Why It’s Important to Get to Know Consumers at the Ground Level

One stop along the #LifeInFullBloom road tour was Sherwood’s Forest Nursery and Garden Center in Manchester, MO.

One of the best ways to learn about consumer behavior is to get boots on the ground and engage with them. This year, I got to do just that with the Endless Summer Hydrangeas #LifeInFullBloom road tour: eight cities in nine days, community outreach events, multiple media appearances, and more than 1,700 miles in a 15-passenger Endless Summer van. What ensued was nothing short of educational, fun, and the first of many road trips around the country.

Without going into too many details — you can find time-lapse videos of the tour on the Endless Summer Facebook page. Here are three key takeaways from our nine days on the road.

Beer + Hydrangeas = Match Made in Heaven

One of our partner events for the tour was the Lincoln Park Craft Brews at the Zoo, an event with more than 100 participating breweries, plus an Endless Summer hydrangea wall. You  might think it’s odd to have a beer event at a zoo with hydrangeas, but surprisingly people were familiar with hydrangeas and got excited about them. And these people were not gardeners; they were everyone we want to hear our message: 25- to 45-year-olds who can afford $50 to drink sample-size beer for a few hours. Over and over we heard things like: “Hydrangeas are my favorite flower,” “OMG hydrangeas!” “I have Endless Summer in my yard.” These people engaged with us, even with the distraction of beer. They wanted photos in front of the hydrangea wall, asked questions about how to keep them alive in their yard, and were excited that we were there.

Attendees enjoyed taking pictures with the Endless Summer hydrangea wall as a back drop at the Lincoln Park Craft Brews at the Zoo event.

Millennials Want to Garden

It’s true. But maybe don’t tell them that they’re “gardening” (it’s a scary word to newbies). And it’s not just Millennials. It’s people of any age who are new to gardening. Whether it was our beer-drinking friends in Chicago, stage managers at television stations, or colleagues in our industry, we repeatedly heard what we inherently knew: green is gold. Trends like edibles, succulents, or Pinterest-inspired décor are the gateway to developing interest and appreciation for the green industry as a whole. If we acknowledge that not everyone is going to develop a deep passion for gardening as we all know it, at least we can capture their interest enough to have an appreciation for plants that hopefully progresses into a life-long hobby. Keep the communication simple, fun, and engaging. The more they enjoy the learning process, the more they will try.

Giving Back is Amazing

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of growing and selling plants. We move from one season to another, each with its own challenges, and all too often, we forget to step back and enjoy what we produce. Along the #LifeInFullBloom tour, we had the opportunity to meet with and donate to public gardens, non-profits, and other organizations and hear about the impact of plants on their communities. We helped give a facelift to Habitat for Humanity neighborhoods in Kansas City, raised awareness for plant-surplus programs with the Benson Plant Rescue in Omaha, and donated plants for displays at multiple public gardens. Of everything on the tour, these experiences will stick with me always. If I can leave you with anything, it is to take a step back and share. Encourage and allow your employees to do the same. Embrace the impact that our work and products can have on your community.

I’m looking forward to hitting the road again next year. With every stop, I learn more about our customers, the end consumer, and how we all continue to beautify the world around us.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

More From Greenhouse Grower's GROW...

February 23, 2018

Sunshine Farm & Gardens to Supply Plants for Beijing Olympics

The West Virginia-based nursery will be shipping plants bred and grown in West Virginia to China that will be used in the landscape of several Olympic venues in the February 2022 Winter Olympics.

Read More
Weigela Czechmark (Spring Meadow Nursery)

February 22, 2018

Plant Breeders Emphasize Importance of Patent Protection With New Website

According to members of MarkWatch, plant patents are an important protection for plant breeders and also provide an incentive for them to invest the time and money to innovate and develop new plant varieties.

Read More

February 21, 2018

Four Ways to Get Your Staff to Care About Quality

It can be a challenge to convince your employees to care as much as you do about your business and the quality of products you are providing. Here are four suggestions for making this happen.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 21, 2018

Four Ways to Get Your Staff to Care About Quality

It can be a challenge to convince your employees to care as much as you do about your business and the quality of products you are providing. Here are four suggestions for making this happen.

Read More

January 22, 2018

Four Ways to Attract Employees With a New Approach to C…

AgBiome is a participative, self-managed organization where no one has a boss. Instead, employees self-assemble as teams around organizational issues that need to be tackled, and internal experts help drive important decisions.

Read More

December 27, 2017

How CareerUp Helps Young Professionals Level-Up

The mission of CareerUp is to equip young professionals with the skills to maximize their career potential.

Read More

December 26, 2017

Richard T. Meister Scholarship Winner Encourages Indust…

This year’s scholarship winner says young people need experiences that challenge them and allow for creativity and innovation.

Read More

December 21, 2017

Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative: How You Made…

To create a competitive advantage, you must consistently experiment with and learn from new ideas. Greenhouse Grower’s GROW initiative provides you with cutting-edge ideas and actionable advice that results in greater profits in everyone’s pocket.

Read More

December 15, 2017

Your AFE Donations Will Be Matched Between Now and the …

Between now and December 1, any donations made to the American Floral Endowment will be matched up to $20,000.

Read More

December 8, 2017

HortScholars Program Now Accepting Applications for 201…

Do you know any college students currently in a horticulture-related program? This unique program gives them a chance to connect with industry leaders and make new connections at Cultivate.

Read More

December 5, 2017

GROW Summit 2017 Tackles Marketing and Business Managem…

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.

Read More

November 27, 2017

Why It’s Important to Get to Know Consumers at th…

One way to learn about consumer behavior is to get boots on the ground and engage with them.

Read More

November 9, 2017

Dümmen Orange Throws Support Behind Seed Your Future In…

Dümmen Orange has announced it will pledge $450,000 over the next three years to Seed Your Future, the non-profit organization whose mission is to promote horticulture in the U.S. and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants.

Read More

November 1, 2017

Thanks to the 2018 GROW Sponsors

There are a number of industry organizations that help make Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative a success.

Read More
Marshall Dirks, Proven Winners

October 28, 2017

5 Rules for Creating a Lifetime of Outdoor Garden Memor…

Many customers are time starved. Their most important asset is time, not money, so be realistic about the investment of both when they are buying plants.

Read More
Living Umbrellas

October 25, 2017

Why Living Umbrellas May Have a Bright Future

Sometimes innovation strikes by chance. Such was the case with David Tilley, developer of the “Living Umbrella.”

Read More
Luxflora Paris Trip

October 20, 2017

Luxflora Paris Trip Offers Insights on Trends Shaping H…

Each year, Luxflora hosts an international trip that allows participants to gain insights on trends and gather inspiration that ultimately will shape and support our industry in many ways. This year’s event took the group to Maison & Objet and Design Week in the City of Lights – Paris, France.

Read More
Steve Garvey, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses

September 23, 2017

Producing Quality Plants in the Greenhouse Starts From …

It's common for growers to make mistakes. What you learn from those mistakes is what sets you apart as a grower and where quality starts.

Read More
Quality in the Greenhouse

September 21, 2017

Two Head Growers and a Retail Live Goods Buyer Talk Bes…

Ultimately, the quality of the plants you grow will be responsible for the success of the consumer, and consumer success will ideally translate to repeat sales. That’s why quality must be a top priority for all growers, according to Brad Julian, a Live Goods Buyer for Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Head Growers Dennis Crum of Four Star Greenhouse and Joe Moore of Lucas Greenhouses.

Read More
Jan Gulley, Gulley Greenhouses

August 25, 2017

Why It’s Important to Educate and Engage the New Hortic…

Young adults entering the workforce have more professional choices than ever before, and many want to work in environments in which their work has a clear purpose for both the organization and society at large.

Read More
Seed Your Future feature

July 26, 2017

Seed Your Future Aims to Inspire Careers in Plants

Who will be the next generation of horticulturists? The answer lies in helping to change the perception of horticulture and using contemporary new language to tell our stories.

Read More