Lakeview Nurseries Finds Out What Matters To Its Customers
It takes a series of one-to-one talks with customers to reach the heart of the marketing message that will matter.
June 25, 2012
Learning exactly what motivates customers can help a retailer shape a marketing campaign message. The fact that they all garden is not enough information, says Susan Hogan, an Emory University marketing professor.
Take vegetarians, she says. They all abstain from eating meat. But the reason why they do so can vary widely. For some, it’s a love for animals. Others object to how meat is processed. Another person may be a vegetarian for medical reasons. And yet another for religious reasons.
Each group has a different emotional lever, and if you are trying to reach one of those segments, you want to be sure to send the right message.
Lakeview Nurseries' Michelle Harvey arranged for two garden club ladies to conduct the observational study in her garden center and interview customers as they left to dig into what motivates them to garden. She, herself, called a few customers and conducted more in-depth interviews.
The observational study revealed that younger customers were more important to the store than Harvey expected.
Here is some of what she learned from that age group.
- A family of four bought a combination herb bowl because they thought it would be a good learning experience for the girls to grow and cook with the herbs.
- A couple in the their 30s are living in their first home. The wife spent the winter mapping out her gardens and knows exactly what she is looking for. She’s excited to make the new house her own, both indoors and out. They had already been in four times this spring for cool-weather veggies and shrubs.
- A female in her 20s is new to gardening and was attempting her first herb garden. She came to the store because she wanted to learn to garden the right way and because she wants to support local businesses.
- A young couple with a toddler lives in a condo and was looking for a way to make their porch look better than their neighbors.
- A 30-something female with two young boys bought pansies for a window box. The boys helped pick them out since creating the window box will be their project that day.
What Marketing Message Should Lakeview Use?
Reading over the one-on-one interviews, two main themes emerged.
For mature gardeners, plants and growing offer an escape. Loneliness and stress dissipate when surrounded by plants. Ads targeting this group should reflect that emotional need.
Younger gardeners, in contrast, see gardening as another way to define themselves. Think of the new homeowner mentioned earlier who wants to have her house and yard reflect her tastes. Or the more in-depth profile of the married couple with tweens in the “Get To Know Three Lakeview Nurseries Customers” column. Their desire for sustainable gardening can be traced back to a need to express their world view. A campaign around the message “It’s who I am” would resonate strongly with this demographic. Kid-oriented gardening is also significant.