Why “Why” Is The Most Important Word In Advertising

Kurt FromherzThey say that the most effective marketing message is your story. Marketing experts will suggest that the most effective story is the one that taps what you are passionate about.

While this might sound simple, it is one of the most challenging tasks in marketing. It might also be the most elusive and misunderstood aspect of marketing. That’s understandable when you are trying to write copy for a radio spot, newspaper ad or direct mail piece. That message usually boils down to what you are selling. When things are reduced to what you are selling, you find yourself in the commodities business where everything is reduced to how much you can sell things for.

While that is a practical reality, it is rarely a battle you can win when you are facing the likes of Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Lowes, which is why marketing gurus will always push you to tell your story and do what you are passionate about. Great advice, but rarely are they able to tell you how. There are plenty of business books, seminars and workshops on how to follow your passion. They document success stories of other businesses that, while inspiring, rarely provide a blueprint for your business.

I think the more practical question is for you to determine what you are selling. I don’t mean the shovels, dirt and plants, but rather what makes you unique from all others.

Get To The Middle Of The Golden Circle

Recently I was sent an email with a link to a TED Talk (TED.com). It was titled, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” The speaker was Simon Sinek. It has been downloaded 25,136,273 times. That includes the six times I have watched or listened to this talk. I found it compelling for a variety of reasons that I wanted to share with you.

When I first listened to the 18-minute talk, there were several insights that really resonated with me. I had to watch it a few more times so I could fully take in what was said. While the solutions presented were not rocket science, they were based on facts and real-life case studies.

That is how I came to learn about Sinek’s “Golden Circle” of what a business (or a person) does, how they do it, and why they do it. It’s very simple concept with an incredibly powerful message. I couldn’t help think back to the last 20 years spent building and rebuilding Sunrise Marketing. I feel as though it has been several different lifetimes. Won some, lost some, but still standing. Of course, “still standing” might pay the rent, but is it really the “What” we all work for?

As I was watching the video I started to connect the dots to the success or failure of the business. When it was managed for the “What,” the success was erratic. When it was managed for the “Why,” it always worked out. The “Why” was always connected to personal relationships. Working in the “Why” has always been about thinking up ways that will help our clients succeed, in many respects because it was so personal.

The “Why” Starts With Personal Relationships

I still believe that at the end of the day, if all things are equal, people buy from people; and they buy from people they like. They buy from people who share the same interests, are positioned as experts and who exhibit a genuine desire to serve. They seek advice and then act on it (usually in the form of a purchase). They like being recognized (who doesn’t) and value being appreciated. They only grow more loyal when their support of the business is rewarded.

The rewards can be incentives, special deals, offers or events, but they can also be a careful and thoughtful response to a question. I have found that most customers come to an independent garden center for information and inspiration. They buy what they see, but often don’t have all the information to communicate what they’ve seen. You see many times customers simply don’t know they name of the plant, or don’t remember to bring along a sample of a diseased plant.

I can tell you with certainty what people will buy at a garden center. They will overwhelmingly buy what is in flower. They will pick out the best-looking, best-merchandised product, and many times they will be directed to that product by an enthusiastic and knowledgable member of your staff.

From those few absolutes you can answer the most important questions in advertising: the who, the what and the when. Market to your existing customers (who), plants that are in bloom (what) and when they are blooming (when).

Of course the most important element in the equation is not the who, what or when, it is the why. Why should I buy from you and not the other guy? I have explained that people buy from people they like, but why?

People form connections when they believe as you believe. They share your passion for what you do, how you do it and what you stand for.

It is really simple when you think of it in those terms. The magic formula is to sell what is blooming, when it is blooming to your existing customers. When those customers are happy they will gladly recruit more customers for you. This is not to say you aren’t active in marketing new customers, just remember to concentrate not only on the who, the what and the when, but most importantly, the why.

I guess we all face the question every day when we put on our shoes and head out the door to face another day. What am I working for? After 20 years I think I might have figured it out.

I work for the “Why.”

Leave a Reply

More From Retailing...
iPad In Garden Center

June 27, 2016

Inspiring Summer Customers Without A Word Being Said

Now is the time of year to sell your customers what they like, rather than what they need. According to industry consultant Ian Baldwin, one way to do this is to use silent selling techniques and devices that help validate a purchase.

Read More
Oconomowoc

June 27, 2016

Fire Destroys Greenhouses At Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center

The fire not only consumed the Wisconsin garden retailer's structures, but also major equipment like dump trucks. In all, the owners estimate $1.2 million in damage occurred.

Read More
Stocking spring plants at Petitti Garden Center FEATURE

June 23, 2016

How Growers Can Help Retailers Sell More In Spring

Fresh from a busy spring season, retailers share their wish list of things growers can do to make spring generate even more sales.

Read More
Latest Stories
iPad In Garden Center

June 27, 2016

Inspiring Summer Customers Without A Word Being Said

Now is the time of year to sell your customers what they like, rather than what they need. According to industry consultant Ian Baldwin, one way to do this is to use silent selling techniques and devices that help validate a purchase.

Read More
Oconomowoc

June 27, 2016

Fire Destroys Greenhouses At Oconomowoc Landscape Suppl…

The fire not only consumed the Wisconsin garden retailer's structures, but also major equipment like dump trucks. In all, the owners estimate $1.2 million in damage occurred.

Read More
Stocking spring plants at Petitti Garden Center FEATURE

June 23, 2016

How Growers Can Help Retailers Sell More In Spring

Fresh from a busy spring season, retailers share their wish list of things growers can do to make spring generate even more sales.

Read More

June 20, 2016

7 Garden Retailers Announced Closings This Month

Several established garden stores announced they were closing at the end of the 2016 season. Most of these retailers are decades old, including one that is closing after 133 years in business.

Read More

June 20, 2016

Industry’s First Plant Pricing Survey Is Open

The green industry has almost no research on plant pricing. With an industry that struggles to survive on slim margins, that's a problem. This survey is designed to help address the need, and we invite everyone to participate.

Read More
IGC 2016 Valley Forge Casino Resort

June 20, 2016

Stuff You’ll Want To Check Out At EIGC

Planning on attending the Easter Show For IGCs? Here's a list of new and interesting things you'll want to do while at the Philadelphia show.

Read More
Retailers Sharing Sales Info Feature Image

June 13, 2016

How Open Are Garden Retailers With Their Financials?

We asked garden retailers with whom they share their various reports, from the P&L to slow moving SKUs. See if your own openness matches your peers.

Read More
Hillermann Bathroom Sign FEATURE

June 13, 2016

The 2016 Bathroom Awards Is Open For Contestants

Working on the premise that a business that pays attention to its restrooms is a business that focuses on the customer, Garden Centers of America's annual award for best bathroom invites garden retailers to submit their most creative and appealing restroom photos and descriptions.

Read More

June 12, 2016

Check Out The Before And After Of Lowe’s Greenhou…

Lowe's added covered shopping in its plant yard, dramatically expanded its gift shop, and moved its parking lot and entrance from the street-facing front to the side. Take a look at the dramatic transformation!

Read More

June 7, 2016

Indoor Gardening Program, Modern Homesteading, Will Lau…

Modern Homesteading, an exclusive certified dealer program to fast track independent garden centers into the exploding indoor growing market, will make its debut at Cultivate’16, which takes place in Columbus, July 9-12. Created by Sunlight Supply, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of year-round gardening supplies, this new program offers retailers a turnkey indoor gardening line of products. “Gardening indoors makes it easy for anyone to grow fresh year-round, no matter the season, weather or conditions, either in kitchens or classrooms,” Sunlight Supply’s founder, Craig Hargreaves says. “And with the growing challenges to gardening outdoors brought on by severe climate conditions, soil infertility and pest issues, growing food indoors is not only easy, but necessary.” Growing indoors is a fast growing trend. According to IBISWorld, a global business intelligence leader, hydroponic equipment stores had revenues of just under $1 billion in 2015 and the market is projected to continue to […]

Read More
Al's Garden Center store front FEATURE

June 6, 2016

GCA Extends Early Bird Rates For The Summer Tour To Jun…

Garden Centers of America (GCA) is extending its Early Bird Savings for the Summer Tour in Portland, OR, to June 10. A GCA  press release cites a late spring for most Northern garden center for why it’s allow the $50 savings per registration to be extended to June 10. Registrants are also encouraged to book their hotel now to take advantage of special discounted rates at host hotel Embassy Suites Portland while rooms are available. GCA Summer Tour-goers enjoy a discounted nightly rate during this high-demand summer booking of just $199. GCA has also arranged with Embassy Suites Portland hotel officials to extend this special discounted rate to June 10. The hotel’s downtown location is in the heart of the Pearl District, surrounded by a wide selection of restaurants and food carts offering a delicious variety of dining options. Built in 1912 and renovated two years ago, the hotel combines historical ambiance with all of the modern […]

Read More
Rogers Gardens employee container garden assembly FEATURE

June 6, 2016

It’s Time For Garden Retailers To Start Hiring Ag…

Perhaps our industry has finally reached a point where there's simply too much work to be done for the number of employees on the payroll.

Read More

June 6, 2016

Old Fashioned Marketing Still Works At Countryside Gard…

Countryside Gardens in Hampton, VA, sent out one of the best marketing messages I’ve seen in a long time. In its June 2, 2016, e-newsletter, the first item read: Have you ever had a party to celebrate a plant blooming? If you have ever seen a night-blooming cereus in bloom, then you know why gardeners that have one of these plants will invite friends and neighbors over to enjoy them. What is so special about this plant that would make people venture out late in the evening to witness its blooms? Well, the blooms are as big as a saucer and 4 to 5 inches deep. Expect immaculate white petals, a wonderful OMG fragrance like none other. The plant blooms only once or twice a year. Yes, when a night-blooming cereus blooms, it is indeed a special event. Each plant can have several flowers blooming at once depending on its size. […]

Read More
bee

June 6, 2016

Maryland’s Neonicotinoid Law Goes Into Effect

Beginning January 1, 2018, Maryland will ban sales of products containing the neonicotinoid class of pesticides throughout the state of Maryland, save to licensed operators. The Pollinator Protection Act was allowed to pass into law when Governor Larry Hogan neither vetoes nor signed the bill at the end of May. The law that passed had a significant change from the bill that first passed both the state House and Senate. Those versions banned the sale of plants that had been treated with neonicotinoids. The language related to that ban, however, was struck out during the final reconciliation before a final vote. The ban focuses primarily on retail sales of neonicotinoids. The Act does allow certified applicators, farmers, and veterinarians to use neonicotinoids. However, language in the bill refers to a six-month neonicotinoid study being conducted by the EPA, instructing the Maryland Department of Agriculture to revisit its rules of allowable use of neonicotinoids once […]

Read More
Pollinator-friendly perennials are a big hit with eco-concious consumers

May 27, 2016

Which Pollinator Terms Appeal Most To Consumers?

A team from the University of Florida tested several promotional phrases, from the specific ("butterflies" and "bees") to more general.

Read More
IGC App For 2016 Shows

May 26, 2016

IGC Shows Release Free Apps To Help You Plan For Both T…

Free event planning apps for each show are now available for download in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Read More

May 23, 2016

Ian Baldwin Sees Several Garden Trends Developing This …

The garden industry consultant reads the mid-spring tea leaves and sees several trends emerging.

Read More

May 23, 2016

Manhattan’s Urban Garden Center Suffers Second Di…

Two years after a nearby gas explosion destroyed the store in Manhattan's Spanish Harlem, Urban Garden Center had a four-alarm fire that disrupted a popular train route, and the garden retailer is now dealing with an angry community.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]