Musings of a California Spring Trials Rookie: Second Day Brings Insights on the Value of Marketing

Musings of a California Spring Trials Rookie: Second Day Brings Insights on the Value of Marketing

Tyler Beasley and Allan Armitage

Tyler Beasley (left) with Dr. Allan Armitage (right)

I woke up this morning with a plant hangover and a sunburn on my neck. Yesterday’s dive into the deep end should have prepared me better for today, but at each stop I continued to be impressed. I should have already known, but there is more to a company than the genetics it has to offer. After all of the hard work to develop a product that out performs the others around it, there is even more work to do to make it a success.

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Plants are the Marketing That Backs Them Up

My observations during day two of California Spring Trials opened my eyes to the world of marketing. We are selling a package — not just the plant that geeks drool over. How many consumers really care about the taxonomy of plant? We are lucky if they can remember the common name. They care about the service of the product. With the proper packaging in the garden center, we are providing them with a product they can recognize and will come back to buy again. Let’s face it, you can discover genetics that would make you or I howl at the moon, but if there is not a marketing team behind it, you can expect it to stay behind the curtains.

Add to the effect an amazing display, and you provide a taste of what could become a reality. Aside from the ever declining hard-core gardening nuts out there, the highest percentage of consumers are not as ambitious when it comes to the garden work. But they still hold the eye of what looks good and what doesn’t. We have to provide them with the ingredients that fulfill their expectations. Show them way, and they will follow (perhaps on Instagram).

I have to applaud the efforts of several companies that seem to have nailed this idea. The Southern Living Plant Collection attracted my eye so much that I had to return to continue to find more treasures. Its branded green containers sit well within the display and are something simple that anyone can remember. And who hasn’t heard of the Endless Summer Hydrangea Series? If your neighbors have been living under a rock, they will now know that Bailey’s offers hydrangeas with a revised container that bears the common name everyone should recognize. Benary took hold of the social media trends and involved them in its petunia displays. Benary will provide seed packaging with QVC codes that provide cultural information for growers and make shelf life determination easier. I did not expect to see so much technology and “non-plant” entertainment today, and in fact, it was just as overwhelming as all the plants.

Thank you to Kemin for its support of the 2017 Dr. Allan Armitage California Spring Trials Scholarship.