Editor's Note: Look out for more branding and marketing tips from Katie Dubow of the Garden Media Group and other experts in the February 2017 issue of Garden Center magazine.
Millennials are the industry’s top new consumers. Brands must work to reel them in now if they want to stay relevant in the future.
Millennials are a bigger generation than Baby Boomers, comprising an estimated 25 percent of the U.S. population. And, with a collective buying power of $200 billion annually, they already have an indirect spending power of $500 billion. Their buying power will only grow as they grow older, buy houses, settle down and make more money. This generation engages with content an average of 18 hours per day and in new ways, creating even more touch points for garden businesses to reach them.
They are three times more likely to follow a brand than a family member on social networks, but what are Millennials looking for in the brands they engage with? Here are 5 tips for branding your garden center to appeal to Millennial customers:
1. Give them options to show off style!
Millennials are always on the lookout for ways to stand out from the crowd. They want to show off their personal style.
Tip: Carry as many colors, patterns and design variations of a product as you can. Even better, take it to the next level, and give them modular pieces that can shift with their mood.
2. Streamline purchasing: Mobile Made Easy for Buying
41 percent of Millennials have already made purchases with their smartphones — and that number will continue to grow. Since Millennials always have their phone with them, buying is only a click away. Talk about easy and perfect for those looking for instant gratification!
Tip: Optimize your website to provide the best mobile experience possible, meaning everything done on your desktop site should still be mobile. Then, add a one-click purchase feature like Amazon or some other form of e-commerce.
3. Share your knowledge: Make Knowledge & Tips Accessible
Since Millennials are used to learning and having information at their fingertips, they are big DIY-ers. Millennials are just learning how to garden and are hungry for information. Now's the time to establish yourself as the gardening expert and become their trusted friend.
Tip: Get your content marketing plan in line. Answer questions Millennials are asking about gardening. Start a blog, teach simple tips in Instagram videos, and answer all questions asked of your brand on social media.
4. Rope in mom & dad: Appeal to Parents
A record 36 percent of Millennials move back home after college, partly because of the economy and partly because it’s now cool to be friends with mom and dad. Leverage this relationship to get Millennials in the garden.
Tip: Host digital or in-person workshops geared towards parents and their 20 something Millennials. Make it fun, practical and straight to the point. Also, market to parents to make sure when they recommend a garden brand, it’s yours.
5. Focus on the future: Get Serious and Talk about the Future
Unlike past generations, having a trusted, long-term brand isn't enough to win over Millennials. This generation is much more interested in what you can offer now, and how you can make the future greener and cleaner.
Tip: Tweak your Millennial messaging to focus on long-term goals. Answer these questions about your brand with Millennials in mind: “Why is this important to me right now?” and “What can this product do for me?”
Katie is creative director at Garden Media Group.
Photo courtesy of English Gardens.