Miracle-Gro Boosts Retail Sales with Garden Expo Tour
When word got out that Walmart was trying to pull shoppers into its garden departments—only one percent of the chain’s 100 million weekly shoppers were heading into the lawn sections—Scotts stepped up to the plate with some third-party support.
A small mobile tour was developed to help the retailer move traffic patterns as well as communicate Miracle-Gro’s leadership position in the market to shoppers. Part garden party, part traveling expo, the mobile Garden Expo toured eight Walmart markets over six weekends last spring. Shoppers were stopped in their tracks as they approached the store, enticed with music, free food and entertaining topical gardening presentations throughout the day.
Consumers were offered free repotting services and gardening-themed games and prizes. Celebrity gardener Dr. Richard Ludwig was on-hand to give lectures in technique and answer questions while a local nutrition expert shared “secret” Miracle-Gro recipes. “We were totally answering Walmart’s needs,” says US Concepts vp-managing director Leslie Brennan.
Local 4H and Plant A Row chapters showed up as well, teaching kids about planting and providing the youngsters with a Miracle-Gro take-home project. Parents received an activity packet to take home.
It all combined to form a healthy festivity, one that drove traffic and volume in the garden departments and also taught Scotts a lesson: “This showed us there is tremendous value in event marketing,” says Keith Baeder, vp-marketing for Scotts’ garden products. “Events can create power at retail. This program more than paid for itself.”
Walmart rewarded Scotts with proprietary pallets in all 2,800 stores nationwide, helping Miracle-Gro sales shoot up 25 percent. The tour engaged 18,000 consumers with quality, one-to-one experiences and reached out to thousands more through in-store signage and p.r. hits in such markets as Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis.
The effort was resurrected this spring with a 12-market Scotts Garden Party endeavor featuring more store visits, broader activities and other Scotts brands. “We looked to get the other brands involved with the 2002 campaign, but there wasn’t a lot of interest,” recalls Baeder. “Now everybody has jumped on board.”