Thursday, December 3, 2009

Industry Promotion idea

Most of us are all involved in the promotion of the great pastime of gardening and make a living from the endeavours of gardeners and consumers who buy plants.
A possibly nutty, naive or optimistic idea came to me this time last year and instead of compiling a newsletter as I had intended I thought I would focus a January mail shot on this one idea, not much else is happening in plant retail sales this time of year in this part of the world and it's time to prepare rather than promote. Instead of burying this idea I thought I would use this opportunity to share it.
Maybe it has been done already, maybe it's a standard in some industries or maybe there isn't any appetite to try it. Many of us come up with seemingly Eureka ideas in the middle of the night but we don't act on them or beat ourselves down thinking if I think or say this out loud others will laugh or simple smile understandingly. Now that we have many well proven commercial craziness in the world there are far better more infamously accomplished people to laugh at so it's safe to be a little bit risqué. The idea I am trying to push is quite simple. Thursday I was sitting in the dentist's waiting room aware that she was having a problem with her current patient that meant my time for the chair was 15 minutes away. I started shuffling through the magazines to see if there was anything interesting. I realized there was no gardening magazine but there was a golf , fashion and tourism magazine (our competitors) and guess what? Some daffodils! When I got over the disappointment that such a simple thing such as a garden magazine was not available it occurred to me the reason there was no magazine there was that my dentist isn't a gardener. The tourism magazine actually helped relax me a bit. On the way home I thought someone better sort this out but I admit I had forgotten to mention it to my dentist or her receptionist when my turn came for the chair. As you all know professionals charge a professional fee and they are business people like us. I am sure when I go back with my idea it will not be taken as negative suggestion from one business person to another such quid pro quo is the lubrication of commercial life in small towns.
Based on this gap in reading material, I am making the following proposition to anyone with the same ‘vested interest' in increasing awareness of gardening. This includes our service providers both personal and company suppliers. I am proposing we collect last years good condition gardening magazines and make some beneficial use of them instead of hoarding them. Why not distribute these magazines into as many hair dressers, doctors, chiropodists, dentists, nail bars, beauty salon waiting rooms as will be agreeable to accept them. It's a win, win situation. Maybe this has been done already but think of the cost of printing these publications, how fantastically crammed with pictures and information they can be and we just read them and stick them somewhere or dump them. We can surely make further positive promotion usage of garden magazines by increasing their circulation figures 5 or even 10 fold to many people who probably would not have been exposed to them already. You can pick up a 12 month old gardening magazine and its as valid as one printed yesterday. If in time this proves to be increasing awareness maybe industry organisations can even prepare custom made information publications for giving away in a similar manner.
To go one better we intend to slip the MyPlant leaflet into the ones we distribute as if it were originally part of the magazine. Ok it is a bit sneaky but its our business and we have to tell people about it and our budget isn't big because we are pressed on prices. You're welcome to download one of our leaflets also and pop one in your magazines . Ok nice try I guess!!
I see a lot of magazines collecting dust in this office so I am getting rid of them in this manner, recycling the well presented information as well as clearing up clutter. This can be do-it-yourself that doesn't require major industry conferences or meetings to get going its simple and up to each of us to find ways to promote our industry even if this isn't the idea for everyone. I am not sure to what extent this particular idea will work towards increasing awareness of plants and gardening benefits but we here will be sure we worked the idea to find out. I don't see how it can hurt unless it increases the levels of paper cuts reported in doctors surgeries, now that could hurt but not much.
Maybe all of us in the industry need to be more inventive in times like this this idea above is no more than that, an idea, however we all keep depending on the weather a bit too much and we have no idea for changing that.. We can change attitude however.


  1. This is a Eureka idea! Recycling, promoting, giving folks something beautiful to read, and encouraging more gardeners. Perfect!

  2. Interesting concept. I once did something similar for a while by leaving a business card with a website address in books with similar content. I figured most people would do what I do and use it as a bookmark. We did pick up some traffic.

    It probably wouldn't hurt to slightly glue the fliers in so they don't go flying out in waiting rooms. You could also donate the magazines to library book sales.

  3. I am loving the 'Green' in everything the Irish incorporate into their daily life. Everything from the many shades of green I find planted along the street flower containers to the absence of paper towels and plastic bags we Americans commonly use to line trash cans. This has been a wonderful experience and I can't wait to return again hopefully in your spring.
    I purchased the 'Irish Garden' magazine yesterday and can't seem to put it down!

  4. I love to pass on my gardening mags - I give lots to schools for their eco-clubs & for the staff!
    Had thought of the doctors as their pile of mags is rubbish!
    have used gardening mags for art with kids - they love to tear up & make mosaic style pics - but we talk about the flowers & plants & why they like them - so all good
    I also use them as source materials for community art.
    great idea to share & promote...
    Dawn Aston

  5. I have to laugh as I read this...I was just in a Dr.'s office last week lamenting the fact that they only had very old People Magazines or Golf Digest - yuck. I love your idea of recycling our magazines, and have done this for a long time - donating them to my dentist's office and our local hospital'w waiting room. I think everyone should do this instead of just throwing them out. And you're absolutely right about them not going out of style (unlike a 6 months old People magazine...)

  6. I already do this. My sister-in-law is a dentist and she explained to me the process with which the office get magazines. It seems that here in the U.S. a lot of magazines are sent to doctors offices for free so the readers can "try them out", then they like the magazine and subscribe later. Sometimes she's allowed to choose which free magazines come and other times she's not given a choice; they just arrive in the mail.

    Perhaps garden publications should join this marketing concept of giving away their magazines for free in order to gain more subscriptions?!?!

    Meanwhile, I save my old garden mags and leave them where ever I can. Sadly in the United States, garden magazines have been declining. For example Better Homes and Gardens is mostly "homes" and not so much with the "gardens" section any more. I am sad over that, but it is what it is. My thoughts are perhaps there are more financial sponsors for non-garden stories than there are for garden and the publications are "going where the money is".

    What are your thoughts?


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