Filtered by category: Clear Filter

What's the Right Message?

What's the Right Message?

by Robert Hendrickson

[Danny Summers: I asked Robert Hendrickson, "What's the right message for most of our centers to be considering." Here's his response..."The same words they should always use...Gardening hasn't changed just because a bunch of governors tried to stop it. - Fun, relaxing, personally rewarding and a great family activity. Don't try to overcomplicate things. Once the “all clear” siren sounds the only difference should be come out swinging and keep swinging with a strong marketing plan and the right words that haven't changed." Robert then shared a couple sample radio ads he has recently worked on with clients as examples. Details follow.]

These two radio spots are built around a common theme... connecting Dr. Sacks (mentioned in an earlier GROUPtalk article) and his research on the emotional power of gardening... to local garden centers.

Read More

When It Comes To Tracking Sales…

When It Comes To Tracking Sales…
What You Did Last Year Really Doesn’t Matter

by Robert Hendrickson

My doctor said my memory problem was due to two simple facts…

1. I’m getting older, it just happens.
2. The second reason was… uh… I don’t remember what the second reason was.


Read More

Music and The Very Independent Garden Center World

Music and The Very Independent Garden Center World

by Robert Hendrickson

"It was easy for me to turn things over to the experts since none of the music I listen to would ever be used for creating a shopping environment at garden centers. Hendrix, Zappa, King Crimson and Miles have their place, but probably not among the petunias. But garden center owners asked me for help in deciding what music to play in their stores. My job has always been to help solve garden center problems. So I did.

Read More

A Few Words Could Change Everything

A Few Words Could Change Everything

by Robert Hendrickson

You wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t for Ursula. There wouldn’t be a GROUPtalk, The Garden Center Group or my decades adventure in the garden center industry if Ursula hadn’t hired me to work at H.E. Nursery on a spring day in 1974.

Read More

Let’s Play A Game

 Let’s Play A Game

by Robert Hendrickson

(The following is a transcribed version of the PowerPoint slides Robert presented at The Fall Event 2019 during his Cheekwood Challenge.) Following The Fall Event 2019 and Robert's Cheekwood Challenge, several Group Owners have shared their experience in working toward a more balanced approach to their marketing efforts. Be sure to see Group Clients Weigh-In at the bottom of this blog post for more. Joey Bokar - Kerby's Nursery, JD Boone - Dothan Nurseries, Cameron Rees - Skinner Garden Store, and Liz Lark-Riley - Rockledge Gardens.



Before The Fall Event 2019, Danny mentioned having an open mic session to address the peaks and valleys garden centers face. I told him I had an idea that might help explain why this happens.


Read More

Age is Just a Number

Age is Just a Number

by Robert Hendrickson

I got back from a trip to Farm and Home to purchase seed potatoes and onion sets when it hit me… I’m now one of those guys other people talk about when they say… “Don’t old-timers always plant potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day?” When did this happen? Why wasn’t I notified when passing from rock guy who listens to Hendrix with the lights out to some “old-timer potato planter” expected to wear bib overalls and listen to country music? That’ll never happen. ZZTopp is as country as I can handle.

Read More

The Super Bore Review

The Super Bore Review

by Robert Hendrickson

[Danny] If you have been around The Group very long, you know Robert Hendrickson is famous for sharing his critiques of each Superbowl's ads. While I remember some lengthy reviews in the past, this year's are probably the shortest I can remember. To view any of these, simply click on the photo image. Hang on for a quick ride...And here's.... Robert!

Read More

The Right Tools Can Make All The Difference

The Right Tools Can Make All The Difference

by Robert Hendrickson

Ask almost any garden center owner a question about the past and the typical response will be… “I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast!”

Read More

A Marketing Conversation

A Marketing Conversation

by Robert Hendrickson

There’s a reason why reality tv shows are so popular. People like standing in the background watching what takes place in other peoples’ lives. Well, here’s your chance. What follows is an email conversation between a garden center owner and Robert discussing what needs to be considered before making a marketing decision for next spring. Names have been changed but the process Robert knows will work remains.

Read More

Loyalty Program Or Just Less Profit

Loyalty Program Or Just Less Profit

by Robert Hendrickson

Something really backwards happened when the industry created so called “loyalty” programs. Instead of garden centers creating programs that would actually show gratitude for their loyal customers’ support, most created kick-back programs with rebates in an attempt to “reward” people already shopping with them. The behind closed doors intent was to create a process that would surely make shoppers loyal to the company by offering them financial “bribes”.

Read More

Well Isnt This a Twist in Everybodys Knickers!

Well Isn’t This a Twist in Everybody’s Knickers!

by Robert Hendrickson

While many in the garden center industry seem hellbent on rushing into a business model where they’re unfamiliar, unprepared and undercapitalized to actually create something worth the distraction, Amazon just announced they’re planning on opening 3000 brick and mortar AmazonGo stores to go along with their Whole Foods and bookstore locations. (See the announcement here)

I had just two bosses before venturing into consulting. Both were strong-willed, demanding owners who allowed me to do almost anything in order to grow sales and profits… as long as it worked. I helped the Maryland owner create one of the industry’s top garden centers at the time by constantly being reminded what was required to succeed. 

“Business is really quite simple,”he would say… over and over and over.



Read More

Well thats weird

Well that’s weird…

by Robert Hendrickson

or SUCCE$$FUL? Van Wilgen’s just recorded their biggest day ever, a $168,000 Saturday followed by a $150,000 Sunday. Other than being one of the coolest garden centers around, I wonder what kind of marketing is required to attract that many shoppers. Let’s see…

Read More

Building an Ad - Creating a Story

Building an Ad - Creating a Story

by Robert Hendrickson

One of many resources included in The Group's WebSystem is the fundamental principle Robert Hendrickson developed on how to create your messaging to your audience to build a lasting relationship. One that is not built around "PRICE" but around a connection. This is the most important time for all of our centers, the coming weeks. It is a great time to revisit these basic principles... [Danny Summers]


 

Read More

Same As It Ever Was-Sorta

Same As It Ever Was… Sorta.

by Robert Hendrickson

My last article for IGC magazine is scheduled to run next month. The article is supposed to be titled… “That’s All Folks”… informing the industry that my efforts trying to help have gone on long enough. Besides, ever since Danny and Karen purchased The Group, people have been telling me, “I heard you retired.” Lately my response has been, “I didn’t retire… I quit!” Retiring sounds like some old guy shuffling off into the fog. Quitting sounds like I’m doing what I want to do when I want to do it. You can read my farewell article HERE.

As far as the “industry” goes… I did quit. No more articles, presentations, tours or trade shows (except when shopping for plants for 3GFarm.)

Read More

Another Timely Topic

Another Timely Topic

by Robert Hendrickson

It was the first Fall Event Wendy and I have missed. Besides all the business value that takes place, seeing clients who have become friends is like a big family reunion. Not being in Burlington was a huge disappointment but necessary given family responsibilities.

One topic I was anxious to hear discussed in Vermont was the trifecta of Average Sale/Customer Count/Revenue. Ever since Steve's June 12 WDR commentary reporting how a dip in average sale accompanied by a continuing drop in customer count was a concern, I've looked forward to The Fall Event to discuss what could be done to address the issue.

Read More

A Hefty Dose of Reality

A Hefty Dose of Reality

by Robert Hendrickson

One of the coolest outcomes of my career is meeting some of the smartest people on the planet. While the list continues to grow as a result of knowing someone who knows someone who introduces me to the next big brain person I meet, David Wolfe remains the one person that impresses me most with his knowledge and insight, especially when it comes to marketing. David sent me what I consider to be one of the top three business books ever written, Ageless Marketing (it so happens David’s other book Firms of Endearment is also one of my top three.) After reading his two books my approach to marketing has remained forever unwavering.

Over the last several years David and I worked together several times, at The Group’s 2007 Fall Event then at other workshop sessions where I invited him to speak. David died of cancer this past February. His perspective and straight forward approach to marketing and consumer insight will be sorely missed.

Read More
2 Comments

Native Plant Disconnect

Native Plant Disconnect - let us hear from you!

by Robert Hendrickson

[a continued discussion from week of 6/19 on the GroupEs Listserve]

GroupE’s, Timely topic. The issue of natives/pollinators.

Read More

Successful Marketing Isn't As Difficult As It Seems

Successful Marketing Isn't As Difficult As It Seems

by Robert Hendrickson


Last time I shared a marketing conversation that took place between a garden center owner, their ad agency and myself. The agency had been following their typical playbook approach with little impact on the garden center's sales or customer count.

Here's an insider's tip on why agencies are so predictable. The plan they suggest clients follow isn't because the process works and actually has a chance to increase sales, it's because the process they live by is easy for the agency to manage. Getting every client to sign-on to the same media plan makes life easy for the agency and their staff. Easy to sell, easy to create, easy to scale, easy to bill. Easy for the agency. A waste of time and money for the retailer.

Read More

Let The Battle Begin

Let The Battle Begin


by Robert Hendrickson

I knew exactly what to expect. In fact I could have scripted the entire meeting word for word before we started. I've been asked numerous times by garden center owners to play good cop/bad cop with them and their ad agency. No surprise which cop I play. Even after garden center owners finally realize they've been wasting money, losing momentum and being misled by their ad agency representatives, they still want someone else to do the dirty work. Telling an agency they're no longer needed isn't that difficult. I've done it dozens of times. You send a letter to the CEO and simply say their services are no longer required. But for some reason these same garden center owners feel obligated to schedule a face to face meeting with the agency to share the bad news.

Big mistake.

Read More
1 Comments

The Question Remains... Why?

"The Question Remains... Why?"

by Robert Hendrickson

My previous article outlined the results of a survey asking people who garden to provide me with their reasons why they garden. Over 2500 replies were then consolidated into thirty key categories based on words people used in the surveys. The purpose was to identify customer-centric values that would become the basis of a marketing campaign.

Retail Rules of the Road:

"It doesn't matter what it is, what it does or how much it costs until you explain why it should matter to the customer."

Read More