Costa Farms has named seasoned ornamental industry veteran Henry Gonzalez as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Gonzalez will oversee Costa Farms’ marketing, research, and category management teams.
With more than 25 years of experience in brand and retail marketing, Gonzalez has worked on both the client and agency sides of marketing, and hopes to bring a fresh strategic perspective to Costa Farms’ programs.
“Henry will be of tremendous benefit to our organization,” says Jose Smith, Costa Farms CEO. “His diverse experience as a retail client, manufacturer, and agency partner gives him a strong business background in brand and retail marketing, which adds value for our customers and improves our commitment to develop consumer-driven programs.”
Gonzalez, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, honed his marketing and leadership skills at companies such as Burger King, Edwards Fine Foods, and Schwan Food Company, the fifth largest frozen food company in the world, as well as Crispin Porter Bogusky, which was recognized as one of the leading advertising agencies during his tenure.
“I’m excited to join the Costa Farms team and bring my passion to a category I love, and to a leading company in the green industry,” Gonzalez says. “I look forward to working with our team to build on Costa Farms’ success as a marketing leader, program innovator, and solutions provider for our customers to drive category growth.”
Before joining Costa Farms, Gonzalez was Senior Vice President at Zimmerman Advertising, where he managed clients such as Michaels Arts & Crafts, McDonald’s, and Sam’s Club.
Greenhouse Grower recently caught up with Gonzalez and asked him about his new role.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): How did your previous experience prepare you for this new role?
Henry Gonzalez: I’ve had the benefit of working for several great companies and brands in different categories as a client, vendor partner, and on the agency side. That’s given me a well-rounded perspective and understanding of what it takes to position our customers and our company for success.
GG: What are some of the biggest issues or concerns you’ve heard from the growers you work with, and how do you plan to help them deal with these issues?
Gonzalez: Because of the multi-year lead times associated with the sourcing and growing of many plants, anticipating demand a few years out is challenging given various factors. We’ll work to bring more rigor and discipline to how we forecast by closely monitoring consumer trends and behavior, and collaborating with customers to generate insights through research and testing.
GG: What are the biggest challenges this industry is currently facing?
Gonzalez: The core gardener is aging, and it’s important to reach, engage, and encourage new customers (many live in smaller spaces than core gardeners) to experience the benefits of gardening and houseplants. The category can be overwhelming for consumers that lack the time, knowledge, and skill to succeed.
GG: Conversely, what are some of the biggest opportunities on the horizon?
Gonzalez: Being green is part of our cultural lexicon. There’s a greater level of concern and appreciation for the environment that we need to translate into a love of gardening and caring for plants.
GG: Looking ahead, what role can you play in moving this industry forward?
Gonzalez: Bringing a consumer-focused approach to ensure we’re providing solutions that make the category easier and more convenient to help drive category growth.
GG: If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?
Gonzalez: More volunteer work and spending more time on my landscaping projects, of course.