As an in-house marketer or business owner…
You know the right marketing plan can:
- Provide guidance and consistency for your business
- Set a measurable framework with actionable tactics that generate interest and results
- Define and support your brand; shape your existing marketing
But if you’re shorthanded or up against tight deadlines, these tasks are easier said than done. You might need a helping hand. You might be asking yourself, “Which one of these creative agencies can help?” You might even be thinking about reaching out to Quilted Squirrel.
Since showing is better than telling, let’s take a look at some of the work we’ve done for a local client. This way you can see what we’ve done and how we can help your business. Is this a way for us to say, “Hey, look at us!”? Yes, it is absolutely that. But it’s also an effort to offer you some practical advice or examples of what you can do, too. Don’t want to hire us? Totally fine. But maybe you’ll see something here that you can try out on your own.
Okay, enough with the introductions. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Lockwood’s Garden Center is a family owned and operated greenhouse and garden center in Hamburg, New York. Since 1914, the business evolved from a farmhouse… to a roadside stand… to a greenhouse grower… and eventually to a full-service garden center. For more than a century, Lockwood’s’ attention to service and ability to develop relationships have kept the business in favor with a dedicated following across Western New York.
Now with 28 people in the retail business, Lockwood’s offers a full line of plants (houseplants, annuals, perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees) as well as gifts, books, gardening supplies, tools, compost, and mulch.
Lockwood’s did a phenomenal job of building up its brand through word of mouth and a stellar reputation. But as the business climate changed and new technologies became available, the business was looking for new opportunities to reach new audiences and build a community around its brand. The Lockwood’s team knew what it wanted to do, it was just overwhelmed with options and didn’t quite know how to get started. For years, Lockwood’s had been piecemealing marketing efforts together—a few ads here and few more over there—but the efforts lacked focus and brand consistency.
In short, Lockwood’s was struggling to convey its true mission, vision, and goals through effective marketing. While the business was able to establish a genuine connection with some customers, it needed a compelling way to retain current customers and entice future customers, too. Additionally, of course, the challenges set forth by COVID-19 made it difficult for Lockwood’s to operate as an on-site location for customers.
The Marketing Plan
To help Lockwood’s refresh and fortify its position with customers, we implemented a marketing plan that aimed to:
- Reinforce the Lockwood’s brand with relevant audiences
- Drive traffic to the company website and on-site location
- Refine key messaging strategies to appeal to specific audience personas
- Define local media ad placements
- Write blogs and educational content to present Lockwood’s as industry experts
- Implement digital strategies to boost engagement
- Promote more products, services, and events to increase sales
Does your marketing plan make way for any of these initiatives? What do you see here that would be worth exploring in your own marketing plan?
The creative work needed to speak to varying degrees of customers—from veteran green thumbs and new garden enthusiasts to the average consumer and web surfer—in ways that could keep their interest. What’s more, visual cues and messaging needed to work hand in hand across all mediums. Once we locked down audience personas, developed key messaging strategies, and dialed in a visual aesthetic for the brand, we then married them together in blogs, ads, and on social media.
We put together some blogs that offer practical advice to the Lockwood’s audience without pushing any hard sales. By establishing Lockwood’s as a go-to resource for tips and tricks in and around the garden or home, customers have a good reason to keep revisiting the company’s website.
Step Out Buffalo Sponsored Content
We teamed up with Step Out Buffalo to get into the holiday spirit on Instagram. By leveraging the Step Out Buffalo audience, we were able to put Lockwood’s on full display for millennials around town. The goal here was to reach people who are looking to spruce up their new homes or urban gardens with some high-quality garden supplies from a local business.
Instagram Takeover w/ Step Out Buffalo
We kept the partnership with Step Out Buffalo alive and well online—this time with some holiday cheer on Instagram. With an Instagram Takeover in full effect, Step Out Buffalo followers were offered some season’s greetings and a friendly reminder that Lockwood’s is more than just a destination for potted plants—it’s a hot spot for good deals on great gifts, too!
Buffalo Spree Print Ads
How could we reach a more seasoned and perhaps more sophisticated audience? In Buffalo Spree, we printed some tasteful and informative ads that told veteran green thumbs and garden enthusiasts when and where they could get in on some of their favorite seasonal action.
At your business, you’re probably already writing blogs and developing print ads. Consider leveraging relationships with atypical media outlets that can extend your reach to larger audiences.
Okay, so how did we do? With a marketing plan in place for the first time in its 106-year-old history…
- Lockwood’s became more focused and consistent with its marketing efforts
- Lockwood’s leaders gained a stronger understanding of how content marketing helps customers find and engage their brand
- Educational and events-based blog content flourished
- Online engagement and social media interactions increased
- Engagement at events boomed; events were transitioned from a 1-day occurrence to a multiday series
- Adjusting to and announcing an e-commerce platform (with curbside pickup options) opened up an all-new opportunity to do business
Lockwood’s is now positioned to make the leap from a seasonal business to a year-round business. As “off-season” offerings and opportunities continue to be made available, the business will be able to host more people for more events more often. And as e-commerce and curbside pickups become a typical expectation among customers, Lockwood’s will be able to match the convenience its customers have come to expect from a modern shopping experience.
As we continue to help Lockwood’s bring its marketing plan to life, the business will leverage blogs, emails, and social media platforms to spread its message, promote its brand, and optimize engagement with its various audiences. More than that, the Lockwood’s connection with the Western New York community will continue to blossom.
The right marketing plan supports your brand. It provides guidance and consistency for marketing efforts. It includes actionable tactics so you can make an immediate impact. It sets the standard for creative messaging. It is a critical component of your business, its success, and its impact.