Home to Life” lookbook is a curated collection of more than 300 unique plant varieties best suited to grow in homes and offices.

Read More
Latest Stories
Petal-it-Forward

October 3, 2017

October 11 is Your Chance to Petal it Forward

The Society of American Florists’ “Petal it Forward” campaign returns in 2017. Learn how you can participate in this day of spreading kindness through flowers.

Read More
Micandy Gardens Team

September 17, 2017

4 Ways Micandy Gardens Greenhouses Reaches Out to Mill…

Micandy leverages social media to get the word out about its products and spread the word about how flowers can make a difference in people’s lives.

Read More
Costa Farms Exotic Angel Idea Book

September 12, 2017

Costa Farms’ New Lookbook Offers Consumers Ideas on Bes…

The new “Bring Your Home to Life” lookbook is a curated collection of more than 300 unique plant varieties best suited to grow in homes and offices.

Read More
Certified American Grown Flowers

September 5, 2017

Certified American Grown Flowers Names New Third-Party …

The organization’s new partnership with Where Food Comes From Inc., an agriculture-focused certification company with more than 20 years of experience, will be launched via video conference on September 14.

Read More
Container Gardening

September 5, 2017

14 Consumer Gardening Trends That Have Stood the Test o…

In early September, the Garden Media Group will unveil its 2018 Garden Trends report. To whet your appetite, here’s a look back at several trends that remain relevant today.

Read More

August 29, 2017

Know Your Grower: New Platform Brings Consumer Transpar…

The new Follow Your Flower or Plant vignette from MPS allows consumers to learn all about the producers of the plants and flowers they see at retail, and how sustainably their products are grown.

Read More
green-plan-it-gardening-outdoor-nature-explore-classroom

August 29, 2017

First-Of-Its-Kind Federal Grant Designed to Stimulate C…

The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture has received a USDA grant to help develop strategies and tactics to grow the practice of gardening 20% by 2025.

Read More
Luxfloraflowerrun17

July 20, 2017

Luxflora Attracted Even More Participation to its Secon…

More than 170 runners kicked off Cultivate'16 on Sunday, July 16, with Luxflora's second annual 5k race. It was a great way to start the week, participants said.

Read More
National Garden Bureau 2018 Year of the Calibrachoa

July 15, 2017

National Garden Bureau Announces Featured Plants for it…

Plant classes recognized include bulb crops (tulip), annuals (calibrachoa), vegetables/edibles (beet), and perennials (coreopsis).

Read More
cut flower arrangement

July 5, 2017

Congress Designates July as American Grown Flowers Mont…

Last week, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month.” Co-sponsored by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Rep. Don Young (AK-1), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), House Resolution 413 declares July as the month to celebrate the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers and demonstrate Congress’ commitment to support America’s flower farming families. Congressman Carbajal spoke from the House Floor, introducing the legislation and encouraging fellow members of Congress to support American Grown Flowers Month. “I have seen firsthand the value the grown flower industry adds to our economy and communities during my visits with our Central Coast growers,” said Rep. Carbajal. “California produces three quarters of all cut flowers grown in the United States. I am committed to recognizing their contribution […]

Read More
PlantHaven Team 2017

July 2, 2017

PlantHaven Wins Medal of Excellence Award for Marketing

After 20 years of making the world a more vibrant, colorful place, PlantHaven wins Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Award for Marketing for its groundbreaking ability to connect breeders, growers, and consumers through personable advertising campaigns.

Read More

June 1, 2017

Reimagining a Brand: How Did We Do With Greenhouse Grow…

Changing the design and content strategy of a brand isn't easy, but we think the new Greenhouse Grower will help carry our innovative industry forward and allow us to better serve your information needs.

Read More
NICH Plants Do That infographic feature

April 11, 2017

New Infographic Highlights Economic Impact of Plants

A new report from the National Institute for Consumer Horticulture shows how horticulture positively affects people’s lives wherever they live, work, shop, and play.

Read More
National Garden Bureau New Website

March 22, 2017

National Garden Bureau’s New Website Features Mobile-Fr…

The new site is designed to serve as a home base to drive traffic from NGB’s social media community to one central location.

Read More

March 7, 2017

Local Florists Celebrate Women’s Day and SAF Prom…

Florists across the U.S. are celebrating International Women's Day, March 8, and raising awareness for non-profit organizations. The Society of American Florists is raising its own awareness of what happens when women receive flowers with a new video for International Women's Day.

Read More
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Ed…

The site is designed to offer a friendly and informative vehicle that delivers product information in an easy-to-navigate format.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. to Take Over Marketing Sunny Ost…

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. will take over Sunny Holland B.V.'s marketing activities as of July 1, 2017, and begin offering Sunny Osteospermum to the supply chain.

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