Advertising Overview

The advertising budget is a significant percentage of our total costs. The directors have therefore specified in advance the general areas to which these expenditures are to be allocated. Any alteration to this strategy must be authorised by the general manager and the directors. These strategies have been effective in targeting potentially good customers. You are going to be pushed by some very effective sales people to buy advertising that is ineffective. Stick with the tried and true.

The key to ensuring our advertising budget gives us value for money is for you to work the existing programs hard. If you feel the effectiveness of these programs is fading, discuss the problem with the general manager.

If the staff member who organises this important area of our operation can get their act together it will justify a lot of the ongoing work on display and capital expense that has and is being put into this place. Without customers, work on display and capital improvements is a complete waste of money.

This job description should be read in conjunction with the trade mailing list JD and the sale set up JD.

The existing programs include the sign at the front and the external appearance, the Yellow pages, donations to local organisations, trade mailing lists, promotions via Plants Plus and our major suppliers. We also advertise our “meet the expert” days and contact new home owners in the area.

Signage to the road and the external appearance.

Numerous studies in Europe, America and Australia have shown that more than 50% of new customers in nurseries have come from the impression the customer has of the place from the road. We have a fantastic location with one of the highest traffic flows in Melbourne. This impact must be worked as hard as possible. The two areas to concentrate on out the front are the trailer sign that we can alter and the overall impression and impact given from the other signwriting, gardens and structures.

The roadside trailer sign.

This sign has provided some of our most effective advertising in the past. It is important that these signs are altered at least weekly and are professionally done. Once again these ads must be tied in with your promotions and what is happening in the nursery. Cars can be travelling at 70 kph, so you must put the absolute minimum of detail on the board if the occupants of the cars are to get the message. Store these signs carefully so they can be used again. If you do not vary these signs people become used to them and the impact will be diminish enormously. We must try to advertise plants at the front regularly to give a strong gardening theme. The best method of advertising plants is to regularly work the selected plants at $5.95 and $6.95 signs. Refer to the nursery manager to give him a week to organise special stock. We need at least 5 different $5.95 plants on sale to justify the price point signs to the road.

A strong blend of theatre at the front is also very important.

Smaller metal signs which fit into the larger yellow Bulleen Art & Garden signs should be used throughout the year. For the 20 to 50% off sale and other important events use the entire 6’x4’ signs. Use a person dressed in the pumpkin suit on the first 3 days of the 20 to 50 off sale to get maximum morning peak exposure i.e. 8am to 9am.
Experiment with other types of theatre at the front, something a bit bizarre / attention seeking.

The external appearance.

The other signage should convey two messages only, that we are a nursery and a sand and soil yard. Any more messages dilute that message and give a cluttered effect. The external appearance should also convey the impression that we are a professional operation and attract the eye. The external appearance must also represent the art/sculpture feel of the nursery as well as the strong gardening feel.

“What’s on” board.

There must always be upcoming events and new products listed on this black board. It is working to attract customers back to the nursery on future occasions, but can make us look unprofessional if not updated and neat.

Yellow Pages

The Yellow Pages advertisements are effective advertising when they are solving a specific problem or offering a particular product. People are going to look them up if they looking for sprinkler parts, sand soil, instant turf, paving, retaining walls, etc. These ads with specific targets have worked previously.

They probably already know that there is a nursery in Bulleen but they do not know what services and products we offer. The ads that we run should be methodically reviewed annually against the performance and sections to ensure that they are working. Consult the General Manager and the Directors before making any major changes to these advertisements. Our current trend is to downgrade these ads and reduce the costs.

Donations and support to local organisations.

We need to keep records of what we have given to whom if our advertising budget is to mean anything at all.
These records should include how many plants were donated, to whom and who authorised it. Before a donation is given out it we must have a dated letter on the charity letterhead detailing the event that the donation is requested for. Keep this information in date order in the file marked “donations” in the 4 draw filing cabinet (bottom draw) in the office.

There should be a limit of 2 donations of up to $30 twice annually. You should not make donations to schools or other groups outside a 3-kilometre radius unless they are good customers. You must also make it very clear that the donation came from Bulleen Art & Garden. Make sure that every good quality plant that leaves the nursery as a donation has a “donated by Bulleen Art & Garden” sticker on it and some brochures promoting the nursery. For fetes we give out 2 trolleys of specials plants selected by one of the nursery staff. We need to keep a good range of product in the specials section and ensure that all the expensive product does not go to fetes or schools. However, we would rather see product go to a school with little benefit to Bulleen Art & Garden than to be tossed in the bin. For trivia nights or auctions we like to give out plants in flower as it gives a stronger message than a gift voucher. However a gift voucher does ensure a new customer is introduced to the nursery by a visit.

We support over 100 local organisations and this is all we can cope with.

We have found supporting any other organisations a nightmare when our name has been computer listed by Agencies and consequently we have been flooded with phone calls. Plants which have deteriorated beyond our special section can always be donated to local schools but do not put a sticker on them. You could ask for a mention in the school paper.

BAAG want to support causes which we believe are worthwhile. It can be a good advertising decision in donating to a wealthy school fete, but we still want to support the local schools who are battling and youth programs in area. The above guidelines still apply.

In future we hope to support schools with a special trailer from which schools can sell tube plants at cost and the trailer will feature advertising for Bulleen Art & Garden.

Trade mailing list.

The trade mailing list is a great tool to win and hold trade customers if it is kept up to date and sent out with a strong message and specials that the tradesmen want at the beginning of every second month.

The trade letter content.

This letter should include two good specials from yard/nursery/sundries plus any news of new products.
Always keep the tradespeople up to date with our discounts as this provides one of the best reasons for them to buy his supplies from us. Refer to the separate job description on the trade letter.

20% to 50% off sales.

We have had great success with these sales in the past and although they are diminishing in impact they are still our best sales. We run one sale at the end of April and another at the end of August. We distribute approximately 35000 leaflets for each sale to 2 separate areas (listed in Salmat file). Recently we have had great success distributing through local papers with an insert of orange A4 paper. The flyer is made up by ourselves and needs to be prepared 3 weeks before the sale date and distribution of the leaflets should also be booked 3 weeks ahead. Refer to the separate job description for sale set up for detail on setting up for the 20 to 50% off sale. It may be worth considering putting 20% to 50% off plants on the flag adverts depending on cost and readability. (this was checked recently and the costs prohitive).

Report to BP with ideas on how to pump up 20% to 50% off sale, say three alternative promotional alternatives.Include alternatives and comments on: promotion for plant sale layouts, local paper, specific plants, pictures of plants, something bit bizarre/ attention seeking, distribute through local paper, back of trucks, review advertising to road, banners/ flags have to say more than sale, 20-50% off plants, Trailer – should change to 6*4 sale for week, review and brighten sale signs, send batch of new home owners week before with small add in slip, advertise on web site. Must ensure hype is right internally – starbursts, etc. Establish setup program one week before the start of the sale.

“Meet the expert” days.

When these promotions have been done properly they have been successful in attracting the sort of customers we have traditionally targeted. That is, the enthusiastic gardener who tends to be a very good, repeat customer. Back these promotions up with good signage at the front and on the ‘what’s on’ board. Some of the successful days we have held previously were on pruning, bonsai, cottage gardens, indoor plants and lawns.

New homeowners.

We have a successful campaign is in targeting new homeowners in the area. Frequently if you get a customer in and give him a good impression they will stick with us and not bother checking out the opposition. These letters shouldn’t be sent out in winter. Ensure staff (particularly those in the nursery) pay special attention to customers with the new home owner’s vouchers. See the separate New home owners job description.

General signage, maintenance and storage.

The impression of the place is greatly diminished if our signs are tatty. It is your responsibility to ensure our signs have a similar colour and lettering style, and are in good condition. Make sure there is adequate signage in the nursery to assist customers locate the product they want without being garish. Every customer that comes into the nursery should leave with a clear impression of our logo and name so our existing customers immediately associate future advertising with Bulleen Art & Garden. This can be achieved with good signage, handouts etc. Set up a good set of racks to store our signs and banners that we are not using. We have a lot of money invested in these signs and careful maintenance will save us a lot of money.

Specials.

Another area where our performance in normal retailing has been very poor is in the specialling of products. With a good program of specials you will give customers a strong reason to return. If they need something for the garden the possibility of purchasing something cheap will affect their decision as to where they will shop. Specials, if done properly, can also reinforce the impression of competitive pricing. As professional retailers we have to be able to put together a program of fortnightly specials which tie in with the sign at the front. This will help us clear good quality stock that is not moving and give customers a reason to come to Bulleen, ie. They know there will always be something to buy at a good price. The sales staff, including the weekenders, must be notified of the specials via the monthly meeting or notices. The specials must be competitively priced. The effect of the program will be diminished if you do not give the customer a good deal, say normal cost plus 15% or 20%. If you can get onto a good buy and still make a good margin so much the better.

Internet

Our website is currently being upgraded by Julian. He updates what to do this month in your garden and also the “what’s on” section which promotes upcoming sales or gallery exhibitions. The website will require more maintenance as usage increases and we begin to actively sell on the web. Our website should be promoted on all of our stationery and at the entrance and exit to the nursery.

Truck Tailgates

This advertising has been successful in the past but extremely expensive due to the damage to signs on tailgates. It can be reconsidered later.

Customer Vouchers

All vouchers must have a cut off date, even if it is 2 years down the track.

Seniors Discount

We do not advertise seniors discount because we do not really believe in it. We only offer it on one day only mainly so as we still offer a discount but can limit it. We also do not believe in giving a discount to people just because they are over 60, as many are very wealthy. Obviously we do not tell the customer the reasons outlined above.

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