New Media Matters

Kind of like foot in mouth. "Shoe", Navy Pier, Chicago.

What was  learned from the Scotts Miracle-Gro, National Wildlife Federation fiasco? First, the bigger a non-profit gets the more likely they are to partner up with questionable allies. What was The NWF thinking? Partnering up with a company that had just admitted to poisoning  wild birds through tainted seed? The question for the NWF is, will they recover from this? Simply through association with Scotts, The NWF has called into questioning their entire vetting process.

The second lesson in this affair is profound for us in the gardening  trades.  The customer has more influence than ever before, and they are calling the shots. Not only are they calling the shots, but they have the means to spread their thoughts quicker than ever before. So quickly with the Scotts-NWF affair, it caught them off guard. What do you do as a garden retailer if a local garden writer with influence decides to start a boycott through social media of your Scotts Lawn Fertilizer and pre-emergent, and hence your store? How you respond will be spread through the community, for better or worse.

It use to be things we’re done differently with “old media”. Your store might advertise with the local paper, or radio station. Therefore that media might give you the benefit of the doubt before they published something negative about you. Give you the “heads up” so to speak, or not publish it at all. Of course advertising dollars are at play in new media also. Yet some are driven by passion, and not dollars. If they believe in something with enough passion, it may not matter whether you buy ad space with them, or not. It’s a whole new world.

The answer? Run your business in a way that is true to you, and your customers values. The time will come to answer some critic(s), but  you’ll have a track record of honesty and trust that negates the negativity. The better businesses always have more positive reviews than negative ones.  If your wondering what, if anything is being said about you or your business try a search of “garden centers” and your “zip code” to see what comes up. There might be a Yelp, or Google review of your business.  Is there anything being said about your place, good or bad? If not, why not? People are talking. Are you there, and are you listening?

About Trey Pitsenberger

Trey is a nurseryman, author, and speaker.

30. January 2012 by Trey Pitsenberger
Categories: | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Hey Trey,

    If I were a member of the NWF, I would seriously question the ideals and values of the persons running the NWF. Certainly money had to be an issue, but to team up with SMG and corporate giant ICL

    which owns SMG is like mixing oil and vinegar. They will recover from this , but some heads at the top need to be fired for this debacle.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the public started boycotting all of the SMG companies? Not likely to go viral unless this story gets National attention but one can dream! It would be nice to see HD and Lowe’s get hammered just before the spring season hits.

  2. The other big one is the continued insistence by the Obama administration to put a former Monsanto VP in a role as a senior adviser to the FDA. I think it’s even worse than the SMG/NWF partnership because the FDA is one of the few regulatory bodies that is actually supposed to be keeping an eye on Monsanto.