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…

Most of the yearly ad budget is spent running 60 second commercials on one radio station. That’s weird because everyone in “the industry” knows no one listens to old-fashioned radio anymore. And with so many stations to choose from, deciding which station to use would be nearly impossible. But running the bulk of the budget on just one station… that sounds ridiculous. What about all the people who never listen to that station?

Then there’s TV. Ads running through the week on just one station during morning news? And on cable all the ads on just HGTV and The Food Network? What about all the people who never watch those shows? Besides, everyone in “the industry” knows no one watches regular old TV anymore.

It couldn’t have been postcards sent to just a few of the loyalty club members since everyone in “the industry” knows no one reads junk mail. Talk about outdated marketing.

And how do you decide which loyalty club people should receive the mailing? What about all those other people in the club?And enewsletters? Why everyone in “the industry” knows no one reads enews now that people (especially those important next gen types) have moved on to more fashionable social media options.

And surely billboards would never help. Everyone in “the industry” knows billboards are so old-fashioned, why spend money on them when social media is free?

But no newspaper ads? And no online sales focus? Now that’s really weird. Looks like those Van Wilgen folks have been making marketing decisions that actually work instead of blindly following “the industry” recommendations.

I know… I know… now you’re saying, “Well if I had the marketing budget this garden center had I’d be really busy, too.” So how about a couple examples of not following “the industry” suggestions two smaller garden centers chose to take.

Like Kerby’s in Florida who decided to spend most their marketing budget this year on just one radio station. Joey says… “I feel like radio is starting to work. It’s 90 degrees out and we’re keeping steady with around $5000 in sales per day. And last week was our highest weekly transaction count of the year.”

And Gail at Four Seasons Greenhouse in Colorado who’s marketing plan is a focused 24 weeks of radio along with 8 postcards and email most weeks said… “Even during another severe drought season we’re holding steady following our best year ever last year. Our postcard covers feature photos of our staff and families which everyone seems to enjoy. And instead of using dozens of small local newspapers to cover our market area, I rely on one radio station.  I believe our marketing message should be simple, to the point and personal.”

So if you’re like many people when it comes to deciding which marketing options to choose, remember… when it comes to marketing, “the industry” continues to be infatuated with anything new, shiny, digital or online. But there’s a big difference between what should work based on opinion and dreamy expectations compared to what actually works using what many consider to be old-fashioned marketing.

I guess it boils down to… you can be trendy… or you can be successful.

Your choice.


Got questions or need more information about your marketing programs? 
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Robert Hendrickson
Cell: 443-255-8282
Robert Hendrickson is founder and a service provider for The Garden Center Group and our "guru" for how to best tell your story.
REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Robert Hendrickson, Steve Bailey, Sid Raisch and Jean Seawright, are included in your retainer!
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