Monthly Archive for November, 2013

Why didn’t anyone tell me to protect my Rhododendrons?

Anyone living in the in North America this time of year knows that Winter is knocking on the door. We have already had several light snow falls here in Southern, Ontario. There is probably only a couple more weeks left before the ground is too frozen to work. The time to prepare your garden for winter is now.

Closing my garden involves covering my Rhododendrons and other broad leafed evergreens in burlap to protect them from the wind. I have also started applying an anti-transpirant spray called Wilt-Pruf. These are consumables I need to buy every year, yet none of the garden centers I deal with has contacted me to tell me they stock these products. Sure, some of the retailers I deal with probably highlighted these seasonal products in one of their flyers or email newsletters, they may even have added content to their blog, and shared it across social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Regardless, I did not get the message, in large part because it was not tailored to me, and my situation.

Example of an un-tailored message

Protect your outdoor plants. Cover them with burlap. Available in 5m, 10m and 30m rolls. Starting at $10 and up.

Example of a tailored message

Matt. Did you know that you should protect your Rhododendrons during the winter, especially the Rhododendron “Vulcan’s Flame” you purchased from us last year. Covering all 10 of your Rhododendrons will require 2 – 30m rolls of Burlap, and 4 packages of medium garden stakes. Total cost $60. You can find installation instructions on our website.

Lessons from the Automotive Industry

Car dealerships do an excellent job tailoring their after sales marketing communications to the specific profile of each customer. Every service reminder I receive from my Mazda dealer mentions the car I own, and the reason I should schedule the particular service being marketed. It usually also indicates the last time I have been in for service.

I believe that there is ample opportunity for the garden industry to adopt tailored marketing programs, and that the benefits of doing so are real, and measurable.  To be successful, retailers need an accurate view of the needs of their customers.  By making it easy for gardeners to catalog the plants in their garden, and share that information with friends and retailers, our hope is that Plantola can be part of the solution.