Proven Winners Hosts Retail Roadshow Jessica DeGraaf

Nov 11, 2022
Proven Winners Hosts Retail Roadshow

Proven Winners hosted its free, one-day Roadshow in September in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in October in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Nearly 200 attendees gathered for the retail-focused event in Lancaster. The day began with a consumer marketing segment, with Jessica DeGraaf, director of retail accounts, presenting on Proven Winners’ goals for helping independent garden centers. She says Proven Winners has three marketing objectives: inspire, educate, and create demand and awareness. While awareness of the Proven Winners brand is the main objective, the company plans to focus primarily on its National Plants of the Year, along with new initiatives such as leafjoy, AquaPots and Eco+ Grande.

In addition, she also announced that Proven Winners will expand its marketing channels with campaigns on National Public Radio (NPR), iHeart Radio and radio ads throughout the play-by-play of each Major League Baseball game.

The company also plans to continue advertising on billboards; in 2022, it advertised on more than 700 billboards in 58 metro markets, generating 226 million impressions. Some 26 million of those impressions came from new weather-triggered digital campaigns that only ran when temperatures were above 65° F and there was no rain in the forecast.

Supporting Local IGCs

Heather Poire, retail account manager, discussed support programs that Proven Winners offers IGCs. She explained Connect+, a marketing service with various levels that IGCs can subscribe to — from a free Getting Started subscription to an Elite package.

Poire also announced the “Store within a Store” concept is returning, with Judy Sharpton of Growing Places Marketing offering on-site consultations to a limited number of independent garden centers each year. The program concentrates Proven Winners products in a single area of the store to maximize point-of-purchase materials and promote container garden products. Proven Winners reports that more than 250 IGCs have participated in the program and reported sales increases from 8 to 15% overall, and up to 50% in the Proven Winners category.

Proven Winners Hosts Retail Roadshow

Creating Experiences

The retailer track included a keynote given by Anne Obarski of Merchandising Concepts. Her pointers for creating a business of experiences included being unique; whether it’s a garden center’s merchandising, a big mural on the exterior of the store, or a big prop or statue in the garden, retailers should make their store stand out to attract customers.

Obarski also emphasized face-to-face communication among staff and customers. She said it’s what builds community — and thus, loyalty — to a store. Customers come back to see employees who help them and provide an experience that exceeds their expectations. In addition, she said that engaging every person who walks through your door means you’re less likely to have problems with theft.