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Using Consumer Profiles for Successful Events By Jennifer Noble

Events can help you get the word out about your garden center, bring in new customers, and give you a financial lift during slower times. When planning an event think about who the customer is that you want to bring into your business. Are you looking for an event that brings in a new customer? Are you looking to appreciate

your best customers? Remember that customers have distinct buying motivations. Those buying motivations will translate into the type of events they are willing to attend. Regardless of your target audience the best place to start is with a consumer profile. To create a consumer profile, look at your customers, their interests, their purchasing motivation, how they will find you, how to get them in the door, and how to keep them.

…knowing the consumer profile for your target audience will give you the best foundation for a successful event. more on page 10…

What’s Inside: Using Consumer Profiles for Successful Events

1

Social Media Strategies

2

Assessing Woody Ornamentals for Urban Bee Conservation

4

Algae: Reducing the Nuisance

6

Member Spotlight: Biobest8

Connect: An AmericanHort Member Benefit


Business Solutions Organized for Your Business Interests The AmericanHort Knowledge Center is your go-to-resource for information you and your employees need. Visit AmericanHort.org/Connect for more business-building solutions.

Because of what you are selling, plants and home enhancements, taking great pictures is simple. Here are the top kinds of posts that are ranking well on these visual sites: • Unboxing of new products

It is important to know who your ultimate customer will be. As an example, for a landscaper, this could be a female homeowner or a male home builder. Those are two completely different customers and how you use the social sites to reach them will vary greatly.

• Plant photos • Product photos

SEGMENT KEY

• Product demonstrations • “How to” guides • Videos posted directly to Facebook and Instagram

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Social Media Strategies By Tara Jacobsen

Social media can be a powerful tool in promoting your business; however there is no one size fits all solution. This is especially true in the horticulture industry where there are different types of businesses with different target audiences (consumers, businesses, etc.). Each of these types will have a very different approach to social media including what to share, how to connect, and why they are using social at all. Here are a few tips for success with social media.

Retail Business Models You have it the easiest as the social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest love the images that you have to share. You should be trying to attract local Friends and Followers who can easily travel to your location to purchase from you. One way to target these types of buyers is to use local hashtags in your posts on Instagram and Facebook. A hashtag is simply adding a pound sign to the front of a word. Some good ones would be written like this: #denvergardening #phoenixplants #newyorkgardens.

Another really good opportunity for retail spaces is to invite experts who can teach a class onsite, bringing their own following and providing new customers. Look for local “celebrities” in their industry who already have a large following on the social sites. Please do not think that the only way to grow a following is by offering coupons or discounts. Providing exclusive items, limited-run products, insider-only invitations, and behind-the-scenes access is often enough to get people interested in “following” or “liking” your business. Getting engagement on “lifestyle posts” is a natural fit in the retail space. Make sure you are checking your accounts at least daily to answer any questions that your potential customers may have post or direct messaged you. Remember that questions indicate an interest and should be welcomed.

Service Providers For those of you in service-based industries, you also have the ability to show your work very graphically. Here are a few extremely popular posts that you can share: • Before and after • Expert how tos

Social media can be a little tricky for growers and wholesalers. While there is a value to promoting the industry as a whole or trying to generate interest in a particular product or brand, that is a lot more challenging than simply focusing on a Business-toConsumer model. What is a great practice for larger companies is to use their social media sites to provide things for their customers (the nurseries, retail and garden centers) to share. You can provide guides, photos, or even interviews with industry experts that individual retail centers would never have access to.

• Beautifully landscaped yards or extravagantly decorated interior spaces

Large companies also have the ability to generate research and statistics that are of great value to the industry. Pulling some specific metrics to include in an infographic or sharing one part of the data with a relevant picture will allow for broader exposure of the information.

Remember, throughout your posts you should be telling a story about the “perfect life.” Your potential clients are following you so that they can possibly get the perfect yard, home, or office.

This is not about trying to force a square peg into a round social media hole; instead it is about providing resources that your customers can use to market their businesses, provided by your brand.

• Pictures of happy clients • Feel good stories about your clients or work

For many of the social sites, your target audience is going to be women. With this in mind, you should also focus on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. That said, one installer recently shared that her primary point of contact at office buildings is the head of Accounting. For this gal, LinkedIn might be a much better fit to try and grow relationships with her target customer.

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Business to Business

Tara Jacobsen, Marketing Artfully tara@marketingartfully.com (727) 415-9165 MarketingArtfully.com Tara is a sought after marketing presenter known for her “tell it like it is style” and giving 100 miles-an-hour presentations that will keep you engaged and taking notes the entire time. Her site, Marketing Artfully, is chock full of great, practical marketing information that will help you grow your customer base and increase sales.

2015:3 | 3


Assessing Woody Ornamentals for Urban Bee Conservation

Table 1. Partial list of bee assemblages and attractiveness on >55 species of flowering woody ornamental shrubs and trees.

By Bernadette Mach & Dr. Daniel A. Potter

Nature of the Work Public awareness of the threat of habitat loss to urban bee populations has increased interest in planting “bee-friendly” landscape plants. Urban landscapes can provide critical resources to bee populations, especially when managed and designed properly. Various publications and websites list plant species that have been anecdotally claimed as bee-attractive, but those lists are rarely backed by research. Surveying bee assemblages and beeattractiveness on flowering ornamentals can help the public make informed decisions by providing data-supported plant recommendations. For this study, we chose to focus on flowering woody shrubs and trees because of the long-term benefits such plants can provide to pollinators in the urban landscape. We also decided to include both native and nonnative plants so that we could compare their bee assemblages and bee-attractiveness. Our objectives for this project were to survey pollinator assemblages of > 55 species of flowering woody ornamental plants suitable for urban landscape use, to identify plants where bees may be at risk from insecticide exposures, and to spur demand for horticulturally desirable woody plants that are both bee-friendly and relatively pest-free. Plant species were selected based on recommendations from land managers and horticulturalists, suitability for planting within Kentucky, visibility and frequency within the urban landscape, observed bee activity, and level of pests and diseases associated with each species. All sample sites were located within the urban landscape and were separated by at least 1 kilometer. Sample sites included street-side plantings, cemeteries, and urban arboreta within the cities of Lexington KY and Cincinnati OH. In particular, many sites were located within the Lexington National Cemetery, the University of Kentucky’s Arboretum, Boone County Arboretum, and Spring Grove Cemetery.

plant bloom periods were recorded, as well as flower type and color. After collection, bee samples were washed and fluffed using our homemade bee dryer, and this allowed us to better preserve and display each individual bee’s hair patterns and color so that the bees, especially bumblebees, were easier and clearer to identify. Samples were then pinned and identified to genus, and will be identified to species wherever possible. Each plant’s relative attractiveness was rated based on two 30-second “snapshot” counts taken immediately before collecting each 50-bee sample. Snapshot counts were concentrated in the areas of the plant or planting with the highest floral density. To date, we’ve sampled about 200 sites from 50 different plant species for a grand total of approximately 9,000 bees.

Results and Discussion Refer to Table 1 Results so far indicate that different flowering ornamentals attract unique bee assemblages. Some species (e.g. flowering crabapple, blue/china holly, eastern redbud, and chaste-tree) attract diverse assemblages of bees whereas others (e.g. linden, and mockorange) attract fewer, sometimes specialist species. All of our Mockorange samples were dominated by a single species, Chelostoma philadelphii, which is mockorange specialist. Different woody ornamentals attract unique bee assemblages

Some plant species (e.g. Winged Sumac, Bee Bee Tree, and Seven Sons Flower) are highly beeattractive, whereas others (e.g. Japanese Tree Lilac) attract fewer bees but more non-bee pollinators, including Syrphid flies and Cantharid beetles. Plants such as azaleas and flowering dogwood failed to attract many bees. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these plants don’t support bees, because we collected several 50-bee samples from flowering dogwood sites despite its low snapshot counts. In addition, some plants showed high site-to-site variation in their bee assemblages, such as with Devil’s walking stick. One sample was dominated by European honeybees (Site 1), and another site was exclusively sweat bees within the genus Lasioglossum (Site 2). This indicates that there are other factors besides appearance, such as nectar and pollen availability or proximity to appropriate nesting sites that may be at play. Bee assemblages of some plants show high site-to-site variation

Species diversity & richness vary by plant species

We collected a representative sample of 50 bees from the reachable portions of each plant for each of five sites per plant species during peak bloom and non-inclement weather. The majority of our samples were collected using aerial insect nets. In addition, 4 | AmericanHort.org

Some of the species sampled, such as St. John’s Wort (Hypericum frondosum), Bee Bee Tree (Tetradium danielii), and Seven Sons Flower (Heptacodium miconioides) were very bee-attractive, but were also relatively rare within the urban landscape. Seven Sons Flower blooms very late in

the growing season, and it has the potential to provide resources to bees at a time where resources can be very scarce.

Underutilized Bee-attractive Plants Our data confirm that flower form definitely plays a role when it comes to a plant’s bee-attractiveness. Open flowers with easily accessible nectar and pollen, such as Climbing prairie rose and PeeGee hydrangea, tend to be more attractive and provide more resources to bees than flowers with inaccessible nectar and pollen, like the Hybrid tea rose and smooth hydrangea.

Significance to the Industry Our study will inform the choice of flowering woody plants for urban landscapes so that we can help sustain urban bee populations throughout the growing season. We will also bring attention to underutilized, bee-attractive plants that can provide alternatives to overplanted, pest-prone species such as boxwoods, azaleas, and hybrid tea roses. By providing data-based plant recommendations, encouraging planting of diverse flowering ornamentals, and making it easy to select plants that will provide season-long resources, we will help create a more bee-friendly urban landscape.

Bernadette Mach & Dr. Daniel A. Potter Department of Entomology University of Kentucky

2015:3 | 5


Algae: Reducing the Nuisance By Jeff Kline

Propagation areas provide a perfect scenario for algae to thrive. Sunlight, warmth, nutrients, and moisture are the keys to an algae kingdom. Algae that thrive in a greenhouse are typically a large and diverse group of single cell organisms that reproduce rapidly. Algae can also spread easily throughout a greenhouse because of their ability to reproduce asexually (spores). Besides causing its own problems algae can also be a precursor to more significant issues not only in propagation but also later on in the growing on/finishing stage.

So, what can you do to reduce the algae nuisance? Proper between crop disinfection of your propagation area is an essential practice for reducing algae pressure during production. Utilizing a high level disinfectant that not only kills apparent algae but also kills the spores is an important choice in reducing regrowth during production. Application technique of the disinfectant will also minimize risk of regrowth. It is important to treat all potential inoculation points such as floors, walls, ceilings, walkways, gutter/drain areas, irrigation lines/ nozzles, fertilizer tanks, under benches, cooling pads, etcetera as the potential harbingers of algae. In other words, be very thorough in your approach to between crop disinfection. Another opportunity for increased results is to utilize foaming equipment to increase contact time on vertical surfaces like greenhouse walls. 6 | AmericanHort.org

Company Memberships Once you have completely disinfected your propagation area it is time to think about how to continue this process throughout production. If you can grow plants you can grow algae. If algae growth on substrate is a continuous problem in your propagation area then there are a few environmental options to help minimize this particular nuisance. Algae thrives in wet areas so adjusting mist schedules and increasing air flow are two changes that can be made to slow down algae growth. The goal with adjusting mist schedules will be to reduce the duration and density of wetness on propagation substrate. Increasing air flow will also help reduce wet areas. Another possible option is to explore using a type of fertilizer that minimizes the amount of free nutrients available to algae on substrate. Algae are resilient in their approach, so sometimes environmental options aren’t enough. It is then that we can turn to the benefits of chemical control. Since plants are present during propagation it is important to utilize a chemical control method that is non-harmful to your crop. Make sure to pay attention to labels and application instructions. This will help you avoid potential problems when plants are present. Using an EPA approved algaecide with little to no REI will provide proven results and minimize time loss due to application. A major cause of algae spread and a potential health hazard is when algae forms on walkways and under benches. Although the algae are below the growing area they can still spread easily throughout your propagation area because of sporulation. In this scenario a granular algaecide can be applied easily and activated with minimal water to kill algae on contact. Some algaecides will also provide an alkaline residue on concrete which helps extend periods of time before re-growth by creating an unwelcoming pH environment. Foaming of liquid algaecides can also be a suitable application during production. Using foam will help be more direct with algaecide spray reducing risk of overspray to crop. A foaming liquid application can become an important weapon if algae are building up on vertical surfaces near plants. Algae grows in layers on substrate and can produce a tough to remove “crust” layer. Please do not let your algae problem get to this point. At this point it becomes difficult to chemically control the problem without an adverse effect on crops. The best way to chemically reduce the algae nuisance on substrate is to be proactive and use a preventive measure that

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more on page back cover… 2015:12 2015:3 | 7 1


What are some of Biobest’s biggest challenges, and what are your strategies to achieve success?

Member Spotlight:

Biobest McFarland, California Harman Gilbert, Commercial Manager, Biobest USA

What are Biobest’s goals and visions for the future?

Tell us a little bit about Biobest’s history and background. Biobest is a leading global authority in pollination and biological pest control for protected crops. We operate in over 50 countries and support growers through direct sales and sales through distribution. Biobest was founded in 1986 by Dr. Roland De Jonghe in Belgium, and Biobest Canada was founded in 1985 in Leamington, Ontario. The Canadian branch was specifically meant to support the vegetable greenhouse industry. Then in 2002, Biobest Canada expanded to provide pollination and biological pest control throughout both Canada and the United States. We were the first company to ever supply commercial bumblebees, and this remains a core focus. Today, we provide bumblebees for pollination and biological controls throughout the United States. We offer more bumblebee species to deal with pollination needs in various parts of the world than any other. Natural pollination also goes hand-in-hand with biological control of pests and diseases, so we have six Biological Crop Protection Specialists doing direct support for our customers and supporting our distribution partners.

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We’re very growth-oriented, so we will continue to introduce products and innovative concepts to areas of agriculture and horticulture that don’t commonly use biocontrol products and bumblebees for pollination. We’re constantly searching for new applications and developments that improve the growth, health, and yield of our customers’ plants—whether that’s finding new predatory mites, insects, or bugs or by identifying methods of increasing predator populations through the use of supplemental foods like Nutrimite. Nutrimite specifically is a great example of a supplemental product that increases biological control effectiveness by increasing the population of Amblyseius swirskii, a predatory mite.

What sets Biobest apart? Biobest prides itself on hiring great specialists with notable experience in either (and both) entomology and horticulture. This allows specialists to interact with clients and give excellent solutions for pest challenges. While our specialists are trained to be technically knowledgeable about pests, their predators, and parasites, they also get to really know a client’s specific crops and pesticide regimen. The notable part is that our specialists strive to work with our grower partners to develop sustainable and economical biological solutions that offer growers greater profitability based on their specific needs and challenges.

This is a really tough question. For decades, end consumers of plants, fruits, and vegetables have come to expect perfect, flawless specimens of those plants, fruits, and vegetables. But this is not really what occurs in nature, and this expectation has caused growers to go to great trouble and expense to produce perfection. So for Biobest, the challenge then is finding a way to help growers balance a desire to produce healthy plants using biological controls and to still provide a plant that the consumer continues to expect. This is, I think, the greatest of our challenges. Our strategy is to work with the grower to build a pest control system that uses biological controls and may still use conventional pest controls. But the key is to use chemical solutions that minimally impact the biological controls. It’s a balancing act, but one that we’re on a mission to perfect.

What are trends that Biobest is seeing in the industry? We’re seeing great interest in microbial products— fungal and bacterial products that offer disease suppression and/or control and that also frequently provide plant health advantages, as well. We continue to search for partners who are developing these products and then to introduce them to our markets. Biobest is also seeing more interest from specialty horticulture niches—especially berry growers—for biological pest controls. Of course in the ornamental industry, more and more growers are beginning to investigate the use of biological controls, as well. It takes time to transition from conventional pest control, but once growers find that balance between biological controls and chemical controls, they begin realizing that IPM is not a four-letter word and really isn’t difficult. It is just a different management effort with the same— if not better—results.

What have some of your greatest successes been in the last few years? In the past few years we have introduced feeding supplements like Nutrimite for A. swirskii and Nutrimac and Nutricard for Orius. These food supplements allow a grower to introduce and increase the population of these biological pest controls before the pest population becomes evident or excessive. We also introduced the mini sachet on a stake—a small teabag-like sachet that contains the predatory mite A. cucumeris. This is great for applying the biologicals on propagation flats, hanging baskets, and other high-value plants that are prone to thrips. Most recently, we’ve introduced Asperello T34, which is naturally occurring Trichoderma asperellum. Asperello serves as a grower’s defense against water-borne root diseases like Fusarium, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Phytophthora. Asperello also has the potential to enhance plant health by the development of stronger and healthier root systems. We’re still working on getting this registered in all 50 states and have new registrations rolling in each month.

How does being an AmericanHort member benefit Biobest? Biobest appreciates all the efforts that AmericanHort takes to support the entire horticulture industry. It is so valuable to have a strong voice speaking for the growers and suppliers in Washington, DC and the states. But AmericanHort has also allowed us to present ourselves to the industry through great events like Cultivate, the Plug & Cutting Conference, and the GrowPro series. These are great opportunities for us to learn and connect with people in our industry.

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Using Consumer Profiles for Successful Events…continued from page 1

Event Inspiration

For example, if your consumer is a 30-something mom she may look something like Savvy Susan.

If you are looking to reach other types of consumers consider these event ideas from our Retail Community Connectors:

Savvy Susan About: The internet has opened up whole new worlds for this busy mom—blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, and how-to videos. She gets a thrill from inspiring new activities to do with her kids and loves sharing her latest cooking and decorating endeavors with all of her followers. She wants convenience blended with novelty and things that benefit her family and make her feel like a cool wife and mom. She’s looking for cheap but chic, efficiency, and a pleasant purchasing experience. She wants to do it all—the cooking, the gardening, the playing with the kids— but worries that it might just be too much work and too much time that she doesn’t have. Purchasing Motivation: Efficient, all-in-one retail experience Family-friendly environment Project ideas Cute and chic hardgoods How to Get Susan in the Door:  Project hotspot – materials, methods, and benefits all right there  An area for the kids to play Organic options

How Susan Will Find You: B  log Instagram/Pinterest C  lasses & kids’ activities C  ommunity events calendar C  ross-advertising at the library Involvement with the school and little league W  ebsite

Partner with Local Businesses for Administrative Professionals Day Garden to Table Feature a local chef demonstrating recipes made from what your customers can grow in their garden. Surround the attendees with lush plants that they can grow for food whether that be herbs, tomatoes, green beans—the skies the limit!

This is a great twist on a make and take event. Offer an afternoon planter class for their administrative staff. If their staff is larger you can divide them into smaller groups. This is also great for corporate team building events and other forms of employee recognition! Target Audience: Reach busy professionals who may not be visiting your store on a regular basis.

Target Audience: The customer who values eating local and organic.

How to Keep Susan: O  ffer one-stop-shop efficiency K  id friendly C  ute/chic/cheap hardgoods O  rganic options G  ood return policy

Ladies Night

Planning around the Savvy Susan consumer profile, consider an event such as:

Fairy / Gnome Party Gear this event to children ages 3 to 8. Give them the full fairy experience by having them glitter a primula (fairy dust), give each child a fairy name (some type of plant) and provide a demo on building a fairy garden. Encourage them to dress up in their favorite fairy attire, and serve a fairy snack and tea. Make it extra special by having a fairy godmother in full fairy garb on hand! Great for a Saturday event or take bookings for birthday parties.

”Grow Your Own Beer Night” Bring in a local craft brewer to talk about the different ways to use hops in home brewing/micro brewing. Include a talk on different varieties of hops and their respective uses. Target Audience: This is a great event to engage a younger audience who is excited about home brewing/micro brewing. Partner with your local brewer on marketing as well—this is a great way to bring in new customers.

Choose a focus such as cooking or fashion. Showcase plants that connect to your focus and don’t be afraid to partner with other local businesses such as clothing boutiques, wineries or local restaurants. Include a guest speaker or offer fun entertainment such as a local band or a fashion show. Target Audience: Your retired customers as well as busy moms looking for some girl time will love this night out! Regardless of which event you hold, knowing the consumer profile for your target audience will give you the best foundation for a successful event! For more information on consumer profiles visit AmericanHort.org/SHIFT.

Jennifer Noble AmericanHort JenN@AmericanHort.org (614) 884-1140

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© 2016 AmericanHort. All rights reserved. This material may contain confidential information and it is for the sole use of AmericanHort members. The information contained herein is for general guidance and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It cannot be distributed, reprinted, retransmitted, or otherwise made public without prior written permission by AmericanHort. Please contact the editor at (614) 487-1117 for permission with acknowledgment.

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Algae can be a maddening problem during propagation so understanding how they grow and spread will help you develop a comprehensive approach. Reduce the nuisance by targeting algae early allowing yourself a slightly more peaceful propagation season.

can be direct injected continuously over the crop. You will be much happier with a preventive approach because it will reduce algae buildup on substrate as well as keep the irrigation system clean which in turn helps with reducing algae proliferation.

Algae: Reducing the Nuisance…continued from page 6

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