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.

The first one is a current-times example without resorting to the copycat "cue the soft violin music, no payments for six months, 84 month financing" heard in every recent car commercial. (click on image to hear ad)

The owner is the 'Tom Bodett' voice of the company... just a friendly guy with a smile in his voice ready to welcome you to his world.

The second garden center wanted a typical New England customer couple with a smiling, savvy garden loving wife and a not quite as savvy but loves her just the same husband. (click on image to hear ad)

This spot is ready to run when the garden center says go.

Same message theme of gardening is good for you... same positive gardening statement from an authority figure... nice people... different approach.

As a 30 year consultant which I define as "a person who tries to help other people do better", I've always believed the worst thing I could do was try and convince people that no one had better advice on any topic than me. It’s why The Group was started with professionals like Jean Seawright and Robert Hayter, followed by additional Service Providers and now Danny and Karen. Professionals with in-depth knowledge in their chosen fields who Group centers have learned to count on for advice. I knew my limitations. I chose to hang out with the smartest people I could find. A lot of amazing information has been passed along over the years. When it comes to marketing, people like Roy Williams, David Wolfe, Michelle Miller and Doug Hall come to mind.

For those of you who want to write-off the messaging contained in the examples because it’s being delivered in such an "old-fashioned medium like radio... “How out of date!"... here's what I learned from Doug Hall from his book “Jump Start Your Marketing Brain” and several trips to his Eureka!Ranch academy. Ideas I have been using to grow companies ever since...

"If you want to grow your business, finding new customers is 2.8 times more important than building customer loyalty. The number of customers is three times more important than the amount purchased per customer. If resources are limited, the first priority should be increasing the total number of customers." (Check your own and The Group's WDR and P&L Study numbers to see how things have been going the last few years when it comes to customer count, average sale and total sales results. Steve and Tim are way smarter than me with this stuff.)

Research from the smartest minds in marketing has found that a proper radio campaign combined with proper messaging is still the most message-effective and cost-effective means of reaching the largest number of potential shoppers on a regular basis. One of my favorite clients, Mexico Escape regular and good friend is a guy named Wally, who operated one of the country’s best garden centers in the Seattle area. Wally was never shy telling me what he really thought. "Hendrickson, the only smart thing you ever said was, there ain't no margin 'till the stuff gets sold." Wally liked to sell stuff. He later sold his garden center.

Garden centers need people to shop. People need garden centers now more than ever. When life changes for the better after C19, every company selling every thing will create a marketing stampede for attention.  Now ask yourself two questions...

1. What message will I be communicating to make sure my company is worth people's attention?
2. How will the largest number of people possible hear that message?

I've never approached marketing decisions from an either-or position... either new customers or current ones. It's always been a combination strategy. Communicate… then really take care... of people who are already your customers. Email, Facebook and an ever-increasing choice of social media options has taken current customer connection to new heights. Then do all you can to find new customers to grow your tribe.

Don't do it because I said it was a good idea. Remember... I ain't that smart. Do it because you know it's the right thing to do. (And because some really smart people tend to agree.)


Got questions about the Right Message or need more information about your marketing programs?

Give Robert a call or email!
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, and John Kennedy are included in your retainer!

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