With all the talk about how to use social media one trend has emerged that has the potential to change the garden center trade more than any other. It's not the use of social media by the garden center as a tactic in their marketing efforts. It's the use of social media as a business to business tool.
This instant communication between garden centers has the potential to completely disrupt the way things are currently done. Most recently The Dig, Drop, and Done campaign was "dropped" on us by the the Royal Trade Association for Nursery Stock and Flower Bulbs headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This 1.9 million dollar effort was designed by a PR Media company to promote the use of bulbs in the garden. In the past it would have rolled out with great fanfare and never received any critical feedback from garden centers or nurseries. This time it was rolled out, and immediately critiqued by the trade.
This posses great problems for businesses that have in the past played the role of "information gate keepers". What happens when the gates have been thrown open? Suddenly ideas that in the past would have been rubber stamped "approved" are put under a critical microscope. Money that once would have been thrown at advertising campaigns is now questioned. Companies that operated in less than desirable ways are now exposed for all to see. Treat one customer poorly and all your other customers find out. The reveres is true. Treat your customers great and the next thing you know, others want your services.
This is exciting, as it has the potential to create marketing campaigns that actually work, since they have been designed by the very people they will most affect. Is that wholesale company treating you differently than it's other customers? Now you can find out from your fellow nursery people. What do you think of selling plants online? Ask, and next thing you know your hearing from people who have been selling plants online and know the ins and outs. Is that gross margin on Christmas trees inline with the rest of the trade? QR codes really that big a deal? "We're all bombarded with being 'green' and 'sustainable'. How are you responding in your business practices? What education do you offer your customers/staff/suppliers?" Within two days 25 responses from fellow business people.
Get on the one trend that has the most potential to really change your business. It's the use of social media between like minded businesses. It's also a great training ground for your forays into customer based social media. The only place for this type of interaction is here. It's on Facebook, and it is The Independent Garden Center and Nurseries (IGCN) page. You need to be an owner or employee of a Independent Garden Center or Nursery. Ask to join and usually within a couple of days your in. IGCN Group.