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Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

A gnome, a fox and a Scot walk into a bar

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Scotts Miracle-Gro is spending $135 million this year to promote its Groundskeeper Willie-cum-lawn care expert to homeowners around the country.

And while my extraction is Irish, I still like this campaign, which launched this spring. It’s just hokey enough to be entertaining.

And, more importantly, it shows that Scotts actually listens to its customers:

The campaign is based on “one huge insight” from research among more than 4,000 consumers, Mr. Lyski said, that “people would change their behavior if an expert spoke to them about lawn care.”

“They said, ‘If I knew more, I’d do more,’ ” he added.

In the research, people also talked about how there is usually “somebody on your street” knowledgeable about lawn care, Mr. Lyski said.

The brand character Scott “marries the two” concepts, he added, and “we made him Scottish because of the mnemonic.”

The concept of a Scotsman promoting Scotts to his neighbors in middle America may seem corny, but “there’s so much noise out there,” Mr. Lyski said. “You need a little something to break through the clutter.”

This winter, Dick Bare at Arbor-Nomics in Atlanta and I had a long, very animated discussion about his new gnome. (To be fair, all my conversations with Dick are animated, whether they’re related to mythical creatures or not.)

Maria Candler at James River Grounds Management in Virgina just introduced Pip, a fox-like mascot she’s using to keep employees focused on training.

Whether you use a gnome or a fox or a hobbit, a simple and iconic and (yes, sometimes, a little gimmicky) mascot can humanize your brand, make your company more memorable and help you connect better with customers. It can help you, as Lyski says, cut through the clutter.


May 15th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Easy design delegation

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One of the best things about working at L&L is our crack design team. They win lots of awards and make the stories we write come alive on the page (and in our app).

Landscapers don’t often hire graphic designers, but they need them more than you might think. Great logos, truck decals and business cards and the like help build a brand and make you stand out in the minds of prospective customers.

So how do you get great design without hiring a whole designer?

I was talking with Jim McCutcheon the other day, and he recommended Design Outpost. It’s a sort of crowdsourced design site that lets you submit your idea or request for a logo, say, and have it picked up by freelance designers from around the world.

It’s how Jim got a logo for his KnowWater program (above) in just a few days for a couple hundred bucks.

It’s definitely worth looking at if you need something designed fast and cheap, and don’t have the time or resources to keep a design team on retainer.


March 7th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

First you’re taped into the office chair, *then* you put on the helmet

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If you need some inspiration how to use social media to market your business, you could do a lot worse than Neave Landscaping.

They mix in great before-and-after shots of landscape and pool installations, vacations and … whatever is happening in the photo above.

You can tell the company does good work, and that they know how to have a good time. Check them out on Facebook, Pinterest and at neavegroup on Instagram.



September 24th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Vintage marketing materials

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For our friends down in Florida. Some old school marketing from Bad Postcards.


August 20th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

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7 marketing sins

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Seth Godin offers up 7 marketing sins committed by small businesses.

Read them and you’ll see that they’re easy to do, especially if you’re a normal human being. But they’re not impossible to overcome.

Godin offers this advice as you work to replace your sins with acts of good business:

Humility, empathy, generosity, patience and kindness, combined with the arrogance of the brilliant inventor, are a potent alternative.


June 20th, 2012 at 8:45 am

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Email mistakes

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Jason Cupp shares an (all-too-familiar) example of email marketing gone wrong.

Recently, a friend forwarded me an e-newsletter from someone in the landscape industry.  I’ll admit it – it was one of the most poorly written, borderline offensive, anti-brand, culture ripping emails I’ve read in a long time.  I was really embarrassed for this company – which is why my friend sent it to me.

Technology makes it easy to set up and blast out e-newsletters, but that low barrier to entry can backfire.

Check out Cupp’s blog to see how.


May 30th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

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