Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prairie Nursery Gets It

Aren't you tired of all the hand-wringing about how companies can "effectively market themselves" in today's economy? Maybe you're not tired of that, but I feel like I hear this all the time, particularly with nurseries and companies in the general horticulture industry. How to utilize social media? How to engage a new generation of gardeners? Should companies sell pre-packaged, paint-by-numbers gardens for us lazy, technology-addled Generation Y customers? I don't claim to have the answers, but I can say that Prairie Nursery of Westfield, WI, got it right with a simple yet effective technique to get me buying plants.

And here it is: They're having bi-weekly sales that they're advertising through email, listing only two plants in each email along with their characteristics and growing requirements. These said emails come only once every couple weeks, not in a daily inbox-clogging barrage like some companies (Horticulture, I'm looking at you!!). The information is to-the-point and helpful. Sure enough, I read one recently and thought, "You know what? Campanula rotundifolia does sound like it will thrive in my north border. And it's on sale!"

Would this work with new gardeners? Maybe, maybe not. I've bought plants from Prairie Nursery before, hence how I came to be on their electronic mailing list. Also I know my site conditions well and was planning on buying plants for this border anyway. Maybe I'm just a sucker for sales and that explains it. But it seems to me this is a simple way to engage gardeners without elaborate campaigns. "Hey gardener, here's a cheap plant that grows in setting XYZ." There, was that so hard?

Please note that I am just a regular 'ole customer of Prairie Nursery. I did not receive any request or inducement to talk about them, and I paid for the Campanulas with my own money. And the photo is a shot of C. rotundifolia from the fabulous native plant website, Illinois Wildflowers, which contains botanical info for plants that range beyond just Illinois, I might add.


garden girl said...

I've never bought from them before. At first I was thinking of Prairie Moon (who I have bought from.) They seem to have similar offerings though, and really good prices.

I like their marketing strategy, and clearly, it worked in your case. I like that they offer seeds too, as they're cheaper than plants and I've been enjoying starting natives from seed the last couple of years (mixed success on that so far, but still, cheap thrills!)

Thanks for the tip Rose - I think I'll sign up for their newsletter too!

Rose said...

Sales and occasional emails to let customers know about new plants and sales are the best tools in my mind, too. If the plants are good quality and the customer service is there as well, then they've hooked me as a customer. I'll have to check out Prairie Nursery. This year I've ordered a few plants from Bluestone Perennials, whom I've seen mentioned on several blogs. The plants haven't arrived yet, of course, but so far I've been really impressed.

Rose said...

I just checked out their website and was so excited to see such a great source for so many natives and wildflowers! I signed up for their newsletter and will no doubt be sending in an order before planting season begins. Thanks for the info, Rose!

Gail said...

I am so jealous! I have to order locally or they can't take the heat, but, other wise I would order from them! But, am I ever thrilled for have good sales and plants that will be happy in your garden. gail ps I will check them out anyway!

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