Horticultural journalist Leslie Halleck tapped ArizonaEast’s marketing manager Brie Genovese for her input on staying ahead of style trends, mastering social media and teaming up with customers to maximize results in the August issue of Greenhouse Management magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Rethink your relationship with existing and potential clients to expand your customer base.
July 27, 2016
Attracting new customers, and boosting relations with the ones you already have, are two of the most important marketing endeavors for growers in today’s marketplace. But I didn’t get a lot of feedback from growers when I started scouting around for comments on how all of you are accomplishing these important tasks. I expected to get a number of comments related to how growers were changing and improving their own in-house, direct-to-consumer marketing strategies; co-marketing efforts with customer; or feedback related to updated online ordering systems. But I got the impression that perhaps customer recruiting and retention remain as challenges without easy solutions.
While some wholesale growers are expanding their direct-to-consumer marketing and education, and improving technology to better promote their products and support their retailers, it appears most growers are primarily focused on new product development as their solution to drive new and better business. New product development does, however, require a keen focus on market trends and pinpointing where the consumer’s mind is. It’s not just about what breeders or growers think are “cool”; it’s about understanding how and why plants fit into our customer’s lives.
You may recall seeing wholesale grower ArizonaEast featured in a previous Greenhouse Management article, “A case for Instagram” (bit.ly/29OCdhh). Paying close attention to how the end-consumer sees and uses plants is a strong focus of ArizonaEast’s new product development strategy. “One of the biggest trends I’ve noticed when it comes to our customer base is the shift in consumer mentality regarding plants,” says Brianna Genovese, ArizonaEast’s marketing manager. “Potted plants and foliage — specifically succulents — are back in a big way,” she says. “And customers don’t want to see the same thing their mother or grandmother had.” According to Genovese, customers want to walk into a store and buy something that looks exactly like what they have saved on their Pinterest boards. That means they are taking their plant purchasing cues from interior and landscape designers. Younger consumers have been trained to see plants as décor, both indoors and out, and they expect the presentation of plants in a retail setting to reflect that expectation.
Given growing expectations about aesthetics, a focus on style goes a long way. ArizonaEast used to sell their plants grown in traditional terracotta pots. But in order to make their product stand out and appeal more strongly to both style-savvy and younger consumers, they’ve upgraded to custom planters made of various modern materials with interesting shapes and colors. “By designing our own custom planters in finishes like trendy metallics, chic geometric shapes, rustic reclaimed wood and edgy concrete, we’re giving consumers a grab ‘n grow option that blends well with their existing home décor,” says Genovese.
Continue reading on Greenhouse Management’s website.
Originally published in the August 2016 issue of Greenhouse Management magazine.