Revisiting Collective Marketing

Our industry’s organizations have been talking about launching collective marketing campaigns for decades, but the stumbling block has always been figuring out how to raise millions of dollars to create national impressions through conventional advertising – television, print and radio. The popularity of interactive social media on the Internet has become a game changer in the marketing world. Financial barriers to entry are low. A hip and edgy small company can be more interactive than the most famous brands. It’s a level playing field.

The biggest investment would be paying for time and talent to cultivate online communities, one consumer at a time. The ideal marketing staff would be creative social media junkies who could find out who and where the influential bloggers and forums are to stimulate conversations and place stories inside and outside our industry. Yes, we want to continue to excite people who already love plants and flowers, but we also need to cultivate new people and future generations. We need to connect the dots in unexpected ways to match plants and flowers with their interests.

Facebook’s sweeping embrace by millions of people in all age groups has really gotten people excited, especially the sheer numbers in Baby Boomers and Generation Y. But I will continue to stick up for my generation, X. Sure, there aren’t as many of us and we’re really busy, burdened and financially strapped, but perhaps we need plants and flowers the most! We just don’t know it.

Most of this summer’s Seeley Conference at Cornell University in late June was focused on connecting with consumers in new ways. There also was a breakout workshop to brainstorm messaging that would be relevant to multiple generations. We can get started now if we can just agree on a message and get behind it. The message can be incorporated in all existing marketing efforts by supporters. An attainable pool of funds could be raised as seed money to get a grassroots campaign going through social media and public relations channels. Unlike traditional campaigns focused on numbers of impressions, this type would be very strategic and focused on building relationships and interactivity more so than impressions. It is also easier and more accurate to measure results from digital activities. It’s possible to know exactly who and how many people clicked on a story or responded. Metrics are measurable.

On the first day of the Seeley Conference, I will confess when some speakers presented social media as our marketing savior and were completely dazzled by Gen Y, I did sigh and roll my eyes. The World Wide Web is so vast. How are we going to target and engage consumers effectively and make a difference? Are we going to put up the next coolest video on You Tube that’s a viral, pass-along sensation? I was cynical. But then I did see some real examples that were encouraging and opened my mind to possibilities.

I was especially impressed with how far 1-800-Flowers has come in the digital world, even developing an application for iPhones featured in Apple’s ads. Now the company is trying to create the types of relationships florists used to have with regular customers in their stores but online. These customers have faces and personalities. So do the designers behind the arrangements. The “Spot A Mom” campaign encouraging consumers to praise all the mothers in their lives and buy multiple arrangements was a big hit.

Companies like Proven Winners are also ahead of the curve cultivating one-to-one relationships and inviting consumers in behind the scenes to help shape decisions.
The potential is definitely there. A grassroots campaign needs to be executed strategically and with passion. Just putting up a Facebook fan page and hoping people will come won’t deliver the results.
 

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories

May 30, 2016

Garden Communicators Conference In September Will Featu…

The 2016 GWA Annual Conference takes place Sept. 16-19 in Atlanta and also includes learning sessions covering horticulture, writing, and more.

Read More
Feature Image Cob 700 (NewLux)

May 29, 2016

Michigan State University Offering Summer Online Course…

The seven-unit course is aimed at greenhouse and ornamental plant growers who want to learn more about the fundamental concepts of how plants respond to light quality, quantity, and duration.

Read More
Sakata Birthday Cake Feature

May 28, 2016

10 Creative Marketing Ideas From 2016 California Spring…

Grower-retailers often look to breeders for ideas on how to increase plant sales with smart marketing plans. The California Spring Trials were filled with great concepts to reach customers.

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
Harvest Automation HV 100 Feature

May 27, 2016

Harvest Automation Robot Helps You Move Plants Without …

The Harvest Automation HV-100 robot units use lasers and sensors to handle some of the most labor-intensive tasks in the greenhouse.

Read More
National Garden Bureau California Vegetable Summer Trials

May 26, 2016

California Summer Vegetable Trials In August Will Cover…

The National Garden Bureau is once again organizing summer vegetables trials this August in California, giving attendees the opportunity to visit with several breeding companies.

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
SBI Rack Scanning feature

May 26, 2016

Take Your Data Management To The Next Level

New developments in software technology allow growers to customize inventory, tracking, and labor performance into systems unique to their greenhouse operations.

Read More
Eason 2017 Perennials Guide

May 25, 2016

Eason Horticultural Resources Releases New Perennials G…

The two guides are available in digital and print versions and offer information from several breeders.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

May 25, 2016

15 New Perennials For Bees, Butterflies, And Other Poll…

These 15 new perennials, available for retail in 2016 and 2017, will produce colorful flowers and foliage year after year, providing habitat and food for bees, butterflies, birds, moths, and other pollinators.

Read More
P.Allen Smith Cut Flowers

May 25, 2016

Sakata Seed America And P. Allen Smith Extend Partnersh…

Sakata is taking its partnership with plantsman P. Allen Smith a step further to create the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Cut Flowers Collection, a selection of premium cut flower seed hand-picked by Smith and bred exclusively by Sakata.

Read More
Triathlon BA container shot

May 24, 2016

OHP’s Triathlon Biofungicide Now Listed By The Organic …

Triathlon BA is a broad-spectrum preventative biofungicide that provides control of many foliar and soilborne diseases in ornamentals and herbs.

Read More
Costa Farms won International Grower of the Year. Representing the operation, (left to right) were Chuck Zala, Michael Vera, Menachem Ganon, Jose Costa, and Mike Rimland

May 24, 2016

AIPH Seeking Entries For Its International Grower of th…

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) is inviting ornamental growers from all around the world to enter the AIPH International Grower of the Year Awards (IGOTY) for 2017. Last year’s big winner was Florida-based Costa Farms.

Read More
Coleus Fancy Feathers Pink (Terra Nova Nurseries)

May 23, 2016

Take A Sneak Peek at Terra Nova Nurseries’ New Coleus F…

A brand-new collection of Terra Nova Nurseries coleus varieties called the Fancy Feathers Series is now available to growers for online orders. The series produces narrow, feather-like leaves and offers a mounded habit.

Read More
Gotham Greens Atrium Style Greenhouse Chicago

May 23, 2016

What’s Good For The Environment Is Good For Business [O…

Investing in technology to become more sustainable “always goes hand in hand,” says Abe VanWingerden, co-CEO of Metrolina Greenhouses. “If it is good for the environment, it normally is good for business over the long term.” That connection was abundantly clear in the responses we received to this year’s Top 100 Growers Survey. VanWingerden points to three investments Metrolina has made as good examples of how technology can reduce an operation’s carbon footprint and pay dividends financially. Its biomass system burns locally sourced waste wood — a renewable resource; its ozone water treatment system cleans irrigation water, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and improving plant quality and precision growing; and electrostatic sprayers reduce water and chemical use, and provide more targeted chemical applications. Other Top 100 Growers have found VanWingerden’s theory to be true, as well. Costa Farms’ investment in solar energy panels on three buildings at its […]

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
Aerial_view_of_the_Bayer_cross_high_res

May 23, 2016

Bayer Sells Consumer Garden Products Division To French…

The sale to SBM Développement comes just as Bayer AG makes a bid for Monsanto.

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